Exterior Photo of Vandenberg Air Force Base
The mechanical design and HVAC systems used during the renovation of this facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base were instrumental in the project achieving a LEED Gold Rating. Haskell takes pride in collaborating with and advising clients on cost-effective solutions to meet their sustainability goals.

October 5, 2021

Sustainability Leaders Mark Haskell’s Green Week with a Timely Q&A

Haskell is committed to green building and now counts among its fast-growing workforce nearly 130 LEED-accredited professionals.


Evidenced by its recent rise in the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Green Buildings Design and Construction rankings, Haskell continues to lead the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry in sustainable building.

Haskell is committed to green building. Among its fast-growing workforce, which now numbers more than 1,850 team members, are nearly 130 LEED-accredited professionals, many of whom hold certification by other sanctioning programs, such as Green Globe, Parksmart and WELL. To date, Haskell has built more than 15 million square feet of LEED-certified project area valued at more than $2.2 billion in 29 states and four different countries.

Haskell collaborates with and advises project owners to help them make significant, cost-effective choices that achieve their goals of reducing carbon footprint. The company continues to rank No. 1 among ENR’s Green Manufacturing & and Industrial Contractors and this year climbed to the No. 1 spot among Green Manufacturing & and Industrial Designers. In this year’s overall Green rankings, Haskell rose 12 spots to No. 24 among design firms and rose nine spots among contractors to 36th.

At offices and job sites worldwide, Haskell team members are participating in Green Week activities assembled by the company’s Sustainability Council.

And in the spirit of Green Week, Council Co-Chairs Gary R. Walo, Design Manager, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, and Thomas Warner, Senior Architect, AIA, LEED ® AP BD+C, GPCP, CCS, DQCM, collaborated to answer timely questions on sustainability.

Question: Do you foresee any changes in the sustainable design and construction market in the near future?

Walo & Warner: Yes, for industrial (food/manufacturing) there will be less focus on obtaining LEED certification and more towards “reducing the carbon footprint” or ways to incorporate sustainable features without adding cost to the project (LEED does have a cost component to incorporate).

Q: Are there sustainable design and construction standards apart from LEED that are gaining traction in the market?

W&W: Yes, there is less focus on obtaining a certification and more on incorporating standard elements (LED light fixtures, VFD motors, water-conserving restroom and breakroom aspects, white roofs – TPO). The Department of Defense (Air Force and Navy, in particular) are moving towards Guiding Principles Compliance.

Q: How should requirements in LEED or similar building standards be revised to be more effective? What should be added or removed?

W&W: For LEED specifically, changing the rules for HVAC aspects (ASHRAE 90.1 – 2016) adds significant costs to a facility and does not reduce the cost per unit (bottled water, bag of chips, pound of cheese, etc.) USGBC needs to add interactive communication during the project, plus be more consistent on review comments/demands. Prior to LEED criteria being issued either in Beta form or as a standard, the credits need to be better vetted to determine viability in the current marketplace. LEED v4 went too far too fast, and it required LEED v4.1 to loosen the requirements on some of those credits that were not achievable in LEED v4 to make them more viable. Some of the criteria are still beyond the marketplace’s capabilities.

Q: Health and wellness have become an increasingly important design goal. Has your firm’s sustainable design linked to the health and wellness movement?

W&W: This is an ever-changing target with the COVID virus and the current Delta variant. The effect is that people are working remotely more, and driving sustainable aspects to the home budget is harder to deploy/track. From a project standpoint, we have not seen any of our projects concentrate more on the health and wellness categories. However, we have an effort in-house to get more people accredited as WELL Accredited Professionals.

Q: How does the increasing need to make buildings resilient as well as carbon-neutral affect your projects?

W&W: More proposals are interested in aspects to reduce their carbon footprint, but educating clients about what is readily achievable and what features will have a direct cost to the project is necessary. Several sustainable costs do not easily translate to reduction of the cost per manufactured unit but do have an effect on the staff to know an effort is being made.

Q: What new technologies or products are helping you to achieve better green building performance?

W&W: It is not so much that there are specific elements, but there are more products within each CSI division that provide sustainability and cost competition. There is an increased awareness by a younger workforce pushing for more sustainable products and less waste.

While the cost of photovoltaics (solar) has not been found to be lifecycle cost-effective for many of our projects, the continuing technological advancements and improvements in solar panels and systems will eventually make these systems more favorable for both our Government and Industrial clients.

Q: Which parts of a building are hardest to green, and how do you overcome that challenge and still achieve green goals?

W&W: HVAC, with the new ASHRAE 90.1 criteria. The challenge is to help the customer realize the cost impact to the project, especially if the code requirement is the 2016 version

Site stormwater. The challenge with this is managing the site design to meet the code minimum. LEED requirements have a definite cost impact on the project.

Tracking and reporting data/results of energy reduction. The challenges here are first. customers first do not want pay the cost of the additional sensors and systems to monitor the energy, and second, they do not want to release the information, or add the effort to the facility staff to track, collect and report the results. There is no value to the customer to take on this process.

The perception that LEED does not add any cost to a project. The challenge with this effort is communication with the customer to remove the perception that there is no cost. LEED has a cost to register the project and evaluate. The tracking and data collection adds cost to the management of the project.

Contact Haskell’s sustainability experts and explore green solutions for your project or facility.

Gary Walo Headshot
Gary Walo
Thomas Warner Headshot
Thomas Warner

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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