LEED professionals around the world: Italy
Meet Fabio Viero,head of sustainability and LEED AP at Manens-Tifs s.p.a., a consulting firm that specializes in sustainability and energy issues for buildings. Based in Italy, Viero has more than 25 LEED projects in his portfolio that include many company headquarters, hospitals, data centers and retail, along with a museum and a library.
1) Why do you use LEED?
We use LEED to promote sustainability on our projects with our clients and benchmark the performance of our design. We also use it as an instrument to introduce an integrative design process aided by specialist services (i.e., energy, daylighting, acoustic, LCC, LCA modeling) to improve building performance in a cost-effective way.
2) How does LEED fit into your company’s overall sustainability goals and objectives?
Our goal is to be recognized leaders in sustainability in the built environment, and LEED is an internationally recognized rating system that enables us to benchmark the high performance of our designs throughout the world. It makes it easier to provide specialist consulting services (energy and daylighting simulations, acoustics, LCC, LCA, commissioning) that add value to the design. It also facilitates a more performance-based integrative design process by making multidisciplinary project teams work in a more collaborative way—which, in our experience, produces a more rewarding final product for everyone.
3) Do you have a favorite LEED credit? Why?
My favorite LEED credits are the optimize energy performance credit and the daylighting credit. These two credits together, when used as benchmarking since the early stages of design, facilitate the whole project team [being able] to understand and collaborate interactively and co-learn the energy well-being performance of the building, adding great value to the process and the final product.
4) People want to know real data about how green buildings are performing and how people in green buildings are performing. We want to know that your building is not just a LEED Gold building, but performing to LEED Gold standards. What measures have you put in place to ensure your LEED project continues to perform highly and improve over time?
First, we take great care in performing energy simulation during the design process. The final simulation is not just meant to demonstrate LEED compliance, but is sufficiently accurate to generate a good estimate at the design stage of energy consumption in absolute terms, and it is ready to be calibrated once the building is occupied. Second, we always offer our clients an Energy Performance Verification service, which includes LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance, commissioning and continuous commissioning, maintenance specifications and periodic auditing services.
5) We are very interested in learning more about the occupant experience of your LEED buildings. Can you share a few specific anecdotes of how people feel living and working in your LEED-certified buildings?
At the last inauguration of our latest LEED Platinum building, the owner read a note from the first team that occupied the building: "The new building is wonderful; we have beautiful views, excellent daylighting and [previously] unexperienced thermal and acoustic comfort. Our people are reinvigorated and enthusiastic about coming to work, and personal relationships are relaxed and more joyful. Thank you to our company and all the people involved in making this building happen and improving our lives.’
6) Do you plan to use LEED in future projects? If so, which ones and how?
We promote the use of an internationally recognized sustainable rating system such as LEED on all of our projects. Also, we plan to fight against the poor value added that some clients have lamented on their LEED projects, due to a sterile point searching exercise. As a member of the Integrative Process Working Group of USGBC, I strongly advocate the use of LEED as an instrument to improve the design and construction via a structured integrative design process: in this process, iterative cycles of research and analysis paced by collaborative decision-making workshops involve the whole extended project team [beginning with] the early stages of design, so that everyone is engaged early on every topic in a co-learning experience. When this happens, the whole design and construction experience is much more exciting and rewarding, and the final product is much more aligned to the aspirations of the client and the entire project team.