NYT: Don't LEED us astray

If you missed this article, published in May, it makes some thoughtful points. At recent USGBC chapter meeting I attended, the point was quickly conceded by a highly regarded USGBC "elder statesman," who basically stated, "We can't create too big a goal in the early stages of the building green movement. Our goals have to be in digestible pieces - digestible enough that the construction industry can afford to adopt them. Then, as the baseline standard comes up, we raise the bar." - VirtualCx (MW)


TODAY Al Gore is expected to join some of the city’s top developers and bankers for the grand opening of the luminous office tower known as 1 Bryant Park — the second-tallest building in New York City and, with a handsome foyer and a roster of prominent tenants, a ray of hope in a gloomy commercial real estate market.

But beyond its height and tenancy rates, 1 Bryant Park is slated to be the only office tower in the nation to draw the United States Green Building Council’s highest level of certification — platinum — in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, the most widely used green-building measure in the country.

The LEED program, which awards points for incorporating eco-friendly material and practices into buildings’ design and construction, has led to a sea change in the industry, introducing environmental awareness into everything from regulatory processes to rents.

But while the standard is well-intentioned, it is also greatly misunderstood. Put simply, a building’s LEED rating is more like a snapshot taken at its opening, not a promise of performance. Unless local, state and federal agencies do their part to ensure long-term compliance with the program’s ideals, it could end up putting a shiny green stamp on a generation of unsustainable buildings.

NY Times Article