While there were hundreds of green building products on display at the American Institute of Architects’ National Convention and Design Exposition last week in New Orleans, none held more potential for making the application and certification process of the USGBC’s LEED system easier than that of Charleston, S.C.-based tech startup Green Wizard.
CEO and Founder Adam Bernholz and his team have raised three rounds of venture capital, most recently a $1.15 million investment from Zygote ventures, and built a web-based software platform that provides a workflow solution for the analysis and selection of green building materials. Green Wizard’s database catalogs hundreds of thousands of green building products by an overall greenness score, third-party certifications and CSI Masterformat numbers. It can analyze LEED points based on the materials and resources, water efficiency and indoor air quality credits available in the latest versions of LEED.
By typing in an address and zip code for Chicago in an initial query, the database will pull only products that fall within a 500-mile radius of that address to win locally-sourced points. The software-as-a-service database makes use of Amazon Web Services for data storage of the thousands of building products and digital representations of them in the Green Wizard catalog.
Bernholz sits on the board of the USGBC South Carolina chapter and promises that within the coming weeks the Green Wizard tool will be synchronized with LEED-Online to allow Building Teams to directly submit their projects to the USGBC from Green Wizard, a function and partnership that was announced at last November’s Greenbuild Expo in Chicago.
“It could be as soon as two weeks to have it up,” Bernholz said. “We’re ready on our end, we’re just waiting for the USGBC to prepare functionality on their end.”
HOK, Inc. and Turner Construction are already using Green Wizard as an enterprise-wide solution for LEED administration. The site’s business model works on the “freemium” concept used by many tech companies. It’s free for manufacturers to upload their building product data and free for AEC companies making very basic queries. More in-depth queries for specifiers cost $10, $20, or $50 a month. For BPMs, enhanced functionality such as cost quotes and a procurement path, can be enabled for a performance-based fee. That fee, which could be as little as 2% of the building product’s cost, automatically kicks-back to Green Wizard every time a user purchases that product from a site query.
“It’s important, we feel, to make it a very low-cost decisionmaking tool,” Bernholz said, “because we want to get Green Wizard into the hands of as many architects and construction managers as possible and also get as many products as possible on the site.”
With a direct link to LEED-Online, Green Wizard could be the long-awaited killer app that finally streamlines the still-paper-heavy LEED application process.