Phillip Saieg: Raising the Bar on Sustainability
When the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado purchased and renovated the 1903 warehouse into office space in 2005, it was decided the facility should embody the organization's mission, fostering collaboration and sustainability. LEED was the benchmark for achieving those goals. But five years after certification, they now think they can push well beyond. "Back five years ago it was really what we designed to, it was our guiding light in terms of what sustainable high performance building was," Saieg says. "Now it's just one tool in the toolbox."
Here are some of the other tools Saieg keeps in stock:
Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
Looking at the impact of the building at large in terms of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and providing strategies to mitigate that impact.
Historic Structure Assessment
. Provides a history of the structure through meticulous documentation, identifying critical deficiencies and possible solutions. They take photos of every nook and cranny, Saieg says, which is valuable as a lot of a building's features and possible flaws are hidden over time as we build on top of them.
Commercial Blower Door Test
. Fairly common in residential but less so in commercial, this gives the leakage rate for the building. With such an old facility, Saieg says he expected a poor result but found out the Center is just above average for leakage rate. This information was plugged into the energy model.
Tenant Communication and Programming
. This involves going through tenants needs and talking about how to achieve them. This is important when rolling out new sustainability initiatives. "As much as we are a set of sustainability people, they are not high-performance buildings people," Saieg says. "That's why it's important to work with the tenants and make sure they understand what it's about and how it will benefit them and that they want to be a part of it. This stuff doesn't work from the top down. It has to be a collaborative effort."
Discussions include ways tenants want to improve the building, ways the space could be improved to help them work better, and things they want to be a part of.
The Center is currently undergoing a renovation to further push its efficiency, replacing inherited end-of-life mechanicals with more efficient equipment. There is also a possible expansion into an adjoining lot while embarking on a project to explore technology options for approaching net-zero energy. "We're finding there's so much we can do to contribute to being a leader," Saieg says. And beyond self-satisfaction and embodying its mission, the real hope is that facility managers in commercial facilities elsewhere will follow.