The US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – more commonly known as LEED – is fast becoming the standard for residential and commercial building and Dulian Terry-Swaby is helping Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. transition into achieving LEED certification on its future buildings.
Once the Solaris Avenue Building at Camana Bay is completed, which now looks like it will happen a month ahead of schedule in May, Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. will turn its attention to another Class A office project. Although the company is unsure where in Camana Bay the building will go – there are two choices – one decision has already been made: The building will be LEED certified.
Roddy Graham, senior construction engineer for Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. said all of Camana Bay’s buildings have been designed using many of the principles of LEED, even if they haven’t been LEED certified. However, the company has decided to go the extra step in the future.
“LEED is something that has become more of an industry standard rather than a choice,” he said, adding that if Dart Realty was to be seen as a dynamic developer, it needed to attain LEED certification for its future buildings. “The next office building will definitely be LEED-certified.”
Young Caymanian architect Dulian Terry-Swaby, who has worked with Dart Realty for almost two years now, has the job of helping the company meet its goals of building to the LEED standard.
Terry-Swaby’s journey to become a LEED Accredited Professional started a year ago when he studied to take the LEED Green Associate exam, the successful passing of which is a prerequisite for the LEED AP accreditation.
To be eligible to take the Green Associate exam, Terry-Swaby first had to have documented professional experience on a LEED project. With the help of Dart Realty, he was able to get that experience working for seven weeks on the design phase of a mixed-use residential/commercial project in Jersey City, New Jersey.
After a further four-day training course in Miami, Terry-Swaby sat for and passed the Green Associate exam last year. That exam focused on LEED project processes, core sustainability concepts, green building terminology and various aspects of the LEED rating systems.
The LEED Green Associate accreditation demonstrates green building expertise in nontechnical fields of practice and basic knowledge of green design, construction, and operations.
Once he attained the LEED Green Associate certification, Terry-Swaby pursued the LEED AP credential. This accreditation signified an advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices and also reflects the ability to specialize in a particular LEED rating system.
Terry-Swaby’s specialisation is in building design and construction.
To prepare for that exam, he travelled to Washington, D.C. for another four-day training course and also took a LEED AP building design and construction webinar training course on line. He ultimately travelled to Boca Raton, Florida where he passed the LEED AP exam in January of this year.
Even before getting his accreditation, Terry-Swaby was involved in another Dart Realty project that will seek LEED certification: the renovation of the hotel formerly known as the Courtyard Marriott. He said that when renovating an existing building to LEED standards, even the demolition process has to meet certain requirements with regard to the disposal, recycling or reuse of removed materials. The process has to be documented and reports filed on an ongoing basis.
There are many other LEED requirements during the design phase of the renovation, which are difficult to keep up with because the process is very fluid.
“Right now, the design changes almost every day,” Terry-Swaby said, noting that LEED design requirements involve things like energy models, water efficiencies and carbon footprint.
Terry-Swaby said he sometimes finds it challenging to balance the various LEED-related requests he gets working for Dart Realty with the other requirements of his job.
“One day, I might spend the whole day [on LEED-related requests],” he said, adding that about half of his work week is currently spent on the LEED elements of his job.
In addition to the next Camana Bay office building and the Courtyard Marriott renovation, the first phase of the for-sale residential component of Camana Bay – a 100+ unit condominium block -will also be build to LEED certification standards, so Terry-Swaby will be very busy. But he said he loves his job, which was offered to him while he was living in Miami.
“I basically left everything when I got this job offer,” he said. “This is the job of my life. It’s a nice organisation to work for; it pushes you do to better.”
There’s already been promotion for Terry-Swaby since he joined Dart Realty. He started off as a project coordinator responsible for tenant improvements and not he’s an architecture coordinator within the Dart Realty development team.
But going into the future, Terry-Swaby sees himself increasingly involved in designing and building to LEED standards.
“That’s definitely where I see myself,” he said.
Graham said Dart Realty is committed to good design and construction practices and LEED certification is globally becoming the industry standard. Although he said it might be difficult for commercial buildings in Cayman to reach the LEED platinum standard because of things like the difficulty in sourcing building materials within 500 miles, Dart Realty is ready to take the lead in LEED in the Cayman Islands.
“Carbon footprint, sustainability and green building are all nice phrases, but it’s time to put things into action,” he said.
With the help of Dulian Terry-Swaby, Dart Realty is positioned to do just that.