What is the general job description of a green building consultant?
I have been running this Green Building consulting firm, InHabit and BuildScape for the past Six years. We are doing various projects that are on their way to getting certified through various rating systems like LEED, GRIHA, Well, IGBC Green Homes, Green New Buildings rating and Green Factory.
The basic role of a green building consultant is to help the project team make a better building with features that benefit the final occupants and owners of the building. Most of this has to be achieved with minimum cost escalation.
A green building consultant needs to be technically sound in almost all areas of construction and operations of the building, even more than the architect in most cases because architects do not normally get involved with the nitty gritties of the MEP services. Where as the green building consultant has to provide his stamp of approval in almost all areas of design and planning.
The scope of work of a green building consultant is listed below. I may have missed a few things but at the crux of it all; this is it.
- Manage entire Green Building rating compliance and documentation process.
- Current design feedback, project acceptance and then project registration with the certification body
- Creating a project strategy to save energy and water; recommend eco-friendly materials, optimise indoor environmental quality and create a sustainable site.
- Conduct water audits, waste water management and rainwater harvesting studies.
- Regular meetings with all stake holders making it clear well advance the requirement to meet each credit and assigning responsibility for the same.
- Creating energy models, daylight simulations of all buildings to demonstrate compliance with energy efficiency, IEQ requirements of the Green Building rating program.
- Performing all measurement and verification of credits as per the Green Building rating program
- Compiling all documentation, photos, technical specification, various calculations, getting the required authorisation letters and signatures from stake holders and any other write ups and documentation required by the certification body to carry out the assessment of the project.
- Duly submitting all documentation to the certification body and act as a one point contact for the evaluators and respond to any clarifications they might require.
- Regular site visits to keep the contractors up to date on the requirements and to ensure the criteria are stringently followed.
- Identifying and recommending suppliers for green building material and services procurement.
- Being accountable if any targeted credit is missed due to poor submissions or due to misinformation provided to the responsible stake holder.
The good green building consultant should be able to provide the following deliverables and benefits to his/her clients:
- Introduce best practices in energy & water management.
- Provide accurate energy efficiency and water efficiency data.
- Help minimize waste during construction and introduce best practices in waste management post occupancy.
- Improving indoor environmental quality to meet minimum daylighting and ventilation requirements.
- Introduce best practices in improving quality of life and maximizing productivity.
- Compiling a Green Building Owner's Manual complete with green building features, how to lead a green lifestyle, maintenance tasks and other operational information.
- Staff training and awareness on project green features.
- Providing any guidance to a stake holder if necessary.
- Provide assistance in creating a clear marketing campaign and help generate awareness of the GREEN credentials of the project. This includes creating an online presence for the project, writing a case study, blog articles etc.
- Provide any other sustainability related advice, service and assistance within scope.
The general impression is that a green building consultant simply compiles all documentation required to demonstrate compliance with the various green building rating systems. But the truth is that a good green building consultant should ideally bring a lot more to the table.
Due to the nature of their job, green building consultants are naturally focussed on efficiency in every aspect, even their day to day living. This makes them ideal candidates for handling projects where more needs to be done with less. The project owner should be in a position put his faith in this individual and ideally use him as his right hand man when it comes to making project decisions.