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Specifying Sustainable Design

SpecLink-E offers solutions to sustainable design criteria that can be completely described in the specifications, plus the specifications portion of many solutions that need to be shown both on the drawings and in the specifications. No matter which rating system is used (e.g. LEED, GreenGlobes), all sustainable design issues fall into one of 5 categories:

  • Intrinsic to Location
  • Design Phase Activity
  • Post-Construction Activity
  • Embodied in the Overall Design
  • Explicitly Shown in the Contract Documents

SpecLink-E addresses the last category only, and then only the issues that need to be shown in the specifications. In general, the design team needs to decide which criteria or credits the project will pursue and which of those require specification content.  SpecLink-E helps make these decisions by providing a concise list of provisions that address typical sustainable design issues -- in particular, the LEED v4 BD+C prerequisites and credits. The complete list is at the end of Section 01 3329 - Sustainable Design Reporting, which is the starting point for specifying for sustainable design using SpecLink-E.

Section 01 3329 — Sustainable Design Reporting:

This section contains Contractor procedures supporting the documentation of sustainable design. The section explains the importance of the sustainable design rating to the Contractor and subcontractors because some of the credits available depend significantly on the Contractor's performance. This section also functions as a preliminary checklist of sections that may be needed to specify provisions to achieve specific credits. Intelligent editing of this section requires familiarity with the applicable Rating System document.

This section is not intended to contain any of the actual sustainable design criteria -- only procedural requirements that are binding on the Contractor, such as incentives. Where SpecLink-E offers a solution to a specifiable criterion, that is specified in the section(s) covering that issue. For instance, Contractor procedures to aid in ensuring good indoor air quality are specified in the Indoor Air Quality Procedures section.

At the end of this section is a complete list of provisions in SpecLink-E that address sustainable design issues. This list has three functions:

  • To help the design team identify solutions that can easily be incorporated into the project because SpecLink-E already includes them,
  • To point out to bidders and the Contractor important provisions that relate to getting the project certified, and
  • To automatically activate the relevant provisions in other sections as the specifier chooses to include them in the edited section.

The last function provides the greatest time-saving. This automatic "turning on" of the relevant sections, and the relevant provisions within them, makes them highly visible to the specifier (the sections are marked with a green box in the project tree) allowing the specifier to quickly identify sections that require further editing for completion.

Other procedural sections that a sustainable design project is most likely to need are:

  • Section 01 3329 - Sustainable Design Reporting
  • Section 01 3329.04 - Material Content Form
  • Section 01 3329.07 - Prohibited Content Installer Certification
  • Section 01 5713 - Temporary Erosion and Sediment Control
  • Section 01 5721 - Indoor Air Quality Controls
  • Section 01 6000 - Product Requirements
  • Section 01 6116 - Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Content Restrictions
  • Section 01 9113 - General Commissioning Requirements
  • Section 01 9114 - Commissioning Authority Responsibilities


As of June 2014, SpecLink-E supports the following LEED rating systems:
  • LEED v4 BD+C, for Building Design and Construction:
    • NC, New Construction and Major Renovations
    • CS, Core and Shell Development
    • Schools
    • Retail
    • DC, Data Centers
    • WDC, Warehouses and Distribution Centers
    • HOS, Hospitality
    • HC, Healthcare


Step 1:  Select Section 013329 in the folder tree, open it, and check the status box at the title.

Step 2:  Activate the relevant rating system and click on the blue text to see further choices.

Step 3:  The PART 3 checklist may have some items already highlighted in green. Activate their parent heading to activate them.  Each section selected, and each option below it, automatically turns on the relevant section and text elsewhere in the spec.

Step 4:  The final section covers scope and procedures, and a list of all the other sections with an indication of what the requirements are.

When all sections have been edited, a submittal report can be printed that shows all sections in the project that contain a requirement to submit some type of sustainable design documentation. Properly tagged user-added submittals also show.

The Specifiers' Library is provided as a service to our customers by Building Systems Design, Inc.