We love LEED, it is a terrific standard, a great checklist that can make buildings better. But it is just that, a checklist, and doesn't look at the purpose of the building, which can lead to contradictions, some hilarity and some outright stupidity and greenwashing. Alex Felsinger at Green Building Elements has put together a list of buildings that are laughable green buildings, many of which we have covered on TreeHugger, like the Santa Monica Civic Center parking garage shown above, a use that I suggested couldn't be green "even if it was made from site-grown bamboo and ventilated by flapping butterfly wings." although later I ate my words.
BP Helios House: A Little Better
Mike wrote: But when oil companies actually improve things (instead of just talking about it), it should be noted - encouraged, even. Alex writes: However, don't think you'll be able to refuel with biodiesel or charge up your electric car—they're only in the petroleum-dealing business. How green of them, right?
Then we learned it was green; Ralph Johnson of Perkins + Will tell Architectural Record that "There's been a lot of crazy things floating around,but there's actually a lot of positive things to talk about because it's an interesting building."
Alex says: While it does look beautiful and will act as a giant carbon sink in the middle of the city, there's a major problem: it will be the home of one family.
Boston's Logan Airport Gets LEED Certification
Collin wrote: With notable features like heat-reflecting roof and windows, low-flow faucets and waterless urinals, self-dimming lights, and storm water filtration, Boston Logan Airport's new Terminal A has become the first airport to be LEED certified. "We want to be responsible to the environment and our neighbors and minimize the environmental impact, said Sam Sleiman, director of capital programs and environmental affairs at the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan.
Alex notes: airplanes are still one of the top causes of global warming.
Contradiction in Terms Dept.: a LEED Certified Spaceport
We wrote: Tourists and passengers will drive into the middle of the desert, where Richard Branson and others will literally burn rubber, mixed with nitrous oxide, to fire people into space for seven minutes at $ 200,000 a pop.
And guess what? It is designed to be LEED Platinum. To be "both sustainable and sensitive to its surroundings." What an oxymoronic gesture. Next thing you know we will have LEED certified coal fired power plants.
Alex concurs: Recreational space travel, at least with the current technology, is a huge and unnecessary carbon polluter. But hey, the spaceport will be LEED certified, so everything's going to be fine, right?
Alex found one that I loved but had not heard of: A Nestle bottled water plant that's LEED certified. Now that is a contradiction in terms, worse than a LEED certified coal power plant.
We add a few more from TreeHugger:
Ever Vail: LEED-Certified Multi-Use Development
"Over one million square feet of mixed-use space including residences, a hotel, offices, retail shops and restaurants, mountain operations facilities, a public parking garage, a new gondola and related skier portal and a public park"- that people will fly to by private jet.
World's First LEED Platinum Aviation Hangar Completed
They may fly to Vail from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, where "corporate and institutional clients" who have not had their jets repossessed can "go green without sacrificing their balance sheets or high design standards."
And houses? Don't get us started. Just go to our roundup: 9 "Green" Monsters: Can a 15,000 SF Mcmansion be Green?