The application period for new LEED committee members is open through August 31, 2017. In honor of that, USGBC will be bringing you stories and perspectives from members of the various LEED committees.
Amy Costello is a sustainability manager for Armstrong Flooring, Inc. and Gabriela Crespo is the leader of the Energy Department for Revitaliza Consultores. Both are members of the Indoor Environmental Quality Technical Advisory Group (EQ TAG).
What does your Technical Advisory Group do?
AC: The EQ TAG evaluates criteria for improving and ensuring the best possible indoor environmental quality, which includes air quality as well as acoustics and access to daylight and views that enhance the indoor environment. This work is important—especially given the amount of time people spend in indoor spaces and buildings.
GC: Focusing on the EQ category, we also review questions that might be sent over from LEED certification and provide feedback, case by case, on implementation challenges that we might have, based on our experience. We also identify opportunities to help market transformation.
On average, how much time do you dedicate to LEED Committee work per week or month?
AC: About 3–4 hours a month on average. It varies depending on what I am working on. Right now, I am leading a work group on Sustainable Communities, so I have been spending a little more time than usual on the committee.
GC: No more than 5 hours a month, including the monthly calls.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a LEED Committee volunteer?
AC: Knowing that I am making a difference. I really enjoy my time serving on various LEED committees, because it gives me the opportunity to interact with others who share my same values and commitments to sustainable and green building. It is invigorating, exciting and really encouraging that we are making a difference.
GC: I feel like I’m part of building where LEED goes next, and getting the inside scoop of what we’re thinking about, as well as setting a pace so that all countries can keep up.
What has been your most meaningful achievement as a LEED Committee volunteer?
AC: Increasing awareness. I feel like many people think USGBC focuses on architecture, but they also help industry professionals like manufacturers and producers raise awareness on the importance of working together toward the same goals.
GC: Participating in the development of pilot credits for natural lighting and discussing new ways to achieve different credits has been my biggest achievement on the EQ TAG.
How does your service on a LEED Committee enhance your professional work?
AC: As the sustainability manager for Armstrong Flooring, being on a LEED Committee helps me better understand the LEED rating systems. I share this knowledge with our product development, marketing and sales teams who are able to use this information to design products that contribute to achieving LEED criteria, to develop LEED product documentation to support project teams and to educate customers about the LEED contributions of our products.
In addition, I have developed several GBCI-approved CEUs related to LEED, which I have trained our sales team to deliver and which I present to architects and designers. This interaction with the community provides customer feedback that I can bring back to the IEQ TAG. Finally, my committee service was invaluable when I served on the LEED project team that certified the Armstrong Flooring Corporate Headquarters Building as LEED Platinum in 2007 and 2014.
GC: It is directly related, as I work in a LEED consulting firm, and I bring what I have learned in other projects to the TAG.
What is your favorite LEED credit, and why?
AC: I’d have to say the Extended Producers Responsibility criteria in Option 2 of the Materials and Resources credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization—Sourcing of Raw Materials. It encourages manufacturers to think differently and design products so that they can be taken back at the end of their life cycle. I like credits that are push-and-pull.
GC: Definitely Commissioning—I have found that it really adds value to projects and is a crucial component to achieving energy efficiency and maintaining systems throughout the life of the building. If I had to choose from my TAG category, EQ, I’d say Interior Lighting, as I am very passionate about lighting design.
What advice would you give to a new LEED Committee volunteer?
AC: Participate! I’ve been on some calls that are very quiet. Be prepared for meetings. Read the memos and recommendations. Do your homework. It makes it difficult to progress without full committee participation.
GC: Take it all in. You will be surrounded by experts who are shaping LEED’s future. And know that what you bring to the table is important.
Interested in becoming a LEED Committee volunteer? Start by taking a look at the current volunteer opportunities and learn more about LEED Committees.
Apply to be a Committee Volunteer