Questioning LEED certification
There was an op-ed last month in the New York Times that takes on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program and certification. In it, author Alec Applebaum argues that LEED certification is little more than a snapshot taken at the time of the building’s completion, rather than a true indicator of a facility’s ongoing energy use as is often implied in marketing.
To be fair, the council never meant for its system to be a seal of green approval. Rather it was to be a set of guidelines for architects, engineers and others who want to make buildings less wasteful. However, developers quickly realized that its ratings—certified, silver, gold or platinum—were great marketing tools, allowing them to charge a premium on rents.
Such market-driven motives wouldn’t matter—if LEED in fact measured energy performance. But it can’t: some certified buildings end up using much more energy than the evaluators predicted, because the buildings are more popular than expected or busy at different times than developers forecast, or because tenants ignore or misuse green features.
What are your thoughts about the current status of the USGBC's LEED program?