November 11th, 2003
LEAD DOG GQTM software answers many ‘green’ questions

A new computer software program, developed by PRB Design of Orlando, Fla., can now help determine the sustainability or greenness of a product and position it for potential use in projects certified by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

LEAD DOG GQ™ was designed with extensive input from both manufacturers and AEC industry experts as a baseline to help manufacturers assess both their product and their company as they relate to environmental performance, water and energy conservation, recycling and other criteria.

PRB Design’s president, Paul Bertram, Jr., explained that the software program helps fill a critical product assessment need. “There is a considerable amount of useful information and help available to assist the building team in achieving standards for building envelope performance,” Bertram said. “But manufacturers are ultimately on their own in determining and reporting how and where their products fit into the green picture.”

LEAD DOG GQ allows product manufacturers to perform an in-depth analysis of the source and content of the raw materials (feedstock) that they use as well their own manufacturing processes. Recyclability, installed product performance and other factors, such as distribution methods, testing standards and documentation, are also addressed.

This evaluation process yields a Green Quotient, a numeric percentage from 0 to 100, which helps to rate the suitability of a product within the sustainable environment and allows for the consistent comparison of similar products from different manufacturers through standardized reporting forms. The program also allows the user to add supplemental product specific data, such as test performance results and third-party certification documentation.

Based on the input data, the program also identifies the specific LEED points to which the product could potentially contribute. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“The USGBC has done an outstanding job in developing LEED and in guiding the building team through the process,” Bertram said. “But when it comes to selecting specific products that help meet various sustainability criteria, the design team has to rely on sometimes inconsistently reported information from the manufacturers because many of them don’t fully understand what kind of information to supply.”

Bertram is a founding member of the USGBC’s Central Florida Organizing Group and has been awarded a fellowship in the Construction Specifications Institute. Paul is also a member of the ASTM committee currently revising the international standards for product sustainability. He and PRB are also affiliated with the International Code Council, the National Institute of Building Sciences and is a professional affiliate of the American Institute of Architects.

“ASTM Specification E-2129 provides guidelines for the necessary information in determining product sustainability, but it is a very difficult form to complete accurately. LEAD DOG GQ makes the process much easier and much faster, while providing the user with concise written reports that can be passed along to the building team and provide the answers they’re looking for,” Bertram explained.

In addition to the software, PRB Design has also established a Web site, www, for manufactures to post their GQ reports for easy downloading by architects, specifiers and other building team members.

Established in 1978, PRB Design provides technical integrated marketing and branding programs for manufacturers and industry related trade organizations. For more information call 1-877-SMARTDOG, or to view a demonstration of LEAD DOG GQ, visit www.leaddoggq.com.

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