Permitting, LEED and Specs

Steve Wilke-Shapiro

Steve Wilke-Shapiro

Green & Main has “broken ground” in both the physical sense and the conceptual.

The Green & Main team is working diligently to integrate sustainable building practices, environmental air quality considerations and recycling strategies into the everyday work pattern. These ideas and practices are most often seen on larger commercial construction projects, but rarely on smaller mixed-use buildings like those that exist in small downtowns and cities across the state.

The first phase of physical work on the building involves what we are calling intentional deconstruction (See deconstruction and site source separation photo gallery here). This term differentiates our work from traditional “demolition,” where little care is paid to either the remaining structure or what happens to the materials once they are removed. In contrast, intentional deconstruction looks at the project holistically: existing materials removed as part of the renovation are carefully removed with the intention that they be reused in other applications or recycled when possible. In some cases this may mean consciously separating materials for recycling. In other cases, it means removing (and of course recycling) hundreds of nails!

Intentional deconstruction will prepare the building for structural upgrades, energy sealing, new buildings systems and the redesigned interior. Some of the materials being removed include plaster, ceiling tiles, electrical wiring, furnaces and duct work and the concrete basement floor. Each item removed will be sorted, weighed and documented as part of LEED certification.

This intentional process involves substantial planning, communication and management effort. At Green & Main, we have adopted a four-pronged strategy: plan, communicate, assess and document. We have been planning for months on how to implement best practices into the everyday work, researching comparable approaches and developing our own project-specific approaches. As new people become involved with the project, procedures (and the reasoning behind them) will be communicated as part of a short briefing. However, we also recognize that these ideas represent a moving target and feedback will be incorporated into a weekly assessment meeting. As the process unfolds, we will document both the successes and inevitable setbacks.

We are all learning together as a community of builders, designers, and developers – the next project will be that much easier!



– Steve Wilke-Shapiro is a designer with Silent Rivers Design + Build. His techniques for intentional deconstruction of the psyche are known worldwide.


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