Lean and Green Construction: Lessons Learned from Design and Construction of a Modular LEED Gold Building

Kristen Parrish1

1Scientific Engineering Associate, Building Technologies and Urban Systems Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA 94720-3111, kdparrish@lbl.gov, 510-486-5002


This paper presents the collaboration efforts of a design-build project team that designed and constructed a modular LEED® Gold office building in Long Beach, California. A fixed budget, and requirements for modular construction, LEED® Gold, and design-build project delivery required the project team be innovative to meet the imposed constraints. The team was formed to design and build this project, which presented challenges for work structuring and building shared understanding. Despite challenges, the owner hopes this building will serve as a model for “lean and green” design and construction of municipal buildings in Southern California. The design-build team, led by the architect and the modular construction contractor, proposed various design concepts that fulfilled the modular and LEED® Gold requirements but were infeasible from a cost perspective. Leveraging technical assistance provided through a partnership with the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE), the team was able to refine their original concepts to more economically meet the energy efficiency requirements. Further, a partnership with the local utility provider, Southern California Edison (SCE), provided additional funding for low-energy building features. These partnerships proved instrumental for achieving green goals while meeting modular requirements. This paper describes the team’s efforts to design a modular building that is energy efficient and meets a stringent cost requirement. It discusses how the requirements for modularity and LEED® Gold defined the design, construction, and operations processes. This paper documents the team’s successes in achieving lean and green practices as well as challenges they faced in the design-build environment.


Lean construction, manufacturing, customisation, flexible, work structuring, sustainability



Parrish, K. 2012, 'Lean and Green Construction: Lessons Learned from Design and Construction of a Modular LEED Gold Building' In:, Tommelein, I.D. & Pasquire, C.L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.

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