Any of you guys have experience with this? It seems to be the lastest fad.
From what I see, it is meaningless, cost the owner more money, and they get
nothing out of it. We've had a couple of RFP's asking about it, but can't
figure out why it's becoming popular except for the 'warm fuzzy' from the
Not much experience with it... and claims are made that it's only 2-3%
more for a LEED certified construction with 20% savings in long term
If you ask me, it's a bunch of bunk.
HOWEVER, if you can become good at playing the game, there's a bunch of
money to be made...
I've had some minor experience with it in the last year. I had a
client that wanted to do the first Silver rated hotel in the US,
primarily for public relations. This client sent me to the Green
Building conference in Pittsburgh to get a little knowledge. I think
the approach may have been started by 'tree huggers' years ago, but I
think it's become a much larger thing now. It seems to really be a way
to change the construction industry as a whole so that sustainable
design becomes affordable and technically feasible for everyone. With
all things being equal wouldn't you rather use a material or system
that's less intrusive to the enviroment? Again, I'm a relative newbie
on this subject, so I'm sure someone reading this has more experience
-define "green building" by establishing a common standard of
-promote integrated, whole-building design practices
-recognize environmental leadership in the building industry
-stimulate green competition
-raise consumer awareness of green building benefits
-transform the building market
I just went to a series of seminars sponsored by the wood
industries.....seems LEEDs looks down on wood.....which is the ultimate
renewable resource.....(does a lot less long term damage than strip mining
for iron ore) So I am wondering how agenda driven it is.
Who's doing the defining? Where is the proven benefit?.........what is the
worth of the 'certificate'? why does one get 'points' by simply using a
I can't answer that one, I need to ask some friends that are LEEDs
certified, maybe they could answer it. Those are good questions.
If you're interested in the subject you should go to their site I think
they answer many of these questions: http://www.usgbc.org /
I wouldn't merely dismiss it out of hand, because I think that it was
started with the best of intentions: how can sustainable design be
achieved just as easily as standard design/construction?
I do know LEEDs covers a very wide range of subjects, not just slapping
a PV array on top of the building and calling it a day or using
recycled rubber as tiles. The approach I heard is to create an
integrated whole building approach which doesn't cause some major
outpouring of capital to create. Everything from materials that are
manufactered in an enviro-friendly way (that still have the look and
performance of any other material), to things like doing wind-tunnel
testing to reduce the amount of structure used in a building, to more
energy conserving HVAC systems. I'm just scratching the surface.
Generally I think the approach is to think in the long-term and not
just the quick return (always an issue with developers). Some of the
systems they recommend might not give that return for 10-20 years, but
eventually it shows up.
I guess the first thing that caught my attention was the awarding of points
for having a 'certified designer' that has nothing to do with the
building.....seems to me more of an agenda thing.
We did some looking when we first saw it pop up in the RFP's
So was the EPA, and the endangered species act, now look what they are
The road to hell is paveed with 'good intentions' :-(
That is one of my problems with it. a 10-20 year payback is not justified
economically, hell we are looking at one project where it will be cheaper
to tear down an existing 150,000 s.f. building and build a new 250,000 than
it will be to try and renovate and add. Things change so quickly that a 20
year payback isn't even in the picture.....sad as that may be.
Once something starts getting big, people want to get involved to
'organize' it. I sure there are some hidden agendas(as with
everything), but there are still some extremely useful things within
their point system. A lot of research has gone into it. It is still
Voluntary, so you can always cherry-pick from it.
Well we know why that happened (The 'G' word). Unfortunately they are
involved in this issue as well.
that a 20
I think that is the case for many projects. When I was going through
this last year with my client we literally went throught the checklist
to see which items they felt they could and couldn't do. Since they
were the private owner and weren't going to sell the project they were
willing to wait for some of the long-term benefits. It's a much
tougher sell to other clients. The more this stuff comes into the
marketplace the easier it will be to get some short-term returns, which
I think is the ultimate goal.
Isn't one reason for this due to taxes and depreciation? There's government
And ADA? And other codes?
How long before you figure they don't get that choice? If the stuff on the
LEED (R) checklist (TM) is a "good idea" like, oh say, seat belts or
From which we can infer that the goal of doing all this "sustainability"
crap for "all else being equal" and such being tied in to "good intentions"
is so far - a load of bull. This makes it all the more reason for it to be
Partly, most of my clients are developers that build, lease and then flip
the building to a deep pocket pension fund or the like. (once the drop in
the capital gains tax kicks in - damn guvmint)
More like changing uses and needs,
A typicla example is schools.........schools build in the 20's-50's were
built to last well over a hundred years, so many are have been torn down
around here because they no long function in today's evolved educational
process (and changing demographics) As a result, those 'forward thinking'
individuals wasted a lot of money and resources because they could not grasp
what the future would hold....(hell, one elementary school had a
environmental problem because of all the lead from the shooting range that
was in the basement....guns in schools these days? ) ...I think the same
thing WRT LEED.
My fear as well.
It seems to be this rising tide like every other architectural fad of the
last 1/2 century
But right there, in defining "the best of intentions" you already accept
their root tenet "sustainable design". What if we already dismiss the
current thrust of general "sustainable design"? Would it not be fair to
dismiss this particular set of well marketted sustainability consultants out
Isn't "sustainable design" it just a new catchphrase on an old
approach? I've always felt it meant designing in concert ecology,
rather than in opposition. Isn't that what the majority of
construction has been throughout time up until the Industrial
Revolution? I realize the term can be hijacked by some for personal
agendas, but does that make the term invalid?
What if we already dismiss the
We? As in those who are against sustainable design?
Are you in oppostion for the fact that some of those well marketted
consultants might make money from it? Does that really make something
Are you opposed because of the government's involvment?
Or is it the bigger picture that the whole notion of sustainable design
is a bunch of crap?
All of the above?
Depends on the building type. Stripcenter-Yes, Office
If you had read any of the buzzword bingo and self congratulatory self
promotion on their web site, you'd have a much better idea.
I note Cato's post quotes:
"recognize environmental leadership in the building industry"
I wonder (strongly suspect) that this means "give certificates to people who
follow our checklist". But that wouldn't really be "recognizing leadership"
so maybe I'm "wrong".
As a student of architecture, the LEEDs requirements are pressed on us,
but moreso the simple idea of <buzzword>"Green Design"</buzzword>. For
those of you who already have their licenses, if you value sustainable
design, or the money from clients who do, you're going to design like
that, and if you don't, you won't. For those of us still in school, it
gets pounded into our heads anyway, so thinking of how many spotted owls
go and bitch to their senators when a tree gets chopped down becomes
This all makes "LEEDs Certification" a bunch of major BS. I believe in
green design. However, wrapping green with a bunch of red tape will
only turn "design for the benifit of your children and the planet" into
"design for the benifit of a checkbox". And then you cut corners to get
around it as quickly and painlessly as possible, circumventing the whole
idea to begin with.
Besides that.......who gets to define 'intrusive' Is a high rise, dense
urban concrete jungle more intrusive than the same sf spread over one story
structures with 50% green space for miles and miles? It all 'depends' on
who's ox is getting gored.
If you're going to dissect my sentence then let me put it this way.
Two materials available for the same use. The difference is that one
of these materials was created by recycling some other material. The
cost is the same, the look is the same, and the performance is the
same. The only difference: one doesn't require as many natural
resources to create it but rather uses pre-used resources. Which one
would you use? Does it not matter either way? I wasn't implying a
blanket policy, just that does this approach have a underlying value to
make you want to select it over the other material?
IMHO it does.
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