Quest from Prague to US: LEED & Commissioning Process – 2/2

21 januari 2015

Read the first part of the Quest by Martin Vaclavik here. His story continues below:


Wednesday was probably the busiest day of my trip. Undoubtedly, it was precisely planned by David Parmelee. David was the one who accepted my Quest application and who organized most of the first three days. When we arrived in the office I was introduced to everyone, including Liz who was waiting on hold for our conference call. Liz is a designer working in Roanoke, VA on various projects. She gave me a presentation of the Roanoke complete LEED Gold project of the recreation center. It was enriching to see a green building project different from office buildings or industrial halls which we usually certify in Czech Republic.

MartinV3Another, probably the “greenest” project, was introduced to me by its construction manager and great professional—Glenn Ryan. Glenn told me all details about the Central Sanitation Facility in Anne Arundel County, MD, and he also provided me with many supporting documents that made this a very good study case for me and also my colleague in Prague. For example, the daylight design resulted in reduced energy consumption on lighting, or restoring local habitat within the stormwater management. To be honest, even though this building is LEED Silver certified, it has got more green building features than some buildings certified at higher levels.

All people were talking about a famous Maryland crab cake. Luckily, David invited me for lunch to try a crab cake. It was really delicious! When we got back to the office I met Warren Walker who was one of the first ARCADIANs dealing with LEED system. Another colleague who I had the chance to discuss matters with, was Chris Matthews. Chris just got back from his Quest in England. However, he found some time to sit with me and brought good comments about commissioning process from the perspective of his long time experience as a contractor.

I had a lot of discussions with the Columbia team. I really appreciated it to have a chance to come and be a part of this team for few days.


Quick transfer to Charlotte, NC required a short break on Thursday morning. Alan Lail was driving from the Charleston office to provide me with guidance how to conduct the ASHRAE Energy Level I. Audit in existing buildings. The reason of our meeting was because Alan conducted audits of buildings of Bank of America in Charlotte back in 2009. He accepted my request to come back and show me how to do such an audit.

In the Charlotte office we got asylum for the afternoon. I gave a presentation about the Prague “Green team”: what our main projects are and how we do networking in the sustainable buildings field in Europe.

The rest of the day, Alan explained me how to break down the energy consumption of the building. I came up with extra questions about evaluating outdoor supply air for mechanical ventilation. We discussed a lot about prerequisites under LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance.


MartinV2For the last day Alan contacted the building staff of Bank of America to let us repeat the audit. The building’s staff was very friendly and helpful with answering various questions necessary for analysis. First, we visited the cooling plant room and the main control system room. I could learn more about the building’s systems and operations. Next, we were accompagnied by an employee of the O&M staff to inspect the air handling unit. And finally, we went all the way up to the roof to see cooling towers and also to take a picture for our memory.

These last two days were focused on the ASHRAE energy audit that we will need in projects in Europe (in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, etc.). I think the goal was achieved and we developed new opportunity for the Prague team. We finalized my Quest visiting Carolina Panthers stadium to enjoy a beautiful day after hard work. We grabbed some barbecue in the main street in downtown and sat down to conclude this week.

Quest is definitely worth to apply because you can learn from experienced colleagues and create your network where you can also find answers for your questions. My plan was really tough but it turned out to be very well planned and successful. I would like to motivate everybody to think about visiting ARCADIS’ office(s) abroad where they work on similar projects. It will bring better performance without any doubts. All you need is to … Imagine the result!

Martin Vaclavik, Czech Republic