Can you use the FSTC formula to compare products without an Energy Star rating, such as combi ovens, to show the most efficient option? And if you show or submit the calculations can that help with verification that will contribute to generating LEED points?
RY: Yes, there are several appliance categories including combination ovens that are yet to be officially included in the Energy Star categories. In that case, you can use information found on the Fishnick website — research reports or the rebate listings of efficient equipment — and compare the energy use of that efficient equipment to the baseline energy use found in either the Fishnick online calculators or the LEED documentation. In most cases, the FSTC has made it easy and the LEED baselines are the default baselines in the Fishnick online calculators. In LEED for retail, both Energy Star and non-Energy Star efficient appliances count as energy savers and can be included in the building energy model for LEED energy credits.
For us novices, what is the advantage to a customer for a new construction project pursuing LEED certification? Tax rebates? Lower utility costs? And what is the typical return on investment from a LEED-certified project?
TS: With over 33,000 LEED-certified projects around the country, LEED is a well known and respected third party certification that is transparent about its rating systems. It provides teams with clear goals and guidelines for building green and keeps the project on track with those objectives throughout the process from design to construction. There is also a lot of flexibility built into the rating system, which allows owners and operators to choose their focus and direction. The true benefit of LEED is increased asset value and lower operating cost. Public perception is a value that is often overlooked, and studies have shown that an increasing number of consumers make decisions based on social responsibility and sustainability. From a purely economic point of view, foodservice facilities have such small profit margins that lower utility costs from energy and water savings present a real opportunity to increase revenues.
What LEED certification do you recommend consultants obtain?
TS: The type of LEED certification attempted will depend on the building. We often see LEED for New Construction, LEED for Schools, and LEED for Healthcare on non-commercial foodservice projects, whereas LEED for Retail is a good fit with commercial foodservice. There are many options for further education if consultants want to learn more about the LEED rating systems in general. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website has a plethora of case studies and white papers, as well as links to upcoming webinars and conferences. There are local USGBC chapters in every state, which offer their own LEED education seminars and trainings. For further information on education programs or becoming a LEED Green Associate or LEED AP, please refer to: www.usgbc.org.
How do walk-in refrigerators factor into LEED?
RY: There are requirements in LEED for Retail pertaining to the energy performance of walk-in refrigerators. Most of the requirements are very straightforward and are similar to current DOE minimum energy requirements. There are some other requirements that are not as well defined and could use work. If you are interested, I suggest you become a member of the USGBC and help make the rating system better by offering expert comment on the next round of public comment for LEED V4. Expert industry input is a valuable service to the USGBC and green building community.