GreenerU’s partnership with Consigli Construction Co. offers an opportunity for schools constructing or renovating buildings to bake in well-functioning mechanical and operational designs from the get-go.
One of the most common frustrations we hear as a turnkey energy solutions firm is that building systems, no matter how new, have never worked right from the start.
The reason for this is fairly simple: building a new structure is an enormously expensive undertaking. The original vision for a new building, seen in an architect’s rendering, is the shell—actual construction costs don’t begin to firm up until the construction firm and engineers weigh in with details on the guts. It’s at this point when the term “value engineering” kicks in, because costs can begin to escalate and compromises are made to keep a project budget from going too far afield.
But this is also the point where short-term first-cost savings can make a major impact on long-term operational and maintenance costs throughout the life of a building. Decisions about how to set up a building’s ventilation system or where to install a boiler are put in place for 30, 50, even 100+ years, saddling institutions with permanent headaches when a compromise on the front end creates decades of problems that become nearly impossible to work around.
When, in 2016, Brooks School decided to build a brand-new Center for the Arts, they enlisted the services of Consigli Construction Co., a major construction firm with more than 1,000 employees in seven regional offices stretching from Portland, ME, to Washington, D.C. Brooks had also worked previously with GreenerU on energy-efficiency opportunities at Luce Library and the installation of an ice rink. Pretty soon conversations were taking place between GreenerU and Consigli personnel about how to take advantage of the rare opportunity to design for efficient building operations—how to ensure building systems work right from the start.
Thus, GreenerU managed the mechanical and electrical scopes of work, which were anticipated to save the project more than $200,000 through tighter oversight of the controls, commissioning, mechanical equipment, and design. Our close collaboration with Consigli throughout the project led to the realization that a mutually beneficial relationship blending multiple sets of expertise could provide untold advantages to initiators of new construction projects.
Those benefits have materialized further through additional partnership opportunities since GreenerU’s first engagement with Consigli—commissioning at Harvard’s Smith Campus Center renovation, mechanical installation for Phillips Academy’s library renovation, managing HVAC installation at two UMass Boston laboratories, among others.
In the end, this unique partnership presents an exciting opportunity to transform the way buildings are constructed and renovated: with the total cost of ownership in mind from the very start, ultimately providing long-term value to the schools we serve.