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Kicking Off the LEED Certification process for the Thornton Tomasetti Philadelphia Office

Thornton Tomasetti is currently in the process of relocating our Philadelphia office, which is managed by Mark Coggin. As part of the relocation, we are seeking LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI) for the fit-out, with Silver as the goal. If certification is achieved, this will be our second office to win LEED certification. The first LEED certified office is our Chicago office, which achieved LEED CI-Gold and was recently declared a winner in the City of Chicago’s Green Office Challenge.
 
A series of blog posts, starting with this article, will chronicle our experience.
 
The first step in the process was to determine if LEED certification was feasible for the space. This required ensuring that we could meet the prerequisites for LEED CI certification and identifying the additional up-front costs of pursuing LEED. LEED costs typically include the consultants’ fees - which in this case included fees for the LEED consultant, the interior architect, and the mechanical engineer – and the hard costs of any upgrades or improvements to the space that would be necessary to achieve LEED points.
 
Michael Pulaski from Thornton Tomasetti’s Sustainability Practice examined the floor plan of the new office space in downtown Philadelphia and discussed plans for the space with the architects and Mark Coggin. He was able to quickly determine that the project would meet the prerequisites for LEED CI. Prerequisites are the requirements that the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) has determined are necessary for being able to meet LEED points satisfactorily. For example, one prerequisite for LEED CI is the storage and collection of recyclables. Another prerequisite is being able to meet a minimum energy performance of at least 10 percent lighting power density reduction from ASHRAE 90.1. Another is the control of tobacco smoke and meeting minimum indoor air quality performance requirements.
 
Green building consultants from our Portland office will be acting as the LEED consultants, and they will manage the process and the submittal of documentation to the GBCI for review and certification. Mechanical engineers from our Kansas City office will act as the commissioning agent. The interior architects, L2 Partridge and their sub-consultants, also will assist the pursuit of the LEED credits most appropriate to their role. The GBCI charges fees to register and certify the project, and we accounted for this additional fee.
 
The LEED work is slated to begin this summer, and we’ll be on a quick timeframe. TT’s Sustainability Practice is excited to work on this job, since it will be the first time we are acting in the roles of both consultant and leaser.