Going green? Start by slaying the paper trail!

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I have been going through the LEED process and have noticed what I think is a missing piece in the process. They discuss sustainability, lower energy usage, lower water consumption, material recycle, and lower material waste. But, what I find interesting is there is little to no mention of the huge paper trail that is associated with each project. Take a look at the design submittal process, or the construction documentation, or even the facilities life cycle, reams of paper are used here and it seems to be overlooked! I believe that to be a truly “Green” structure, it starts with design through facilities, to the grave to rebirth. Acrobat 8 Professional and Acrobat 3D with PDF and metadata can help slay the “Forrest” of paper that is used during these processes

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Ok now I have your attention, let’s first get a little history, what is the LEED process? Well LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. USGBC’s members, representing every sector of the building industry, developed and continue to refine LEED. LEED addresses all building types including new construction, commercial interiors, core & shell, operations & maintenance, homes, neighborhoods, and specific applications such as retail, multiple buildings/campuses, schools, healthcare, laboratories and lodging.


Based on well-founded scientific standards, LEED emphasizes state of the art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED promotes expertise in green building through a comprehensive system offering project certification, professional accreditation, training and practical resources.


Now that is a mouthful, but, as I mentioned the LEED process covers the design, construction, and sustainability side, but, have little mention of the amazing amount of paper used and amount of carbon dioxide created by shipping that paper around (did you know that the US produces 25% of all the worlds carbon dioxide? I got this number this from Guy Battle creator of dcarbon8, during a recent discussion). Today carbon is like gold. Now hold on Tim what are you saying? First Carbon Emissions are bad and now Carbon is Gold, have you been dipping into grandpa’s special elixir? No, well not lately, what I mean by Carbon is like Gold is if you can create something that will cut the carbon emissions you can gain value from it. Ahh, the penny has dropped! Take a look at the work flow below, look familiar? Doesn’t it look like what you are doing today, multiple submittals, RFP’s, RFI’s, RFQ’s, and all going out overnight! Amazing to see (even in this very over simplified version) how much waste is created by this process




With Acrobat 8 Professional and Acrobat 3D version 8 you can minimize the big PCS beast, (oh that’s a new 3 letter acronym I just came up with P(print) – C(copy) – S(ship), I wonder if it will take off?) and use PDF to Create, Combine, Collaborate, Collect, and Control! Throughout my blogs I will touch all of these points. I urge you to take a look at the Collaborate entry here it should give you a good first step towards where we are going.


Take a look here at a simplified manual RFP process. Even in the simple version you can see 3 or 4 submittals and reviews with multiple sets going to different groups, later I will show you a ROI created by Mr John Moebes of Crate and Barrel on how he is saving on just the submittal process alone.



Now let’s take the same process electronic. You can see that in this simple example, the amount of paper, emissions, and consumables that are saved. This is done by using PDF to create PDF’s from any format from scanned in D-sized sheets, to faxes, to all desktop applications used today, and then combined into the same "Package" that you are sending out today. You can then set each package to be Adobe Reader enabled so that each person within your workflow will only need the free Adobe Reader (get it here) this enablement will allow the receiptants of your package to add comments, do redline markups, add attachments, fill in forms, apply digital signitures, and save the work locally, all with a free tool! By the way, did you know that over just the last 2 years there have be around 525,000,000 Adobe Free readers downloaded! Yep, that’s over half a BILLION, so you can be assured that whomever needs to work on your data will have 100% fidelity with the files. So below you can see enternal and external based review and comment sessions, the application of digital signatures, and project archiving all done with out PCS (remember Print, Copy, Ship)!


To me, this is helping me create a Greener project just as much and some of the other steps, in a follow up entry, we will cover the facilities side. In closing for this entry, Below is the ROI Mr. Moebes came up with (Note that when he created this, he was working for Good, Fulton and Ferrell, an Architectural Design Firm in Dallas, Tx, designing Crate and Barrel stores, he now is the Director of Design for Crate and Barrel). It is eye opening and shows that slaying the paper dragon, and adding Greeness to your process will not cost you anything, but will save you per project! And we all like that kind of Green!




Thanks all see you next entry


Tim Huff

Acrobat for AEC

Acrobat in the AEC industry


6 Responses to Going green? Start by slaying the paper trail!

  1. Mike Malone says:

    Tim, I agree, I am going through the certification process and didn’t even notice that they aren’t putting any mind share towards that. Seems like a big over site!

  2. Tim Huff says:

    I’m sure they will include it soon, we are working closely to help them formulate the documents

  3. Jim Gilliam says:

    Are there any other ROI models available that would help me confirm to the company I work to go green? I’m actually looking for estimates on recycling and energy options. Recycling seems a little trickier. You’d need to know the energy and trees required to create new paper vs. the energy required to create recycled paper.

  4. mike says:

    i think you have found a great kind of trail and it is infact as real paper trail and best of luck .

  5. fussball says:

    Gute Arbeit hier! Gute Inhalte.

  6. lieben says:

    Interessante Informationen.