Taco Likes LEED. Do You?

Taco Likes LEED. Do You?

By Greg Cunniff, Applications Engineering Manager, Taco, Inc.

Taco was one of the first HVAC companies to respond to the “Green Building” movement during the middle of the last decade, just as the USGBC came to the attention of the commercial building industry. We immediately recognized its potential to become a big influence on commercial building projects, especially as a number of major municipalities across the U.S. declared that, going forward, all new government buildings under their jurisdiction would be USGBC certified.  We also had an innovative single pipe distribution system product offering, called LoadMatch®, which saves materials and energy, the use of which could help qualify a building’s HVAC system for points (up to 15 in all) under the USGBC certification program – specifically in the categories of Optimizing Energy Performance and Innovation in Design.

Taco’s LoadMatch® system has been employed in hundreds of buildings to date, to include a number of LEED certified projects like the Proximity Hotel (LEED Platinum) in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Lois Hole Library (LEED Silver) in Edmonton, Canada, and Meeting Street School (LEED) in Providence, RI. Taco Advanced Hydronics products used in the Northland Pines High School in Eagle River, WI, helped qualify that project for LEED Gold.

When the opportunity arrived to add a new warehouse/distribution center to our own facility in Cranston, RI several years ago, again using our LoadMatch® system, we garnered LEED certification for the project. Today we are embarking on a far larger project to our main building, revamping our Taco Learning Center and office areas, and we are again going for LEED certification, in this case LEED Silver.

The principles behind the LEED movement are very much in harmony with our own as a company and as a leading provider of energy-saving hydronic products and systems. As a company, Taco engages in sustainable practices and long ago made a commitment to environmental stewardship and giveback to our community. In keeping with those principles we are a major corporate supporter of the USGBC RI chapter, which formed last year.

We understand that there are many pathways to being “Green” these days and that the USGBC does have its critics. On the energy side, LEED certification does not automatically equate to energy savings in all cases, as argued by Stephen Vamosi, PE, in a recent column in HPAC Engineering. There is a balance to be struck between the objective of collecting LEED points for certification and true building operational energy efficiency after the fact. As Stephen Vamosi points out, “…some LEED-certified buildings performed worse than non-certified buildings.”

That being said, we are confident that use of our products, like LoadMatch® and our new LOFlo™ injection mixing system for chilled beams and radiant cooling/heating, will help contain energy use while producing first-cost savings on materials and labor. These are true “Green” products.

If you’re a designer, let us know what you think of the LEED process and the issue that Mr. Vamosi brings up. If you’ve used our LoadMatch® system in a previous project, or are considering it or our LOFlo system for a project on the drawing board right now, let us hear what you think of these systems. Let’s get a discussion going on this page regarding all things LEED.

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