The Civil Engineer’s Contribution to LEED Certification


Liane Ware, Firma Design Group, November 15, 2016

How does a civil engineering LEED AP (with or without a specialty credential) benefit a project?

While their knowledge and input pertains to a handful of Sustainable Sites prerequisites and credits, civil engineers’ usual involvement in project certification is focused on storm water management. The new Sustainable Sites Credit for Rainwater Management allots different levels of development mitigation, but the credit requirements are no more unique than learning and applying local and regional requirements (such as those in California). Design teams rely on civil engineering professionals to keep up to date with the evolving stormwater management and mitigation measures required for project permitting. Now that it’s less common for civil engineers to work only locally, much of their due diligence effort is in determining stormwater regulations for each project and how they will apply in the design. Understanding the nuances of each different agency encompasses LEED as well, which is why a civil engineering LEED AP is more than qualified to efficiently address the different degrees of the Rainwater Management credit. The language of almost all agencies having jurisdiction is comparable with varying levels and applications, and LEED is keeping pace:

“’Rainwater’ is now seen as a resource that provides many environmental and economic benefits. Managing rainwater on site restores natural hydrologic conditions, reduces the possibility of flooding, and creates opportunities for onsite water reuse in applications like irrigation and landscape features.”

The right civil engineer on a design team can therefore bring his or her expertise to the table in arriving at a creative, integrated storm water management solution for both project permitting and LEED certification.


Welcoming Liane Ware

Welcoming Liane Ware:

Was there anything specific that led you into engineering?
• I always really enjoyed physics, algebra, and geometry in grade school, and I loved building things (woodworking projects) with my family. There was also a big push to involve more girls and women in the field, and I fit right in line with that effort. After evolving from a structural focus to one in civil and land development, I’ve come to appreciate how fulfilling designing the built environment is while protecting the natural environment with sustainable, low-impact development.

How long have you been in engineering?
• Technically, since my sophomore year in college, but professionally since 2005.

Where did you start off?
• My first civil engineering position was at a company in Tampa, FL, where I had my introduction to roadway and drainage design. I worked part-time while finishing my degree, and stayed on after graduation until relocating to the SF Bay area in 2006. Now I’ve worked from South Bay through the Peninsula and City to North Bay and on a wide variety of public and private re/development projects from SoCal to the state capital to wine county and in between.

Where did you go to school?
• In 2003, I graduated with my AS in Civil Engineering Technology from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. I then transferred to and graduated in 2005 with my BS in Civil Engineering from the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy?
• Camping is my favorite activity when not working, both over-packed with the car in Big Basin and backpacking Yosemite’s high country. I’m also one of those cyclists out on the road in my own imaginary race, though fully obeying traffic laws while dodging close-encounters of the motorized kind. I’m a lover of all wines and animals, of which I have many, but I also enjoy whiskey tastings and catch-and-release fishing. Plus, you’ll find a smile on my face while I’m doing just about anything outdoors…hiking, chopping firewood, floating down the river, gardening and yardwork, walking the dog, playing on the beach, reading, cross-country skiing, and inadvertently scaring away the wildlife with my attempts at playing guitar (and worse, singing along)…

Liane can be reached at: