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July 1, 2008                                                                                    Volume 1, Issue 6

Editor-in-Chief, H. Edward Goldberg
Copy Editor, Judith Goldberg

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What is LEED and how do you get LEED certified in the U.S.?

Buildings are the largest consumers of energy and are a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Growing concern about the environment and dwindling recourses, are forcing more professionals to question “is my building project energy efficient and “can I make money designing sustainable buildings”.  To address these concerns, several rating systems have been developed throughout the world. Key rating systems are: LEED (US), LEED (UAE), BREEAM (UK) and Green Star (Australia). In the United States, the U.S. Green Building Council has created a rating system for codifying efficiency and sustainability in building projects. In England, legislation is in force requiring new buildings, major refurbishments and large public buildings throughout England and Wales to have an energy certificate rating the energy performance of the building. Britain has two types of energy certificates: The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which is required for all buildings when they are constructed, sold or rented, and the Display Energy Certificate (DEC), which is required for large public buildings occupied by public authorities or institutions providing a public service to a large number of people. These certificates show the actual energy usage of a building and need to be displayed at all times.

USGBC's Growth Trend


The U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system is called LEED ®, an acronym that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System™.  LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED APs) have passed one of the LEED Professional Exam Tracks and have the know-how to steward the LEED certification process. There are three exam tracks; LEED for New Construction, version 2.2, LEED for Commercial Interiors, version 2.0, and LEED for Existing Buildings, version 2.0. Each exam lasts two hours, and is administered by a company called Prometric. For a list of test sites, visit  The cost of the exam is $300 for USGBC Members and $400 for non-members.LEED Professional Accreditation is a voluntary designation. More than 43,000 people have earned the credential since the Professional Accreditation program was launched in 2001. Currently, there is no prerequisite for becoming a LEED AP, but that may change in the future.The LEED Professional Accreditation program is managed by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Although monetary and tax incentives are offered by some municipalities for LEED compliance, LEED is generally just a rating guide for public information.

LEED and Sustainable Design at Work.

Richard Donnally, A.I.A., LEED AP, a classmate of mine in Architecture school, was asked by the Department of Energy in 1975 to participate in a national study on energy conscious design. At the time Rick was able to demonstrate that a large residential high rise he was currently designing could be modified to achieve a 40% energy savings for a 5% increase in construction costs. In 2004 Rick designed the first speculative Office Gold Level LEED – CS Certified project in Northern Virginia. In addition to Rick’s architectural practice, Donnally Vujcic and Associates LLC, he recently founded a separate company called Sustainability by Design to assist the real estate community, architects, and engineers in obtaining LEED Certification. According to Rick, 50,000 sq.ft. is the minimum threshold that some jurisdictions have set to require LEED Certification. Because LEED adds about $1.00 in consultants’ fees per sq. foot of building, and consultants’ fees do not change significantly with size, certification is generally too expensive for buildings below this threshold. LEED also increases hard costs: in an average 100,000 sq. ft. building, $2.00/sq. ft. for Silver Certification and $4.00/sq. ft. for Gold Certification. (Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification depending on the number of credits they achieve during the certification process.)  When I asked Rick why developers of spec. office buildings would want to have them LEED certified, he replied that developers are now offering leases that require tenants to pay for utilities. Thus, LEED certified office buildings are becoming more attractive to potential lease holders.



8651 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring Maryland.
Designed to LEED Gold certification by
Donnally Vujcic and Associates LLC


Ed's Recommendations 

Autodesk Enhances Sustainable Design Capabilities with Acquisitions of Ecotect and Green Building Studio Analysis Tools.

As part of its on-going commitment to support the practice of sustainable design and green building in the (AEC) industries, Autodesk, Inc. announced two acquisitions to improve building performance analysis in the building information modeling (BIM) process.  The company has completed the acquisition of substantially all the assets related to the Ecotect software tools for conceptual building performance analysis. Autodesk also has completed the acquisition of Green Building Studio, Inc., a provider of web-based whole building energy, water and carbon-emission analysis software. 
The acquisitions of Ecotect and the Green Building Studio assets will support Autodesk’s vision to deliver software that enables architects and engineers to design more sustainable projects. The Ecotect tools can measure how fundamental criteria, such as solar, thermal, shading, lighting, and airflow, will affect building performance in the conceptual and detailed phases of design. Ecotect’s capability to forecast building performance over time better equips architects and engineers to deliver more energy efficient and sustainable building designs. The Autodesk Green Building Studio analysis tools (featured in Issue 1 of Ed’s Independent Voice), are now available at They provide improved design insight through whole building energy, water and carbon-emission analysis, helping architects and designers to maximize building economic and environmental performance. The tools are compatible with Autodesk design software as well as software from other industry providers through the Green Building XML (gbXML) schema and can now be directly accessed from within the Revit platform for BIM with a new plug-in now available for download. 

Hevacomp Design Simulation Software Acquired by Bentley Systems.

Hevacomp is a leading UK-based building services software house that has just been acquired by Bentley Systems. Their design software has a user base of 3000 sites world-wide and is used by 70% of the medium to large size consulting engineers in the UK. Hevacomp provides a range of building services software, including heating and cooling loads, energy, pipe and duct sizing, lighting and electrical design.  Until now, Hevacomp has produced software based on straightforward steady or quasi-steady state methods which has proved popular with engineers, who appreciate its ease of use.
Over the past few years, engineers have been required to carry out more complex analyses, such as over-heating frequency, mixed mode ventilation, CFD analysis etc.  To meet this demand, Hevacomp has developed a Design Simulation package, using EnergyPlus as a calculation engine.  An important feature of this package is that simulation can be carried out using the same project data that engineers have already set up for use with simple load calculations, enabling simulation studies to be carried out without entering more project data. 
With Hevacomp software, a building is set up by tracing around the internal perimeter of each room. Adjacent surfaces are automatically detected as partitions.  Databases of constructional elements are used.  An extensive roof and floor modeling program is available, which enables simple or complex roofs to be traced from DXF files.  Walls and partitions are automatically trimmed vertically to fit the roof; rooms above and below target rooms are detected.  This capability enables a full 3D model to be produced for little more effort than a simple 2D tracing.


Once the building has been set up, building simulation, linking to EnergyPlus, can be carried out to examine room heat losses and gains, summer overheating, peak design months, overheating frequency and building energy.  The package will also produce 3D external shading graphics and internal solar penetration graphics, showing moving sunshine patches within rooms.


RDV Systems Road Safety Analysis

I recently read that, according to a 2005 report from the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries will be the eighth leading contributor to the global burden of disease by the year 2030.  How is that for a statistic? Road safety is a serious public health issue—it affects everyone, it doesn’t matter if you drive to work, walk on the city streets or ride your bike. There are over 1.2 million annual fatalities worldwide in road crashes – so obviously someone needs to do something to improve road safety. I heard that RDV Systems (I have covered them before) has a great visualization application that through 3D analysis allows you to make informed decisions regarding road safety.  The company’s Rapid Road Safety Analyzer allows for interactive analysis of road conditions, including precise visibility reports and real-time visual feedback.

How is RDV different from Autodesk’s NavisWorks?

Although I see a lot of similarities between the two technologies, the two solutions were actually created for different markets. RDV’s products are specifically designed to suit the needs of civil engineers, urban and land planners. The product line allows the civil engineer to quickly create interactive elements directly from a project.  Civil engineers, road planners, airport engineers, railway engineers, and subdivision planners use RDV to create visualizations that they can continue to revise as their projects evolve.

Autodesk’s NavisWorks (they were acquired in August 2007) offers collaborative 3D/4D software. NavisWorks’ product JetStream is used to improve productivity and quality in the project lifecycle of building, plant and marine construction. NavisWorks is used by construction companies, architects, engineering companies, and shipbuilders.
Where is RDV likely heading?

With the vast majority of US state DOTs entrenched on the MicroStation platform, one would expect to see RDV’s Road Safety Analyzer become available for Bentley products as well as Autodesk. I asked Natan Elsberg, RDV’s COO about their future strategy, vis a vis MicroStation.  Interestingly enough, this is what he had to say: “We have sold RDV based on Autodesk Civil 3D to many large engineering firms in the US who use both Autodesk and Bentley.  As you can imagine, we plan to provide solutions that suit the needs of our existing clients, as well as expand in new markets.”  I wonder what that means. Please check this PDF that explains, in detail, the Rapid Road Safety Analyzer.



About Ed:

I am a well known analyst in the AEC Industry, having been a journalist and lecturer in this arena for the past 10 years.  In my primary occupation as an Architect, I use the cutting edge digital technology about which I write, for the design and construction of buildings. I have been a Licensed Architect for 30 years, and have designed and/or built dozens of commercial, multifamily, and rehab projects. I also headed the CAD and Multimedia Department at Carroll Community College and the Industrial Design Department at Towson University. For many years I wrote the AEC column in CADALYST magazine. I authored seven books, in as many years, on AutoCAD Architecture (formally Architectural Desktop), for publisher Prentice Hall. My new Revit Architecture 2009 book will be on sale this May.

I continue to attend key industry events and keep abreast of the newest developments. If you see me at an event, please come over and chat with me; I like people, and would enjoy meeting you. You can recognize me by my trademark hat – black in winter, and white in summer.
 Please take a look at my Web Site:



© 2007 H. Edward Goldberg AIA, NCARB, Ed’s Independent Voice. All rights reserved




DesignDC '08: Leading ReNEWal

Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, Washington DC

Wednesday, July 9
2:00 – 3:30pm

Ed will be giving a seminar.

BIM: Its history, where it is now, and where it is going.

This session will explore the history of BIM, current software and possible future trends in automated estimating, code checking, analysis and facilities management. Learn more about the differences in BIM modeling software and the potential new profit streams that will be made available with automated estimating and facilities management.
1.5 LU
Presented by H. Edward Goldberg AIA, NCARB, HEGRA Architects


Ed Goldberg’s new Revit 2009 book is now available.

For information go to

Purchase from:,1207,store19880_isbn-0135134757_contentid-37553,00.html