Green Building Labelling is flawed?

More trouble for green building? The NY Times article Some Buildings Not Living Up to Green Label [1] reports on the hot button issue of the moment in green building sector. Essentially, the issue is that not all green buildings {registered/certified under LEED} are energy efficient, with perhaps 25% of LEED certified green buildings burning more energy and not eligible for any EnergyStar certification.

However, here LEED is not alone, many of the building environmental performance rating tools are based on a similar structure, under assessment projects need to accumulate points or credits, and the higher score equates to more prestigious building rating.

In the absence of other metrics, often the design team is often tasked to deliver a target rating (for example refer to Hong Kong green building circular mentioned yesterday) and that is the driver, the pursuit of the necessary points/credits becomes the goal without considering other viable options that do not attract credits.

So the rating tools are flawed, but I am not advocating that we abandon the assessment models. The industry does need a common language for building assessment, to recognise, encourage, and reward superior environmental performance. However, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that LEED/BEAM/BREEAM is not the only route to provide superior environmental performance, and it can be achieved without fanfare and rigid assessment tools.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/

by John A. Herbert, Consultant, Kelcroft E&M Limited
helping lower the cost and impact of doing business in Asia

LEED Green Building is not leading

This great presentation, worth the nine minutes, it raises the discussion about LEED, and green building rating systems by Mr Henry Gifford. It reminds us that LEED is a great marketing system, yet the study shows that LEED rated buildings actually use more energy than non-rated buildings.

So where do we go from here? Could LEED, or for that matter any green rating system, be the driving force for more energy efficient buildings, perhaps that is the future intention? LEED O&M is the building operating rating system, however if your building is already certified as a LEED Gold building, why would you consider another certification process?

What is needed measurement, and publication of the annual resource consumption (not only electricity and fuel, but water consumption too because cooling towers are widely used).  Once the information is in the public domain the market has the opportunity to choose the lower cost, and reduced environment impact buildings. Building responsibly choosing recycled materials, and those from sustainable resources is a key part of green building, but it is not the only metric.

John Herbert
Consultant
Kelcroft E&M Limited