If your job is to specify sustainable products, then you know just how difficult it is to stay properly informed about the marketplace and all of the requirements that must be met for each project—or at least informed enough that you feel confident your firm is using the best and most appropriate materials.
Adam Bernholz understands your pain. And his Charlotte, N.C.–based company, GreenWizard, is in the final stages of developing a web-based tool—also called GreenWizard—that, if it works as planned, will make a lot of the ways you’ve been accomplishing your job as outmoded and wasteful as a coal-fired heating system.
Bernholz describes GreenWizard (greenwizard.com) as a “workflow solution for the sustainable construction industry.” Translation: It’s a smarter, faster, and cheaper way to find the best green products for your buildings. The heart of the system is a comprehensive product database, as you might expect, but GreenWizard goes far beyond that. Bernholz says it will also contain a sophisticated “rules engine” that employs all germane sustainability standards—including LEED and GBI—and data such as Department of Energy recommendations for R-values and U-values.
How will it work? Let’s say you’re in search of glazing. You provide GreenWizard with all the data you can: building location, square footage, desired LEED certification level, and so on. Using what Bernholz calls “best-of-breed wisdom,” the system then writes a “lowest-common-denominator specification” for those manufacturers that offer the most appropriate glass—and the results will include information like sourcing distance, amount of recycled content, and pricing. Multiply this process over many, many products, and GreenWizard will save the average project “several hundred hours of soft costs in research and evaluation time,” Bernholz says.
GreenWizard will also have transactional capabilities—meaning it will facilitate the contractor’s purchase of the product you want. And, Bernholz notes, the program has all of the documentation required for product submittals and LEED submissions built into the system.
How much will this wonder tool cost? Nothing. GreenWizard will be free to users. What, then, is the company’s revenue model? “We can demonstrate to manufacturers that they were used in specific projects,” says Bernholz, who has an MBA and a law degree and has worked in the venture capital world since graduating from the University of North Carolina in 1995. “We get a fee from the manufacturer based on the products purchased because of GreenWizard. I will only ask for a payment on closed sales.”
Version 1.0 of the program, which Bernholz says will launch in the fall of 2009, will focus solely on commercial construction. A 2.0 version that encompasses residential design will appear about 18 months later.