You’ve heard the phrase, “teamwork makes the dream work,” right? LEED, an acronym for the green building certification that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, champions that idea throughout the certification process. In fact, the LEED scorecard specifically calls that team-effort mentality out in a stand-alone credit for which projects can achieve one point, called integrative process.

The integrative process credit tracks a project’s progression from the very early phases of design to the end of construction and into completed buildings’ operations and maintenance phase. The credit intends to foster understanding about how projects evolve over time. Working in such a way optimizes efficiencies and reflects on the project’s successes, and failures.

Accounting for the entire life cycle of the project not only allows observation of how the energy- and water-related systems interact with the building but also provides an opportunity for increased communication and reflection among team members. Each LEED rating system features a varied version of integrative process.

LEED Building Design and Construction: New Construction focuses on the development of energy- and water-related systems, ultimately documented on a worksheet for submission. The worksheet begins with a preliminary analysis or assumptions for the initial design. As the systems evolve throughout the project phases, any changes that are made are recorded on the worksheet.

The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers also receive a draft of the worksheet to provide input on how and why their respective systems were updated. Every team member’s input informs decisions and adds to the value of the worksheet over time.

LEED Homes concentrates more on how the project team intercommunicates. Each team member must be a part of at least three phases of the project, including categories like energy and envelope systems analysis or design, LEED planning, and construction. Fostering communication among disciplines allows team members to understand opportunities for efficiency and synergies between systems.

The required charrette and trades training meetings also help even seasoned professionals learn more about LEED and why building better and greener is important. Not only does the design team get to know each other, but they also can weigh in on the entirety of the project design and construction.

People have different methods in achieving quality design, quality installation, quality material selection, and quality management. Building better is about building with quality in mind. To ensure all facets of quality, not just one, project teams need a platform to interact and strategize on efficiencies given budget, time, and specialty parameters. This is what LEED’s integrative process offers. To provide quality work, designated time must be allotted for collaboration.

Ultimately, the integrative process is about communication, observation, and reflection. It gives professionals the chance to empathize with other disciplines, and design with other systems in mind. The process provides team members with a space to strategize and brainstorm about design layout, construction implementation, and operating those systems when installed.

This credit fosters communication-based relationships and time to pause and reflect on the good work they’ve done as well as opportunities for improvement, resulting in time efficiency and cost savings. For help on tackling the integrative process credit, as well as the rest of your LEED scorecard, contact a VCA principal today:

Moe Fakih, Principal

Robyn Vettraino, Principal

Contributing writer: Bre Watkins