Overview and Response to Safety Issues Robert Price, Executive Director USGBC Central PA Chapter
Outline Introduction to the Subject Why LEED? Perspective – Building Green USGBC and LEED Certification Just the Facts, Please! Redefining an Industry LEED Levels LEED & Worker Safety
WHY LEED? Lower operating costs and increase asset value Reduce waste sent to landfills – 50 – 90% costs savings Save energy – up to 30% Conserve water – 30 – 50% less water consumption Reduce harmful greenhouse gasses – 35%
Sustainability Perspective Buildings account for nearly half (48%) of all greenhouse gas emissions More than Transportation (27%) and More than Industry (25%) Buildings account for 76% of all electricity generated at power plants We spend over 90% of our time in a built environment.
Building Green Should Matter …to You! We can create better built environments and other environments in which to work, play, live, and learn… for generations to come!
Green Advantages Reduce human exposure to toxic materials Conserve natural resources Minimalize the ecological impact and materials Use renewal energy and materials Protect and restore ecosystems Positive influence on health and welfare of people
Green Advantages All this, and green buildings can cost little or no more to construct than conventional construction, and cost much less to maintain over their lifetime…often producing quick paybacks.
The vibrant and diverse USGBC community shares a common goal: everyone learns, works and lives in a green building within this generation. An organization is nothing without its community. USGBC attracts businesses big and small, individuals young and old, and organizations mission and market driven. Every day, we are making our way toward a healthier, more sustainable and prosperous future. Together. USGBC COMMUNITY
WHY LEED? Bottom Line… Healthier and safer for occupants… Better for the Environment… Better for the Economy… What we call…
Just the Facts…Please: Today, there are over 29,000 individual members within 77 Chapters like the Central PA Chapter. There are also over 12,700 national members coming from organizations, corporations and institutions. Even more significant is the fact that almost 191,000 building professionals across all areas of practice have become LEED credentialed professionals, and there are over 156,000 LEED projects, representing over 9.9 billion square feet, now throughout the world. I will get more into this LEED thing in a minute but first I want to impress you with a few more numbers: Each a slide 34,000LEED projects currently registered 14,000 Commercial LEED Certified projects, in 2.4 billion square feet Over 23,000 attended our annual conference last year in Toronto, CA, and more are expected this year in San Francisco Green Schools are springing up everywhere Higher Education is one of our fastest growing segments
Just the Facts…Please: The Federal Government is even getting into the act As well as State Governments And local government projects Their LEED initiatives are also encouraging additional projects LEED for Homes is gaining ground Including Affordable Housing (didnt think that possible, did you) These are Hugh numbers being racked up And LEED is now going Global With an International Roundtable And it is not just for new construction, with over 8,000 registered and certified projects already Green Hotels Green Retail Healthcare…just make sense, doesnt it?
LEED, or Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design… Is redefining the ways in which we think about the places we live, work, and learn! Third-party verification that a project was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in five key areas of human and environmental health…
LEED and Worker Safety Building standards and worker safety has changed substantially…
Much of the controversy about LEED and worker safety stems out of a 2009, and a 2012 update of the original study entitled…Identification of Safety Risks for High Performance Sustainable Construction Projects.
Does not show LEED Construction sites as being less safe! Some Areas of Concern: Potential for overexertion Time spent near potential hazards Hazards of brownfield sites Potential waste management problems Positive Aspects: Improvements in indoor air quality Integration of LEED process better coordinates safety An increased level of safety awareness within the LEED process
Important Conclusion of the study There is a lot of research out there showing that the decisions made during design have a great impact on safety and health on-site…OSHA places the burden of safety on the contractors. There is a disconnect there.
One More Project… Owner - Utah Tech Center, LLC. Location – Sandy, Utah Size 72,000 Certified LEED Silver Use – instrument rooms, laboratories, chemical storage, offices, conference/education spaces, data center and support spaces.
One More Project… It houses some of the most sophisticated and technically advanced equipment – including robotics – to provide extensive tests and analysis of samples collected from sites throughout the country
Looking Forward Best outcome…better understanding of the LEED process and increased awareness of worker safety concerns.
Looking Forward One comment that came out of the numerous responses to the 2012 study puts this entire discussion into perspective. It read …As soon as a Construction Worker finds out that he or she is working o a Green Project, they immediately forget all previous training, become blind, lose their sense of balance, develop an death wish and go out of their way to do bad work and bring harm to others. One major correction, worthy of note: when construction Workers sees a Commissioning Agent come on to the work site, they Jump, rather than fall off the building.
USGBC Proactive Approaches USGBC and the LEED International Roundtable have been working with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for the past year to develop three Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) that will address worker safety globally. These MPRs reference both US and EU standards regarding three topic areas:
USGBC Proactive Approaches 1) personal protective equipment 2) emergency routes and exits 3) on-site education and training. These proposed MPRs are currently under review for inclusion in LEED V4 and are undergoing language changes. This work doesnt do much to advance safety in the US since it references current best practice standards, but for many countries that are far behind, this is a big leap.
USGBC Proactive Approaches In addition to the development of the MPR, USGBC is working with NIOSH to outline strategies that will help raise awareness of construction and maintenance worker safety among LEED audiences.
USGBC Proactive Approaches This issue is larger than just green buildings, and we are in the process of identifying other stakeholders (e.g. designers, developers, contractors, building managers) that can benefit from increased awareness and education around it.
Conclusion In the face of these initiatives and discussions, LEED should not try to replicate OSHA regulations and other safety rules. Worker awareness and training are the key ingredients to safety on LEED and other Green Building projects. Thank You!
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