By Cheryl Higley
The U.S. Green Building Council is launching new LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards this November, and green building expert Stuart Kaplow says smart snow & ice management professionals should sit up and take notice.
While "green" may make some in the industry see red, Kaplow said the new regulations present a market opportunity for those willing to open their minds to the concept.
"There are business opportunities in green buildings," he said, adding that there are 9.9 billion square feet of certified and registered commercial projects in the LEED program, with 1.5 million square feet being certified to LEED every day on average.
For snow & ice management, most projects will fall under the LEED-EB (existing building) certifications; and LEED v4, which becomes effective in November, presents an opportunity for contractors to set themselves apart by offering green planning for clients.
"Under the new regulations, a site management plan that employs best management practices (including for snow & ice management) is required," he said. "It's important for snow professionals to understand that it is the plan itself--not what you do in the field--that contributes to the building owner earning LEED credit."
Kaplow, who presented at the Snow Strategies Forum, gave those in attendance a copy of a site plan template that can be used by snow professionals to help differentiate themselves during the bidding process.
"You are selling the plan. If you tell a potential client that you can give them a plan that will get them LEED credit, it could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for them."
Kaplow added that as more states begin making green building requirements mandatory, snow & ice management professionals won't have a choice but to get on board the LEED bandwagon. He also encouraged the industry's leaders to get involved in the conversation to try to influence future versions.
"The public wants snow contractors to be good stewards of the land. Each version of LEED is more environmentally sensitive. it makes good sense for organizations like SIMA to lend their expertise into shaping future policy."
To learn more about the rating systems and to review the current and upcoming LEED-EB checklists, visit usgbc.org
Are you expanding your color palette to include green/LEED services? Share them in the comments below. Cheryl Higley is editorial director of Snow Business magazine.