The first step in preparing for the LOTUS Certification process on a building project is the formation of the LOTUS Project Team. Integrated design is one of the most important sustainability strategies and a good project team will become the key to an integrated, efficient, cost-effective and ultimately successful sustainable design and LOTUS Certification project. It is important to include as many of the Project Team members as may be needed early in the process because this allows for a more seamless flow of information and work and allows for the valuable input of multiple experienced and knowledgeable stakeholders in the project from the onset. Every project will have a different team formation because every project will have different needs and sometimes multiple roles may be filled by a single team member. The following list includes some of the most common team members that may be included on a LOTUS project:
- Project Representative– By default, the person who registers the project with the VGBC will become the Project representative for LOTUS certification. This person should be a LOTUS-AP (LOTUS Accredited Professional), if possible, and should be experienced and knowledgeable about LOTUS certification projects and process. This person is responsible for managing the assignment of team roles and the management of all of the LOTUS documentation and coordination throughout the LOTUS certification process.
- Developer / Owner– This is the person responsible for making the final decisions for the project including all strategies, targets, project goals, financial decisions etc.
- General Contractor – This is the person responsible for the construction of the project and plays a key role in assuring that all of the LOTUS strategies and design elements are effectively and efficiently carried through to reality. It is helpful if this person has previous experience with LOTUS or green building projects but not essential if they are included in the process from the beginning of the project and there is a LOTUS-AP or experienced Project Representative on the project team.
- Sustainability Consultant – This person is knowledgeable and experienced with LOTUS, green building or sustainability projects. This person should be a LOTUS-AP as well and will provide valuable knowledge, resources and structure to the LOTUS certification process.
- Architect / Designer – This is the person responsible for the architectural design of the building. An architect with experience in LOTUS or other green building or sustainability projects can skillfully include highly effective, low-cost sustainability strategies into the design of a high performance building such as passive solar design, reduced building footprint, etc.
- Landscape Architect – This is the person responsible for the landscape planning of the site and can also skillfully include a number of highly effective, low-cost strategies into the design that will benefit the project goals and LOTUS certification.
- Engineers – This category may include Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing) Engineering. The engineers are responsible for a large portion of the LOTUS criteria, including both pre-requisites and credits and are the key to designing a truly integrated and efficient building design.
- Energy Modeler – This team member will model the energy usage of the building according to the required standards and utilizing the required software platforms that conform to LOTUS criteria and a myriad of additional modeling needs that may be included in the project goals such as analysis for tax incentives, energy rebates and additional building or energy certifications for the project.
- Commissioning Authority – This is the person responsible for organizing, coordinating & overseeing the Commissioning of the building after construction and according to the LOTUS criteria. Although the commissioning does not take place until after the major building systems have been installed and are operational, it is very helpful to include this team member early in the process so that they can provide valuable information, resources, real-world experience and knowledge from their previous LOTUS projects.
These team members are essential to the success of a LOTUS certification and building process and each of the above mentioned roles should be filled in some capacity. As previously mentioned, it is possible that a single team member may fulfill several of the above mentioned roles. For example, it is common for the MEP Engineer to also be the Energy Modeler and even sometimes the Commissioning Authority or for the Architect or Designer to be the Project Representative and/or Sustainability Consultant. The following list includes some more team roles that are helpful to a LOTUS certification project and should be included in the Project Team meetings whenever possible:
- Broker / Real Estate Agent
- Marketing / PR Director
- Financial Manager / Cost Consultant
- Facility Manager
- Key Sub-contractors
- Key Stakeholders (building tenants, users, community members)