Degenkolb is embarking on an exciting new initiative with HDR Architects and the Veteran Administration using our EnvISA methodology. EnvISA is a first-of-its-kind analysis technique that Degenkolb recently developed that allows us to understand the environmental impacts that can be expected due to the materials and resources required to initially construct and then repair seismically damaged buildings. By using this methodology to compare alternative seismic system concepts for a building, we can estimate the differences in total environmental impact that can be realized for the different systems when constructed and due to seismic damage. This information can then be used to potentially select a seismic system that will generate the lowest total materials impacts throughout the building’s lifespan based on the interactions between the structure and the nonstructural components and building contents it is protecting.
Due to the innovative approach that EnvISA uses to probabilistically reduce a building’s lifetime environmental impacts, we see great potential for using the methodology to apply for an Innovation and Design (ID) credit under the LEED system. At least one known project has applied for a LEED ID Credit Interpretation Request (CIR) based on the same concepts of reducing impacts due to materials damage through enhanced seismic performance, and the USGBC has officially expressed intent to award that project an ID credit when it applies for LEED certification. Since EnvISA takes these same concepts one step further into quantification and improved comprehension, we are very optimistic that an EnvISA analysis that shows probabilistic impact reductions will be awarded an ID credit. HDR, the design lead, and the VA share our optimism and enthusiasm for assessing the environmental benefits of structural resiliency, and recently shared in the decision to apply for an ID credit using EnvISA on the VA Alameda Point outpatient clinic, a planned 2-story 150,000sf building adjacent to a planned National Cemetery. The VA already maintains very stringent seismic performance criteria on critical buildings including outpatient clinics, and an EnvISA analysis will provide insight regarding the environmental benefits of their standard practice. We are excited at the potential to use our innovative analysis methodology to help the VA reach their sustainability goals for the project and are looking forward to the LEED application process.