how do we ensure LEED buildings live up to their promise?

Today's NY Times includes an Op-Ed by Alec Appelbaum entitled : Don’t LEED Us Astray, in which he argues LEED certification alone isn't enough to ensure energy savings- we have to find ways to hold owners and users of the buildings accountable, or else we risk alowing these "green-stamped" buildings, which rent for premium prices and provide thier users with great marketing potential,  turn into energy hogs

The article can be found here:

I'd love to hear people's thoughts- Is Appelbaum's idea that states and municipalities that require LEED certification for certain buildings also must pass regulations to ensure these buildings fulfill their energy saving potential?


Green Building: A life-cycle commitment

Paul Karrer's picture

Insofar as requiring follow-up actions after a new "green" building's initial construction, enforceability becomes a much stickier issue.

In the end, for those in the environmental and natural resource management (ENR) fields, a green building is a life-cycle dedication. Borrowing from Ron Popeil, as much as we love to be able to "build it and forget it," achieving the outcomes we seek (less energy, less cost, less carbon, etc.) involves commitment throughout a building's groundbreaking, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and ultimate demolition.

And this doesn't even mention other principles of sustainable development (density, mixed-use neighborhoods, brownfield redevelopment, public transportation links, etc.); for example, even a zero net energy building cannot just be placed anywhere in the exurbs. Reaching these goals for sustainability require a comprehensive commitment across many levels of public policy and private choice.

Great article find, Monica. Are there others with thoughts?

Paul Karrer - May 20, 2010 12:00pm


Judise's picture

Just some of my thoughts after reading the op-ed piece:

Seems that local governments and state authorities already struggle with enforcing current building codes. What incentives, if they exist, are there for these bodies to take on the additional responsibilities of determining whether LEED buildings are fulfilling their energy saving potential? Should government agencies, with their limited time and public resources, even consider taking on the suggested LEED building "check-ups"? Maybe these public entities should work on ensuring that existing building stock under jurisdiction should meet basic code standards first.

Judise - January 12, 2011 11:13am

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