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Leed 2

March 10, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Category: Remodeling Contractor

The business case is not just that green building saves money on energy. It’s that LEED certification sells buildings to high-end clients and governments, gets architects and builders sparkling free publicity, and creates a hook for selling new products, materials, and systems to builders. It’s a whole new commercial ecosystem. Who is active in the Green Building Council, for a speculative developer to go out and advertise their property as being Class A [the highest-quality commercial building], they’ve got to have a LEED rating. The brokers need that as part of their pitch. People who would have been ambivalent about that as a moral issue are finding that it’s a commercial necessity.
Even skeptics recognize the council’s achievement. “There’s nothing else out there. LEED is what’s for dinner,” says Auden Schendler, the director of environmental affairs at Aspen Skiing Co. and the author, with Randy Udall, of a much-discussed 2005 article in Grist, the online environmental magazine, titled “LEED Is Broken: Let’s Fix It.” “Plus, it’s a good idea. Previously, nobody knew what a green building was.”One of the reasons you’ll find very few critics out there is that lots of folks make money on LEED. And it is a bit of a cabal–it’s like criticizing the pope in Rome. People don’t want to alienate themselves from this great emerging movement.
The limitations of LEED proceed from its design. The categories are not weighted, meaning that bike rack, to use an oft-cited example, can get you the same point as buying 50% of your energy from renewable sources. And there are no regional adjustments; saving water earns a point in Seattle just as it does in Tucson. Until recently, you could certify a building to LEED with no energy measures. Now beating a widely accepted international baseline (ASHRAE/IESNA) by 14% is required. But is that enough? All 10 points [in the LEED energy category] should be mandatory. That would mean beating the ASHRAE baseline by 42%–which, is achievable and frankly is not even enough to solve the climate problem.
The temptation for developers and builders is point mongering–picking one action from column A, another from column B. I think people have the idea that sustainability is just a collection of exciting ideas that you can peel and stick onto your buildi

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