Two of Baltimore's most prominent construction projects, M&T Bank Stadium's
$35 million renovation
and the Horseshoe Casino, are both aiming for the green building standard known as LEED certification.
Lorax Partnerships LLC
, a Columbia-based sustainability consulting and certification company, is providing green services to the renovated stadium and the new casino. In order to get LEED certification, a LEED-qualified professional has to be involved from start tofinish, from the planning to selection of material and the construction.
The two-year renovation of the M&T Bank Stadium will begin this spring, with the National Football League Super Bowl champions the Baltimore Ravens primarily footing the bill. The design phase of the $400 million casino will be completed this summer and construction by July 2014. It will feature three full-service restaurants and six local eateries
Lorax Managing Partner Neal Fiorelli says part of the renovation at M&T involves installing energy-saving measures at a so-far undetermined cost. Fiorelli says the Ravens are aiming for a minimum LEED Silver operational standard for an existing building. Green changes at the stadium will involve lighting and refrigeration, waste recycling, cleaning products and products for the concessions.
The US Green Building Council’s LEE
D, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a voluntary certification for structures with different rating levels of Silver, Gold and Platinum. A so-called green building meets certain sustainability markers for material, construction process and exterior environmental work.
Lorax is involved in the design and construction of Caesar’s Entertainment Corp.’s new Horseshoe Casino, located near M&T Stadium. Fiorelli says the goal is at least a LEED Silver certification for new buildings. He says it is too early to know what green measures will be involved.
Founded in 2003, the privately financed Lorax provides green and LEED services directly to commercial building developers and owners, corporate real estate agencies, design teams and property managers in the private sector. In the public sector, the company works directly or as subcontractors on local, state and federal buildings.
Fiorelli says the company’s typical breakdown is 60 percent private and 40 percent public buildings but in the past few years, the breakdown has tended to be half private and half public.
Since 2006, when LEED certification became the widely recognized standard in the construction industry, Fiorelli estimates Lorax has done 120 LEED projects with another 30 to 40 in progress, They range from public libraries and school buildings to private health clubs and office buildings.
He says the company works with all the major commercial real estate developers in the area, including Manekin, St. John Properties and Merritt Properties. “It has become a selling point” to attract tenants, he says.
At the same time, the building industry underwent a dramatic change. Sustainable materials that were once expensive special-order items are now widely available at competitive prices, says Fiorelli of items like heating/air conditioning systems, windows and lumber.
Lorax currently does $1 million in sales per year but Fiorelli is hoping to double that this year by emphasizing the company’s corporate environmental consulting service. The company also oversees new construction and the retrofitting of existing buildings, to a LEED rating or whatever sustainability level the client wants.
Lorax’s staff of eight have all qualified to give LEED approval. Fiorelli says the company is hiring up to two staffers this year as researcher and assistant project manager.
Source: Neal Fiorelli, Lorax Partnerships LLC
Writer: Barbara Pash