- How did you become interested in sustainable design/construction? Back in 2004 when I first learned about green building concepts, I attended a couple of training sessions about USGBC and LEED. I was interested in learning more so I decided to pursue the LEED AP credential. I remember reading most of the old LEED-NC Reference Guide while traveling, and it became obvious to me that promoting sustainable design and construction was the right thing to do. So I passed the LEED AP exam and then started looking for ways to learn more and promote green building in Central Ohio.
- Why did you decide to join the USGBC? Well, back in 2005 there wasn’t any opportunity to join USGBC as an individual, since there wasn’t a chapter in Central Ohio. There were other green building groups and events, but nothing formally connected to USGBC. So I got involved in some of the earliest discussions about starting a USGBC chapter here from 2006 to 2008, when the formal process of organizing an official chapter started. I was very active in starting the chapter, because I felt that a larger organization that was formally backed by the USGBC National organization could have more impact in advancing USGBC’s mission, and sustainable design in general.
- What are the biggest benefits of being involved with the USGBC COH? There are numerous benefits. The programs and educational opportunities provided by the USGBC Central Ohio Chapter have always been very interesting, informative and well presented. I try to attend as many of the monthly Lunch and Leaders and quarterly Buildings in Action tours as I can, because it’s great to learn from other professionals in our industry who face similar challenges and come up with innovative solutions for their projects. The annual Design Columbus event – presented by the USGBC COH Chapter and the CSI Columbus Chapter – continues to grow and get better each year. Though I think the greatest benefits are the personal and professional relationships that come from networking and being actively involved with the chapter.
- As an industry professional, do you have a particular interest or bring a specific expertise to the LEED rating systems? I’m most interested in the Energy and Indoor Environmental Quality sections of the LEED rating systems. HVAC systems fascinate me, and they are a large component of the cost of building construction projects. I also think daylight and views are critical in nearly all building types – to improve employee productivity, patient outcomes, student learning, etc. – so it’s interesting to see how architects address those challenges and opportunities with their designs. As an example, the Columbus Metropolitan Library just opened the new Driving Park branch, a project I was involved with through the preconstruction phase. It was really rewarding to walk through the completed building to see how much daylight and views to the outdoors were available to the children in the neighborhood who will be using that library for years as a place to learn. What a huge improvement from how libraries were designed in the past.
- How do you spend your time away from USGBC and work? My wife (Annemarie) and I are into outdoor activities, and I really enjoy running and cycling. We also like spending time with friends, including the really great friends we’ve made from our involvement with the chapter. And I love the local craft brews that are available in our area, Columbus has become a hub for high quality beer.
BRUCE UNDERWOODMr. Bruce Underwood, the Chapter’s second Green Schools Research Fellow in Education, was hired in May 2014 to continue Ms. Davis’s research. He just earned his Masters of Environmental Studies at Ohio University, where his thesis focused on the assessment of teacher and principal attitudes towards environmental education in the Logan-Hocking School District in southeastern Ohio. Mr. Underwood will add data from the 2013-2014 school year to Ms. Davis’s dataset, and will seek to understand if there is an association between educational outcomes and attainment of LEED credits in specific credit categories, such as indoor environmental quality. He is also planning to expand Ms. Davis’s analysis to include schools that were certified under both LEED v2007 and v2009.
KATRINA STAKERStarting this fall, Ms. Katrina Staker will begin her role with the USGBC Central Ohio Chapter as the inaugural Green Schools Research Fellow for Energy. Katrina is finishing a Master's degree in Renewable and Clean Energy at the University of Dayton. With guidance from her mentor, Dr. Kevin Hallinan, Director of UD’s Building Energy Center, Ms. Staker will be working to see if Ohio’s LEED schools conserve energy compared to traditionally designed and constructed schools, and to quantify the financial benefit (if any) that such conservation conveys.
ARCHITECT - DesignGroup
MEP ENGINEER - Heapy Engineering, Inc.
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER - Shelley Metz Baumann Hawk, Inc.
CIVIL ENGINEER - Sands Decker CPS, LLC
SITE/LANDSCAPE - EDGE Group
GEOTECHNICAL CONSULTANTS - H.C. Nutting
GENERAL CONTRACTOR - Robertson Construction Services The Hocking College Energy Institute, located on the Logan campus of Hocking College, is the State of Ohio’s first LEED® Platinum educational building. The project received a total of 56 out of 69 points encompassing each category of LEED NC 2.2. It earned more points than any other project in the State of Ohio under the LEED NC rating system. The building uses less than half the energy of a conventional building the same size and use. It also meets the AIA 2030 Challenge for energy efficiency.
Designed in a BIM environment, this 12,200 square foot facility serves as the flagship building for Hocking College’s growing Advanced Energy, Fuel Cell, and Vehicular Hybrid programs. Alternative energy vehicles can be fueled using the facility’s compressed natural gas refueling station and electric vehicle plug-in refueling stations. The facility houses a variety of curriculum spaces for sustainable technologies and is designed to engage students in a hands-on learning process. The building’s mechanical and electrical systems are visible and function as learning tools for students. The passive solar design reduces cooling loads in the summer & heating loads in the winter. Additionally, bioswales & extended detention ponds reduce storm water runoff. And to top it all off, using native Ohio prairie plants throughout the site, the facility also includes a 4,000 s.f. green roof planted with native vegetation that reduces storm water runoff.
Carmine Russo, Jr., ASLA, LEED AP BD+C LEED AP Since: 2008 Landscape Architecture/Urban Design Firm: NBBJ
USGBC: How did you become interested in sustainable design/construction? CR: I’ve always been interested in efficiency in design, so I began to think about how we can promote a built environment that maximizes its use of a minimum amount of energy and resources. We now have the ability with new technologies to determine if we can reduce energy use through building modeling scenarios without investing large amounts of time or money.
USGBC: Were your career goals always environmentally driven? CR: As a landscape architect, I do feel that in some way I have always been interested in the environment and all that surrounds us. The built environment, within cities in particular, has always been an important element of my thinking about what our profession means to me.
USGBC: Why did you decide to join the USGBC? CR: After working on a number of LEED projects, I began to see the importance of green buildings to the marketplace and the impact they can have on a campus or even an entire city. In that regard, I felt as though I should be participating in the group that seemed to be leading the way in this effort.
USGBC: What topic(s) would you like to see discussed at an upcoming Lunch & Leaders meeting? CR: I believe that one of our greatest challenges, but best opportunities as green building professionals, is to help educate the public about the benefits of what we do. I would like to see us focus on more programs that give us the tools to express those points to our clients and others we may encounter to allow us to be better ambassadors for these ideas.
USGBC: What are some projects your most proud of? CR: During my time in Cleveland, I had the opportunity to work with the Cleveland Clinic on several projects at their main campus. Many of these projects pursued LEED certification in conjunction with renowned design landscape architect Peter Walker. It was a learning experience that I will not forget from both the professional side and also the client side. A well informed, forward thinking client can have a profound effect on these design outcomes, from a campus master plan to building implementation.
USGBC: As an industry professional, do you have a particular interest or bring a specific expertise to the LEED rating systems? CR: As a landscape architect, I would like to bring more expertise to the sustainable sites and water efficiency credits within the LEED rating system. Many of the credits that seem to have good intentions relate to specific site elements that do not reflect an overall vision, and do not provide sustainable landscapes for the end user in my view. I believe that the involvement of the ASLA Sustainable Sites Initiative might help to improve the overall rating system. A recent partnership between ASLA and GBCI has been announced: http://www.asla.org/sites.aspx
USGBC: What environmental element would you like to see implemented in every project? CR: I would like to see an educational component implemented into every green building project. It is a wonderful achievement to receive a LEED certification and to place the glass plaque in a building lobby, but this does nothing to explain to the average user what innovations have been achieved in this environment. Education is the key component to me, and we need to make this mainstream to the public.
USGBC: Are you a part of any other professional organizations? CR: As chapter president of the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), we are embarking on a Public Relations campaign within the state to express to the general public the benefits of our profession. In my view, if we band together more closely with our allied organizations such as AIA, APA, ULI, etc., I think we will all have a better opportunity to reach those that are the decision makers in policy, development and construction with our green building message.
USGBC: How long has your firm been in business and where are your offices located?
SM: This year marks our 42-year anniversary. Our offices are located downtown at 515 East Main Street. We are a local firm that provides services nationally.
USGBC: How many LEED AP work at your firm?
DesignGroup’s technical staff includes 23 LEED APs. We have a legacy of sustainable design that dates back to our firm’s beginning. We received our first AIA Design Award for a building designed according to sustainable principles in 1975. Our team strives to design buildings that contribute to the long-term sustainability of their contexts. Two of our colleagues in particular, Jack Hedge and Keoni Fleming, lead us in our efforts. Jack Hedge, design principal at DesignGroup, is a nationally recognized pioneer for sustainable design. In 2009, Jack was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows for his contribution to the practice of architecture in the area of sustainable design. He is a chairman and founder of the AIA Columbus Committee on the Environment and serves on the Board of Green Energy Ohio. Jack has received a number of sustainable design awards, including three Ohio Governor’s Awards for Energy Efficiency. Keoni Fleming, DesignGroup’s sustainability manager, has been a featured speaker for numerous presentations on sustainability, including DesignWeek Columbus, The Advisory Board, MORPC Summer of Sustainability, and Ohio Construction Conference. In addition to his role at DesignGroup, he is an adjust professor at The Ohio State University and served as the lead architectural faculty advisor for OSU’s 2009 and 2011 Solar Decathlon houses.
USGBC: What is the main benefit to you and your firm as a result of being involved in the USGBC-Central Ohio Chapter?
We find great value in the continuing education opportunities that the chapter offers. Our staff is able to maintain its LEED credentials by attending the quality programs that the USGBC provides. In addition, we gain exposure to trends and best practices, and access to networking with experts and like-minded professionals in our industry. We are proud to be associated with such a strong chapter and feel it is our duty to give back by adding value through heavy involvement in the chapter’s committees and programs.
USGBC: What types of projects are you focusing on right now?
It’s an exciting time at DesignGroup! We are currently working on the Columbus Museum of Art expansion and renovation project, which is pursuing LEED certification. Columbus is a great city, and we are honored to be a part of expanding one of its civic and cultural icons. Similarly, we are also working with the City of Columbus on a project in the heart of downtown, 111 Front Street, a facility that will bring many of the city’s departments under one roof, significantly improving their efficiency. We are in the works with Columbus City Schools on the Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy, a unique program that will serve students grades Pre-K through 6th. This August, a project we recently completed for CCS, Columbus Scioto 6-12, will host the Ohio Green Schools Rally 2014. This event is dedicated to the discussion of why green schools matter. Our colleagues who worked on the project will lead tours of the new facility, which is pursuing LEED gold certification and meets the performance standards of the 2030 Challenge.
USGBC: What future trends do you see in sustainability?
Increasingly, we are seeing decision makers implement sustainability requirements. For instance, the Green Schools program that the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission adopted in 2007 requires that all new construction of K-12 schools meet LEED silver requirements. As a result, Ohio is the recognized national leader in sustainable school design. Columbus Metropolitan Libraries has implemented a building program called the 2020 Vision Plan, which includes seven new libraries and three renovations in Franklin County that will prioritize sustainable goals and strategies set by the library. As succeeding versions of LEED have become more stringent, owners, architects, engineers, and the construction trades have all stepped up to the plate, delivering buildings that meet these requirements. Sustainable design is becoming something that is part of the basic equation of designing and constructing buildings.
USGBC: What do you see as the greatest challenges for developing a sustainable built environment?
As LEED-certified buildings increase in market share, LEED standards are becoming more exacting. At times, this can be a challenge, particularly when balanced against other concerns such as budget, schedule, and constructability. We embrace the opportunity to deliver buildings that can meet all of these requirements. At the end of the day, it’s about designing and building good buildings. That is why we are in this profession.