An in-depth feature in USA Today questions the practice of pursuing LEED points, and whether projects are truly enhanced. The article points out that by including random and often last-minute addendums, developers and owners can receive enormous tax breaks.
"People have a tendency to buy points — they buy that bike rack even though there's no value in it," architect Bob Berkebile, who helped create LEED, told the USA Today. "It's unfortunate. That's just where we are at this time."
An excerpt from the article:
"Some LEED-certified buildings include advanced or costly technology such as solar panels, on-site water treatment and highly efficient heating and cooling systems…But LEED does not require designers to take specific steps beyond meeting minimum standards in water and energy conservation, recycling and indoor air quality. Designers chart their own course to certification, choosing from roughly 50 options that range from minimizing light pollution and storm water runoff to maximizing interior daylight and ventilation. More options bring higher certification levels — from Silver to Gold to Platinum — and sometimes bigger tax benefits."
Find the full article here.
The USA Today piece incited strong reactions from the supporters of the Green Building Council.
"The U.S. Green Building Council is moving the green building industry forward in a way that has never been seen before," Rick Fedrezzi, USGBC president and CEO, said in a statement to the press. "Yes, green growth is fueling an entire industry and we are proud of that progress."
Recently, the Durst Organization announced that it would not pursue LEED certification for its BIG-designed residential project in New York, choosing instead to pursue its own environmental criteria. Find CTBUH coverage of the announcement here.