Monday, September 24, 2007

LEED buildings, all hype and no substance?

I recently read this article about LEED Certification in Fast Company in issue #119

Bank of America's One Bryant Park is made an example of here. I don't think the quote's facts are accurate with regard to energy consumption and glass for the building. The building has the ability to heat and cool itself using run-off and gray water. Let's see how much it pulls from the local ConEd grids before we start throwing stones, eh?

What I do agree with in the article is that the LEED point system is a bit flawed and that points don't' consider the building's geographic and environmental location, among other things.

LEED is not perfect, but it's not broken from Environmental Design + Construction is a good piece to put LEED into perspective. I have respect for Rob Watson, and think that his awareness of LEED's current limitations as a 'good' certification can be improved, as well as requiring increased resource reuse/savings for each building to hit baseline. And yet, having something as comprehensive and achievable (and publicly recognizable) as LEED is a great starting point and better than nothing. After speaking with an architect or two I understand better that designing smart buildings could do more to save on resource use and improve indoor health than relying strictly on LEED.

All in all, Americans love to win awards -- especially when they are silver, gold or platinum named (or colored). We're competitive, so this is a great segue to a next stage in environmental health and rewarding excellence in architecture and construction.

In the next 5 years, we'll have to do better than nothing. In the meantime, keep moving forward!

P.S. here's another publication I enjoy as a layman (er, laywoman) who is a fan of architecture and interior design and have no formal background in either: Green Source magazine from McGraw-Hill Construction

P.P.S. check out information about the Architecture 2030 initiative for where the future of sustainable architecture is hopefully going:

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