The Four Sins of LEEDwashing: LEED Green Buildings That Perhaps Aren't Really Green

Next: The Sin of LEED Green Buildings That Are Laughably Inappropriate

It is in the middle of the New Mexico desert, miles from anywhere, which is a good thing, because they are going to be firing off rockets powered by burning rubber and nitrous oxide to give very rich people a seven minute space ride. And it is going for LEED platinum. Really, what is the point of being ""both sustainable and sensitive to its surroundings" when your purpose for being is neither?

Contradiction in Terms Dept.: a LEED Certified Spaceport

LEED should be a challenge for an above grade parking garage, even if it was made from site-grown bamboo and ventilated by flapping butterfly wings. I even came around and did a Santa Monica Mea Culpa where I concluded that it was a lovely thing. But can you truly call it green?

More: Santa Monica Mea Culpa
Contradiction in Terms Dept: Sustainable Parking Structure

The new HSBC headquarters has a gaggle of green gizmos and gold certification, but is in the middle of nowhere. Ken Benfield of NRDC put it best:


"God, where to start. What we really have here is yet another high-tech building calling itself “green” but that warrants the label only if you completely discount the sprawling, totally automobile-dependent location. Research proves that buildings in sprawling locations cause far more carbon emissions from employees and visitors driving to and from them than they save with energy-efficient building technology.

Proximity and land use are only a few points on the LEED scale, and the building does a lot of good things. A commenter pointed out that

"the fact that it was a farm screws over 1 LEED credit. If there is no local public transit, that's another 1 LEED credit. Most LEED buildings fall short in a few categories. Should we attack every LEED building that isn't off the grid? I don't think this is "greenwashing" because in a number of regards it is indeed green.

This all-or-nothing attitude so many people take when it comes to sustainability is ridiculous. You should be happy this building was green at all."

I am not so sure, I do not think we are being all-or-nothing or overly doctrinaire. Really, there should be some kind of dealbreaker clause that suggests that if any one thing is so out of whack as to bring the whole program into disrepute, then certification can be questioned.

Greenwash Watch: HSBC Headquarters

The Sin LEED Green Buildings that are models of Wretched Excess

Tags: Architects | Wretched Excess

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