Sunday, October 18, 2009

Does being Green have a very un-Green cost to it?

Green Mamba image from Ryan Photographic, found at Play it Green
From the Queens Crap post: The LEED Conspiracy -Queens' Green Crap??? How 'bout the Bronx too??? Oh well...

..."There is no justification for USGBC claims that LEED Certified commercial buildings are using significantly less electricity or have significantly lower greenhouse-gas emission associated with their operations than do conventional buildings," wrote Oberlin College researcher John Scofield in a paper... So why is LEED so popular? Well, it lets politicians cloak themselves in the garb of environmental activism without upsetting real-estate interests..."

Oh Crap!!!

I thought it was just an opinion of mine that LEED ratings were a corporate marketing tool before they were something to improve a buildings' environmental impact. From the time that I took a LEED class and learned that in fact one can get LEED points for choosing less than green approaches and sometimes must choose active, polluting systems over actually passive, green solutions just to earn their points. I guess good publicity has a cost to it? Or does being Green have a very un-Green cost to it? Could the Prius really be worse than a Hummer? Depends on what one believes...

To have real world data to support that opinion is oddly satisfying and pretty fucked up, especially if the information is indeed proven & true. Shit, now I want it to be false!!!

Green is green and standardized ratings don't necessarily have anything to do with it; We can be responsible without ratings; the real question may be will we...?


  1. I agree that LEED doesn't necessarily result in a building that uses "significantly less electricity or have significantly lower greenhouse-gas emissions," the point system allows designers and developers flexibility in how they approach incorporating "green" practices which often allows less than perfectly green results.

    However, as a LEED AP, I've taken the approach that the LEED rating system is more of a discussion starter than a definitive guide to going green. Many of my clients have only been open to reducing the heat island effect, incorporating recycled materials, and having onsite solar panels, because of the LEED point system. No commercial developer wants to reduce parking capacity, but it is a relatively easy LEED point to achieve. Pervious paving systems require maintenance and building commissioning costs money, but the benefits of keeping water out of the municipal storm water system, keeping pollutants onsite, and having a properly tuned HVAC system shouldn't be undervalued.

    No rating system will ever be perfect, but as a way of having dollar conscious developers begin to change their thinking, I think it's the best thing we have.

  2. I completely agree with Tim, I am working on a commercial development project with a LEED Gold target. Our owner has specified that we achieve certain points that apply directly to life cycle cost. Our owner has made his own pre-reqs! This is vital if you want to save the owner money and achieve the LEED rating of choice. LEED only works when intelligent owners drive the goal.