Green & Design - March/April 2009 - (Page 52)

a sustainable development firm. Others take comfort in that LEED ensures a project will undergo energy modeling and commissioning. While LEED has succeeded in overcoming its “high barrier of entry” image, it continues to present hurdles for smaller projects, buildings with modest budgets, unconventional building types, and markets lacking expertise. “If you’re doing a building for a very small foundation, $50,000 in costs related to certification could be significant,” says Montgomery. Carlie Bullock-Jones, an environmental consultant, notes “LEED was initially based on an office building, so it can be a challenge to fit this to an aquarium, a dance studio, a data center.” Particularly problematic is that LEED for Existing Buildings—an enormous segment of the industry—is a category that has made notoriously meager progress. LEED is also now coming under fire for a system that enables points for negligible sustainable features while neglecting the urgent issues of energy conservation and carbon emissions. In fact, a survey completed December 2008, indicates that while the building industry almost unanimously feels it is worth the time and effort to build sustainably, the perceived value of LEED certification has actually declined by 10 percent from the previous year. 52 Further research is needed to determine the reasons for this drop, but the sponsors of the survey, Allen Matkins, Constructive Technologies Group, and the Green Building Insider, reference the economy as well as green laws and regulations that do not specify LEED certification and/or that focus on carbon footprints and greenhouse gasses as potential factors. LEED 2009, the much-anticipated evolution of the rating system due to launch this June, promises to address a range of industry complaints including its lack of focus on energy and carbon emissions. It’s also designed for continuous evolution, with more rapid responses to industry needs and emerging environmental issues. So LEED is likely to gain more adherents in its new iteration, but is it here to stay? According to Leanne Tobias, a real estate investment advisor specializing in green development, it is “until there is a green standard that can be introduced wholesale into local building codes.” Indeed, a committee that includes the USGBC and national heating, cooling, and lighting associations is currently focused on developing such a national green building standard. Eventually, it may not be a question of certifying or not certifying. We all may be just building to code. G | March/April 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green & Design - March/April 2009

Green & Design - March/April 2009
Beyond Fad
Book Review
Generation Green
Green Flags
LEED for Retail
Hola, la Ciudad
Eco-Mountain High
Beautiful Vision
A Better Bean
Under the Influence
Extreme Environmentalist
Leading LEED
To LEED or Not to LEED?
Products: Designer’s Picks
The Many Shades of Green
Ad Index

Green & Design - March/April 2009