10 Tips For Producing “LEED” Specs

What can you do to make it easier for your customers to understand and specify green building products?  The following is advice from CSI's Sustainability Practice Group. It is a good guide for building product manufacturers to study when preparing any "green" marketing literature.

1. There is no absolute difference between a “LEED” spec and a normal spec. You can write a spec for a sustainable building and never use the words “sustainable,” “green,” or “LEED” in it. If the spec is written in a clear, concise, correct and complete manner, sustainability can be built in.

2. BUT you should state your goal for a spec in Division 01 - General Requirements. Is your project to be “LEED Certified” or “LEED Certifiable”? Knowing the design intent of the owner and architect helps the contractor.

3. A list of LEED requirements is not a spec. If the instructions to the contractor are unclear, you’ll pay for them to guess. Product selection and code compliance are the designer’s responsibility.

4. Do the legwork before you open bidding. Do not spec products that cannot meet your sustainable design requirements. You’ll pay for that, too.

5. Know what level of “Green” the owner wants. If the owner wants LEED certification, don’t waste time and money requiring floormats that are made of recyclable material as they don’t contribute a thing to your LEED goal.

6. There is no “maybe” in a contractor’s vocabulary. “Maybe” in a LEED Scorecard will be translated as “no.” Either you’re pursuing a credit or not. Tell the contractor what must be done, not what could be done.

7. Make data collection important. Contractors put off unimportant paperwork. If data for LEED credits must be handed in with Applications for Payment, it’ll get done.

8. Don’t overwork -- and thus overpay – the contractor. Limiting contractors to collecting and recording data for a few products also limits the time and resources they need to do the work. Target the products that will get you the credits you want.

9. Explain, explain, explain. Budget for site visits and meetings where you’ll explain what you’re doing to the contractor, the subcontractors and the facility managers.

10. Let CSI show you how to manage your construction documentation:
  • Join CSI’s Sustainability Practice Group – It’s FREE! The next meeting is scheduled for December 21, and the group will be discussing Sustainable products, standards and guidelines.
  • Post questions in CSI’s Sustainability Forum.
  • Learn to use CSI’s GreenFormat, a format for structuring product data.