LEED Evolution at VIKA

As an industry, we’ve come a long way since the first LEED rating system pilot was first released to the market in 1998. For starters, we’ve seen the rapid expansion of myriad green building practices including:

  • Reduction of energy use
  • Recycling of content in building products
  • Elimination of products that off-gas volatile compounds
  • Change of stormwater runoff treatment from waste product to rainwater resource
  • Acceleration of renewable energy alternatives in the marketplace

With LEED certification now a global force, many case studies show the long-term benefits of the triple bottom line approach in how we build. The triple bottom line approach helps us determine best practices for three kinds of resources:

  1. People: The costs and benefits to the people who design, construct, live in, work in, and constitute the local community and are influenced, directly or indirectly, by a project.
  2. Planet: The costs and benefits of a project on the natural environment, locally and globally.
  3. Profit: The economic costs and benefits of projects for all stakeholders (not just the project owner).

This evolution has not only transformed the market, but has provided guidance for local agencies adopting the guidelines developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

As stewards of the environment, we here at VIKA support professionals within our organization who can help project teams obtain LEED certification successfully and help our clients develop creative and aesthetic solutions for green land development.

Now more than ever, the early integration of the project team is paramount to achieving a successfully built project. In our role as site experts of the integrated project team, we have multiple LEED accredited professionals in our Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC Offices with experience related to LEED certification and other emerging building codes and rating systems such as SITES, a recently acquired rating system by The Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI).

SITES was developed through a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort of the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden. The rating system can be applied to development projects located on sites with or without buildings, ranging from national parks to corporate campuses, streetscapes and homes, and much more. You can learn more here at sustainablesites.org.

Our staff experts are engaged in following the new metrics and are involved as advisors and subject matter experts to provide industry knowledge, technology and vision.

Our expertise has also led to involvement in and tracking of changes in local regulations and codes, such as the upcoming adoption of the IgCC by Montgomery County, Maryland. VIKA’s experts are engaged through the public comment process, informing our clients on upcoming changes that may impact their projects.

Montgomery Row



Meet our VIKA LEED professionals…

VIKA Virginia

Michael D. Benton, P.E., LEED AP
Michael’s focus is to ensure LEED compliant design aspects in the site civil portions of new and re-development projects. He works with the overall site planners to implement LEED based and sustainable design into the master planning for projects. This includes stormwater techniques—not just within the Site Design—but also integrating stormwater opportunities within the landscape and building designs. He ensures that the projects implement LEED principles to achieve appropriate and innovative stormwater management to meet jurisdiction requirements and provide for a sustainable design.

Christopher Champagne, P.E., LEED AP
Chris is the Director of Engineering and reviews all projects prior to entitlement and construction. One of the areas in which he uses his LEED AP knowledge is in innovative stormwater management. Chris says, “The challenges that come with the redevelopment of these infill sites have forced us to look at Stormwater management holistically and require solutions that are integrated into the architecture and landscape.”

Bryan Cichocki, P.E., LEED AP BD+C
Bryan’s focus is on new construction and site oriented design. He has also worked on rehab projects such as the ASCE headquarters where they used innovative design strategies to achieve additional credits.

Jessica Mack, P.E., LEED AP BD+C
Jessica became LEED accredited in June, 2015. She has assisted with various projects pursuing LEED certification.

VIKA Maryland

Charles A. Irish, Jr., P.E., LS, LEED AP
Chuck is one of the founding Principals at VIKA. He has overseen many projects that have successfully obtained LEED certification.

Joshua C. Sloan, RLA, ASLA, AICP, LEED AP ND
Josh is the Director of Planning in the Maryland office. He chose this specialty due to his background and current practice in planning and landscape architecture. He uses LEED to inform design decisions on master plans through sustainable and smart growth techniques such as block orientation, connectivity, and development placement. This helps focus urban design decisions regarding streetscape elements, stormwater integration, and protection of environmental features. This type of design directly benefits the clients because it ties into required public benefits and amenities; complements regulatory requirements for open space, stormwater control and planting; and provides long term savings and increased lease/rent/sales rates created by sustainable development.

Stephen K. Cook, RLA, LEED AP O+M
Steve has been LEED AP since December of 2007, and has been an exam item writer for the V4 version of the LEED rating system. Steve has also served as technical advisor for USGBC, helping to develop the rating systems since 2009. Steve currently serves on the Sustainable Sites and Water Efficiency Technical Advisory Groups for four-year terms. Steve has also been involved with developing the SITES rating system and is currently on a task force to help create a new credentialing program for SITES AP.

Shannon Flickinger, LEED AP BD+C
Shannon has been LEED AP since November 2014, is a member of USGBC’s National Capital Region, and has worked on 12 projects seeking LEED certification. As a civil engineer, Shannon applies her skills in managing the design of sediment and erosion control and rainwater treatment amenities to meet state, county, and LEED requirements.