Fit-Ups Good Candidates for LEED

Even a relatively small interior fit-up with a typical five-year lease is a good candidate for basic LEED certification.

Chapman’s build-outs for Artfact (5,000 sf) and Overdrive Interactive (8,000 sf) demonstrate that for little or no added construction cost property managers and tenants can reap the benefits of a certified green space.

For property managers benefits include higher rents; for tenants they include lower employee costs through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and decreased churn.

Additionally, certification enhances the marketing efforts of property managers, making their spaces more attractive to potential tenants, and the hiring efforts of employers, who find that the best job applicants are drawn to their firms by their green facilities.

Artfact, which cost $200,000, and Overdrive Interactive, which was $255,000, help to dispel the commonly held misconception that the additional cost of LEED makes certification impractical when leases are driven by the bottom line.

At $40/sf and $31/sf, respectively, those costs are well within the range that we see for a typical interior fit-out in an old mill building. Both Artfact and Overdrive are in what was the original New Balance factory in Allston.

There are several reasons why seeking LEED CI on these two projects did not skew the cost of construction:

1. Our subs, who support our commitment to sustainable design and construction, don’t charge us extra for green materials. For example, recycled drywall and low-VOC paint cost no more than the standard products; the same is true for adhesives and formaldehyde-free insulation.

2. We have electronic systems that streamline our LEED documentation process.

3. Our staff is well versed in LEED. More than half of our site supervisors and project managers are LEED Accredited Professionals, including Artfact Construction Supervisor Eric Churchill, who was one of our first supervisors to achieve accreditation, and Assistant Project Manager Jim Davis.

4. Chapman’s Director of Sustainable Practices Guy Compagnone rounded out our team, providing guidance not only to Eric and Jim but also to Dyer Brown Architects. As the instructor for our LEED test prep course and the Fundamentals of Sustainable Construction and Development course at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Guy brings a level of expertise to the LEED process that eliminates the added cost of guesswork.

“Chapman is always great to work with,” said Assistant Project Manager Shane Mulrooney of Dyer Brown Architects. “In this case their knowledge and experience with LEED projects were a great fit with our needs.”

Both Artfact and Overdrive Interactive are seeking Silver LEED certification.

UPDATE: Chapman’s Artfact project earned LEED Gold certification from the USGBC, while the Overdrive project earned LEED Silver.

published 07.21.2009

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