Building Green Even if it’s Not LEED

By MC Mercer, Project Manager

We talk a lot about conservation – whether it’s conserving resources by eliminating waste or looking for opportunities for environmental conservation. We have a great deal of experience with LEED certified projects, and Hoar associates are strongly encouraged to seek LEED accreditation. We just had another project manager pass the AP Building Design + Construction exam last week!

Learn More Building Green Even if it’s Not LEED


By Katy Sheesley

I believe it is vitally important for buildings to be designed , constructed and operated more sustainably. Our planet has finite resources, and the more efficiently we use those resources, the longer they will be available for future generations. LEED is an excellent third party verification regarding sustainability of commercial buildings. Learn More WHY LEED OR ANY OTHER 3RD PARTY VERIFICATION?


By Tom Elliot

You get beat down in PreCon, scoffed and saddled with additional costs by Subs, and have your core values questioned by pundits and plundered by profiteers. Maybe green just isn’t the way to be. So let’s rebrand…

‘Green’ has long been the buzzword for all acts of sustainability, efficiency and improved design – good and bad. Connotations vary party-to-party so much that the term’s use has become questionable in mixed company. So what does the term ‘Green’ mean to you? And what term do you think best suits the cause?

For me, ‘Green’ has been watered down to sales-speak similarly to ‘Real’ on a package of cheese. I perceive the cause as sustaining the environment we live in by adapting the way we build. Since the definition of ‘global’ is two-part – relating to the world and applying to a whole, perhaps the term “Global Design” would suit a design approach that considers the inherent elements of a project’s locale and utilizes a broader spectrum of resources and creativity to accommodate program requirements.


By Preston Hite

A lot of the buzz words floating around the industry are tied together. For instance, it’s not uncommon to hear someone say that you can’t do Lean Construction without BIM. There is a lot of truth to that. This doesn’t bother me too much, because I am proud and happy to say that we’re pressing forward with BIM, and we’re viewed as a leader in that area. So, we’re not going to be kept out of the Lean arena by BIM.

But, there’s another buzzword tie-up that concerns me: You can’t do Lean without Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). This statement comes from the fact that Lean Construction depends on the ability of the builder to not just react to design, but to inform and influence design to maximize value and ensure smooth construction workflow. The problem here is that IPD simply has not yet moved en masse away from the West Coast. We’ve definitely gone after several IPD projects, but there are not yet a lot to go around. So, is this a chicken-egg problem? Do we have to build an IPD portfolio before we can say we are Lean? Or, can we develop our Lean expertise outside of formal integrated delivery?

The initial answer we might offer would be that we do plenty of projects with an “IPD spirit”. That is certainly true. We have had some great experiences building integrated-feeling relationships with our owners and design partners, even without a formal Integrated Form of Agreement (IFoA). This kind of teamwork naturally emerges out of our design-build and design-assist experience. But, design-build and design-assist lack the formalized shared priorities among team members that an IFoA brings to the table. Without these critical shared priorities, can we reach the level of design influence that is necessary to fully accomplish the goals of Lean Construction?

Seeds for Change

By Tom Elliot

Changing habits isn’t easy. As with any habit, acknowledging the need for change (NfC) is a precursor to action, and it’s always easier to start with small actions. So, let’s pick just a few unsustainable low-hanging habits – a couple personal and a couple on our jobsites – and identify some small-action fruit. Then, we invite you to share your ideas of easy habits to change for the better, on our whiteboard.

Personal: Everyone can take these steps in their lives at home or at work.

Habit: Plastic bags
Need for Change: Take a look along the banks of the next river, creek or stream you pass and count the bags in the trees lining the banks. The action of bagging your item after scanning is muscle memory for a clerk. Once you become aware of this excess, the things they will bag for you becomes laughable.
Action: Do you really need a bag for that? Sure they are recyclable, but there is nearly as much energy consumed in reprocessing a recycled bag as there is a new one. The savings is primarily in raw materials and landfill diversion. It’s fairly simple to say “I don’t need a bag with that.”

Habit: Leaving the lights on
Need for Change: Do you get on to your kids for wasting power? It adds up and that stuff costs money. It’s also wasteful. Plus, the power bill at your office likely comes out of overhead; the same pot as bonuses.
Action: Flip the switch on your way out the door. It’s really easy and can be done with your elbow or the binder cradled in your arms.

On the jobsite: Everyone on a building project can be green, even if they aren’t working on a LEED project.

Habit: Printing drawings and other documents
Need for Change: The notion of a paperless society doesn’t seem too promising on construction sites. The amount of waste with respect to material and time involved in keeping a set of drawings and contract documents updated is crazy.
Action: You can access all those drawings on your mobile device. Hoar’s information technology team is on the leading edge of providing project information for mobile devices, but even if you are in a place where you don’t have that level of support, you can use free or low-price apps to save and access those files on your device. Besides, it’s a lot easier – and safer – to take your tablet up a ladder than it is to drag that drawing set around! It also involves much less labor to properly archive old versions.

Habit: The trash can
Need for Change: Such a large percentage of what we throw away each day could instead be recycled, if recycling bins were located throughout our jobsites.
Action: Take on the task of organizing your project’s recycling efforts! It doesn’t have to be you rounding up the bins each week and taking them to the recycling center; you can create a sign-up list of people who are willing to share the responsibility. If you can’t get your hands on little blue bins, just use some sturdy cardboard boxes, and just mark them prominently as recycling bins.

Habit: One-sided printing
Need for Change: Usually, it would be as good or better if our documents were printed on both sides of the sheet, instead of only on the front.
Action: We could significantly reduce our paper consumption if we would each just go into our printer settings and choose two-sided printing as our default. If you don’t know how to do this, just ask the computer geek in the next office to show you how.

Awareness of the small decisions that a large number of people make every day can really make a huge difference.