Slate on "Decidedly Dupable" LEED
Daniel Brook starts his criticism of LEED with an easy target: the world's largest monster home, noting that it is more like an example of eco-terrorism than green architecture. He has a point.
It is a point we have made before as well, wondering how one can call an above grade parking structure sustainable. It is the points that are the problem; in the checklist-based LEED system "The point system creates perverse incentives to design around the checklist rather than to build the greenest building possible."
Brook continues: "what about builders who set out to exploit the checklist system? Installing a $395 bike rack is worth the same under the LEED checklist system as installing a $1.3 million environmentally sensitive heating system. Which is the cynical builder going to choose? ::Slate
Contradiction in Terms:"sustainable LEED rated parking garage"
It is not a new issue. Two years ago we quoted Bill McDonough: "LEED is a checklist for people who don't want to think you get points for using recycled carpet made from PVC. PVC leads to dioxin and should be banned, but you get points for it." Auden Schendler asked "Is LEED Broken? in ::Grist. . (and we know where he ended up)
LEED is not without its problems, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, LEED " is the worst system except for all those others that have been tried." It is also under threat from alternate systems proposed by the lumber industry because they don't like LEED's preference for FSC lumber, and by the building industry because they don't like its preference for smaller houses or paying money to third party independent consultants. This would hardly be happening if it was "Way Too Easy Being Green" as Brook says in his title.
Janne Flisrand of the Greenwash Brigade (and is studying for LEED accreditation) is realistic about point-mongering, and concludes:
"In my experience, almost any system allows for gaming. Grades. (Ever take an easy class to pump up your GPA?) Taxes. (We all have a way to keep a little more in our pockets.)
Gamed or not, LEED is a practical tool. It helps architects, developers and contractors newly interested in sustainability to learn greener tactics - and have a measure of their success. It provides consumers (including policy makers) with a way to request the buildings they want and feedback through LEED points and certification to know whether they got what they asked for.
Those deeply into green building will continue to do it right for the same reasons they always have, even if they don't earn USGBC approval. " ::Greenwash Brigade