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When Marriott decided to pursue LEED certification for 300 hotel projects across the country, the company turned to the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) newly launched LEED Volume Program to pursue its environmental goals. The LEED Volume Programs will streamline the LEED certification process without compromising the integrity and rigor that LEED has come to stand for.
"The Volume Program made LEED certification a viable option," says Marriott senior design manager Jefferson Thomas. "Our owner and operators had the desire to build LEED certified hotels and using the volume approach made it easy and cost effective. Because the Volume Program comes with a pre-approved list of tasks and goals, the entire design and construction process is precisely defined. There's no guesswork. Team members, in all disciplines, understand their responsibilities and what they must do in order to meet them."
Marriott owners and operators realize the benefits of building green up front, plus they earn an operational ROI for the rest of the building's life, says Thomas.
Because many organizations build many similar buildings, USGBC understood the need to have a systematic process for high-volume owners to certify multiple buildings. LEED Volume fills that need, allowing owners to earn LEED certification faster and at a lower cost than would be possible with individual building reviews.
Acknowledging that organizations can best identify the uniformity and similarities of their projects, the program is designed to be flexible, allowing owners to define the criteria for grouping similar buildings and the prototype credits they plan to pursue.
Because participating organizations are building to a very precisely defined project prototype, they are able to purchase building materials on a bulk basis, saving considerably. Also, predictable and consistent building practices have enabled many to reduce their consultancy requirements and streamline their own internal project management processes.
The documentation requirements associated with LEED certification have helped many organizations track the impact of their building efforts relative to corporate sustainability targets. Other benefits of LEED Volume include smoother municipal interaction for permitting, an enhanced environment for customers, and improved property values and brand perceptions. Indeed, many pilot participants have integrated LEED Volume procedures into their daily business practices.
Nearly 100 national and independent retailers and franchisees — including Bank of America, Best Buy, Chipotle, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Kohl's, LL Bean, McDonald's, Pizza Fusion, Starbucks and Target — have participated in the pilot program since its launch in 2007. These organizations have provided valuable feedback to inform the rating systems' development. In 2011, USGBC will introduce Volume certification for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance.
To learn more about the new LEED Volume program visit www.usgbc.org/leedvolume.
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