LEED Is So Two Weeks Ago
A year or so ago, Dear Leader Graham Hill sent a missive "pls stop using Sustainability as a category." When we questioned this, he replied "it is redundant and meaningless. Everything on TreeHugger is about sustainability or it shouldn't be there." We thought of this last week when attending IIDEX-Neocon in Toronto.
Local design icon Klaus Nienkamper has been importing and promoting the very best of European furniture and design to his King Street, Toronto showroom since 1968. His furniture was always the most elegant and modern, and design was everything. Yet his booth had graphics noting "natural, sustainable materials"; we asked him about this and he sighed. We paraphrase: "Everyone is chasing LEED points. If you don't make your furniture so that they can rack them up, the architects won't specify you any more." Teknion didn't even show furniture, just a stunning forest of pine trees on pedestals surrounded by blackboards with information about LEED and how Technion was part of it, and gave out a loot bag with a tree to plant and "the Teknion Guide for Studying for (and passing) the LEED Accreditation Exam" -a new standard for pandering to panicking architects who just got hit by the LEED bus.
Crypton Super Fabrics gave out a 36 page book on how it has become a green clean machine. (with a fabulous green glossary for architects with treadmarks on their backs from the LEED bus)
All around us, bug-eyed architects and designers were racing to the next seminar, on "the Nuts and Bolts of LEED," "LEED for commercial interiors, what will it mean for my business?" "LEED us not into temptation" etcetera. Most seemed desperate, acting like if they didn't climb on this bandwagon fast they would be out of business.
Graham was right; sustainability is the new normal. Everyone at IIDEX either got it and flaunted it or looked like dead meat. If you don't contribute LEED points in this new architecture by the numbers world, don't bother even showing up. When even Klaus Nienkamper has to run points, you know the design world has changed.