Sustainability FAQs

DASNY employs professionals in green building planning, design and construction, and can assist customers in learning how to maintain and enhance systems through energy audits and commissioning. Our employees are familiar with the LEED rating systems, in particular the Building Design and Construction system (BD+C) and the LEED for Homes rating system.

We have many exceptional professionals here at DASNY. In addition to licensed architects and engineers, we have 23 LEED-Accredited Professionals (APs), two LEED Green Associates and several certified energy managers, code compliance officers and residential energy inspectors. Additionally, many DASNY employees have attended GPRO: Green Professional Building Skills training which is a series of courses and certificate exams developed by Urban Green Council, the NYC chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) focused on teaching the principles of sustainability combined with trade-specific green construction knowledge. In addition, DASNY staff members are leaders in regional, state and national trade and professional organizations. We are committed to quality in our work and awareness of current market conditions. 

We use the LEED systems as our quality assurance process for the work at hand.  It is a guidance tool that helps us to define approaches to achieve energy, site, water, health, and materials goals. LEED aligns with many other useful tools as well, and we in no way restrict the use of Passiv Haus, the Living Building Challenge, SITES, WELL or other guidance instrument that can inform the process and help the design and construction team achieve the goals that have been defined.  

The USGBC was created in upstate New York nearly 20 years ago by a small group of building operators who realized people are affected by buildings, health related issues and energy costs. The USGBC’s goal is to increase awareness of the effects of our built-environment, change the market to embrace healthier product choices and energy sources, and put greater value on the process of designing, building and operating buildings. They created a suite of tools to guide and measure the success of this work. These tools are now embodied in LEED rating systems. DASNY joined the U.S. Green Building Council in 2004. Many of our staff are LEED-APs who have been trained to understand the use of the LEED suite of tools and the process for registering and applying for a certification.

DASNY currently has 40 projects certified with the U.S. Green Building Council with a goal of LEED Silver or higher. Visit our success stories to learn more about projects that have earned LEED status, including descriptions of some of the most dynamic or prominent sustainability solutions.

DASNY assists clients by registering buildings in a LEED rating system, and determining the project goals. The goals relate to a point system for final building assessment, but the tool encourages integrative design approaches. For example, energy efficiency goals will not only affect the mechanical systems in a building, but should also inform the way the walls are designed, the location of windows, how water is pumped, if a green roof is desired, etc. The intent is also to help the owner and facility manager operate the building efficiently and track ongoing energy and water usage.

Once the building design is complete, DASNY submits for design-side credits (points). Upon construction completion, documentation is provided to demonstrate achievement of selected goals on the construction side. The submitted documents are reviewed and a rating is awarded: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum, depending on level of achievement.

The projects DASNY manages for our customers typically have an established budget. LEED achievement can be realized for a project of any budget, provided the specific goals are developed and prioritized early and the owner and full team are committed to those goals. Sustainability is about being creative within a defined budget. A properly supported team working with DASNY will discuss all sustainability opportunities and ways to accomplish this objective within budget.

DASNY has avoided nearly $3 million on energy costs since 2010 at 515 Broadway due to operational and facility improvements implemented as part of DASNY Sustainability Initiatives. Our headquarters building at 515 Broadway in Albany is a LEED-EB Gold rated building, awarded in 2012. The building has an energy star rating of 90 which means that at the time of award in 2016, the headquarters performed better than 90% of comparable office buildings.

Our Energy Use Index (EUI) has been reduced by over 40% in the last five years, saving operating costs, while improving the comfort of our staff.

DASNY continues to work to reduce waste, translating to overhead efficiency and savings. Many of these goals were initiated under Executive Order #4, which calls for waste reduction, paper use reduction, and an increase in green procurement.

DASNY works with many other state entities to share resources and assist them with their waste reduction goals.

Yes, DASNY has overseen several projects that include green roofs of varying size. Green roofs provide several benefits and are very important in managing rainwater resources, as they attenuate the peak flow to CSO (combined storm overflow) systems. A green roof can be a good solution for rainwater issues on a project site. It can extend the life of a roofing system because it protects the membrane from a wider range of freeze-thaw cycles and ultraviolet (UV) ray degradation. Green roofs also help control heat gain, so if a building has rooftop A/C units, a green roof can bring down roof temperatures and help these A/C units run more efficiently over a longer life-cycle. Green roofs have been incorporated into the following DASNY projects:

Geothermal systems use the earth itself as a “heat sink.” At a certain depth, the earth remains at a constant 55 degrees no matter the season. By placing pipes containing a food-grade glycol liquid below the frost line, the system can pre-warm the liquid and use a heat pump to move that heat over to water systems in the building, meaning typical heating equipment has to do less work. In the summer, excess heat from the building can be transferred into the earth’s cooler soils, allowing a natural cooling process. This system reduces the use of fossil fuels on site in a project, as the pumps run on electricity, and it reduces energy use overall. The intent long-term is to move energy use away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, transported through the electric distribution network. Ideally, a project can also include renewable energy production on-site, making a geo-thermal system truly a zero fossil fuel use system. The piping system below ground can be under a useable sports field, natural open area, or even under the final building footprint. We have used this system in several projects including:

Yes. DASNY’s most recent solar panel installation is Dragon Hall at SUNY Cortland. Solar PV (photo voltaic – the electric systems) and Solar Thermal (the water systems) are excellent ways to include renewable energy on-site. They support the RE (Renewable Energy) Portfolio goals of New York State and will help campuses get closer to their Climate Neutral planning under the ACUPCC (American College and University President’s Climate Commitment).

DASNY 
employs photo
voltaic panels
on the roof at
515 Broadway
in Albany, NY.
SUNY Cortland Dragon Hall SUNY Cortland Commits 
to Renewable Electricity
.

DASNY has implemented several lighting efficiency projects in our headquarters building, including LED street lighting and high-efficiency overhead lighting and troffers in our offices. In addition, DASNY has employed high-efficiency, temporary construction lighting during our projects. For example, the University at Albany invested in temporary LED lighting during the construction phase of their Mohawk Tower renovation and saved more than $100,000 (over the cost of the lights) for this one project. The University plans to use the LED lights on future projects, saving additional electricity and costs. The overall project includes renovation work of four residence towers, and using LED lights will avoid in excess of $1 million on energy spending.

An existing building poses special problems and unique opportunities. The most important goal in greening an existing building is to reduce energy use, while maintaining and improving user comfort and health. If no changes to the layout of the building are being made nor investment in renovations such as new mechanical systems or re-designed lighting layouts, then a good place to start increasing efficiency is to examine operational practices. For example, are the building’s temperature set points reasonable and flexible? DASNY changed our set points to “float” as low as 68 in the winter, and as high as 78 in the summer, allowing our building to work with nature instead of against it. Human bodies respond to seasonal differences and this range of temperatures is actually healthier for building users and saves energy and operating costs on electricity.