MEETING WITH RICCARDO HOPPS
LEED: BUILDING SUSTAINABILITY REPORT CARD
While the construction site of Superstudio Maxi, Superstudio’s new and third space, is in the finishing straight and our team is working on design of projects that will animate the space such as, for example, the DnaDesignNatureArchitecture exhibition format, we open a window on a theme which we are increasingly hearing about and that is an integral feature of the spirit and architecture of Superstudio Maxi: the LEED (Leader in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. We talk about it with the architect Riccardo Hopps, an expert in LEED protocols.
Widespread in Italy mostly among office properties, the LEED protocol, is much more than a simple technical sustainability standards assessment of a building. In fact, it consists of a complete program aimed at evaluating criteria such as liveability, eco-compatibility, economy/efficiency ratio throughout the property’s life cycle. LEED credits conferring entitlement to certification are based on eight evaluation areas, following a view of completeness, relationality and continuity: transport and location, site sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation, regional priority. Mr. Riccardo Hopps, architect of OGBstudio and expert in LEED protocols, explains this process better.
"It is now widely known how important it is to have more respect for our planet. Climate change is the clear result of how far we still have to go in order to change our 'lifestyle'; we expend more resources than our ecosystem is able to regenerate, so as to compromise future generations life. To reverse this trend it is necessary to succeed in building an economy based on 'circularity', a production and consumption model that provides for and promotes reuse, recovery, recondition and recycling of existing materials and products for as long as possible. By doing so, we will extend products life cycle and transform 'waste' into a resource. LEED is a set of tools that has allowed the introduction of circular economy and life cycle concept within the construction industry, and applies it in two areas: one linked to the certification process, the other related to the product: that’s the building or the single material which composes it. LEED’s objective is the verification, measurement and certification of a real estate intervention performance, considering environmental impacts, energy and water efficiency, indoor quality and effects on future occupants health. The protocols family allows to certificate a new building as well as an existing property redevelopment, up to management and maintenance process."
On USGBC® website we read that LEED certification contributes to traffic and emissions reduction, water saving, waste reduction and also to make people happier. It sounds like a dream. Thus arises the question: how is this possible?
Protocols strenght is the multi-criteria logic on which they are based. This allows to systematize a series of complex and interconnected themes that, as you anticipated, range from transport to indoor environmental quality, passing through site sustainability, resources consumption, materials selection and much more. In order to achieve the ambitious goal of creating more efficient, healthier and more comfortable buildings, it is important that the procedure follows the whole production process, from the design phase to its final realisation. It’s not magic but "quality". It is to focus attention on solutions allowing to reduce our choices environmental impact and consider people who live the spaces that we architects design as the centre.
The choice to equip a building with LEED certification represents a significant investment, both in terms of financial and design commitment. Predicting this investment’s income and how it is measurable it’s one of the first steps before the final decision. Hopps confirms:
I confess this is the first question most customers ask before embarking on a LEED certification path. To reply, I try to draw a parallel with the automotive industry. A buyer who wants to buy a "Ferrari" will never ask the question of how much the extra cost is, compared to a utility vehicle. Because he understands that at a higher cost he will have a car with much higher performance. Until now the parallel checks out: so a LEED certified building is the building sector’s “Ferrari”. The comparison is decidedly less appropriate, but still useful, if we reason in terms of consumption and management costs during operation; contrary to our "Ferrari", certified buildings will have lower and easier to control operating costs than a standard building. Therefore, the first great revenue is economic during management phase; the second is in terms of corporate image. The certified property has a consolidated recognition all over the world, precisely because the LEED brand is synonymous with quality. Third element in favor, especially for those who have to sell or rent a LEED certified building, is the greatest value on the market, ranging between 7% and 11%, in addition to transaction’s speed and efficiency. Other aspects, which I do not consider secondary at all, are to be found in greater comfort and healthiness of indoor environments and in a period like the one we are experiencing, gripped by Covid-19 pandemic, knowing how to live or work in a building that also enhances our health, acquires the highest step on the scale of values.
Superstudio Maxi immediately chose to be LEED certified for its regeneration process. This makes it different from other event locations.
Let’s start by saying that Superstudio Maxi is the first event location to be LEED certified in Italy and Europe and among the very few in the world; this record is already an absolute value. Since the first meeting with Tommaso Borioli, CEO of Superstudio Events, a very strong harmony has been created; in this, Customer's sensitivity to environmental issues is extremely important and Superstudio was already a reality that paid great attention to these topics. The process has required, from the very beginning, an important synergistic work between all actors involved, driven by a motivated client, in order that design and construction were oriented to strict observace of performance requirements requested by LEED. Thanks to this, the result will be that Superstudio Maxi, compared to other non-certified locations, will use less energy and water, avoiding waste and saving on maintenance costs; it will offer greater comfort to future occupants and, thanks to LEED certification, it will be able to take credit for having reduced and controlled environmental impacts for the community. I share a number with everyone, to give an idea of the results achieved, in the energy field Superstudio Maxi gained 18 points out of the 18 available, therefore the maximum possible. The most important thing however is to be able to convey awareness. Together with Superstudio we are imagining a coordinated communication so that the property, once completed and lived in, becomes a tool for the dissemination of energy-environmental issues implemented and strategies applied. Through the story of the goal achieved, Superstudio Maxi will itself be a positive educational message and hope for future generations.