I just passed the LEED AP test.
LEED certification has some benefits. If everyone built along the LEED standards I do think that the world would be a greener place, not so much because LEED is amazing but because people build really badly.
I also have my reservations.
The LEED certification process is a complicated and expensive bureaucracy that can be avoided through simple common sense and good ethics. LEED accreditation makes the world a much more complicated nd expensive place and who needs that. For what? A plaque on the wall?
A LEED certified house has no checks or balances to verify that it is actually energy efficient once built. In fact some excellent research by a NY local Henry Gifford has shown that LEED buildings are on average LESS efficient than normal buildings of the same standard. It seems a lot of LEED buildings were simply press strategies and they didn’t really care about the green part. Henry’s research shows that LEED has actively tried to hide this. So there are some ethical and efficiency issues that trouble me.
The LEED rebute is that they don’t want to scare people off with overly aggressive green practices. Call it green for the masses.
There is a possiblity that LEED will be implemented as a requirement for building. This has some problems. USGBC is a private organization that can change its rules when it wants and charge what it wants. It is not a governmental agency established to represent the interests of the people. If it were implemented into code they would have the power of a governmental agency without any of the regulations. Big problem.
Because of my reservations about LEED I found it very hard studying for the test and actually failed it once. But the money in the hole made me want to pass the damn thing even more.
So now I’m a LEED AP. Eco Brooklyn already had a member of its staff that was LEED qualified. I hired him for other reasons. Now Eco Brooklyn has two LEED Accredited Professionals. We are considering certifying the Green Show House (much to the horror of Henry Gifford).
Our reasons for certification are that firstly we believe we have built a LEED Platinum building without any of the energy efficiency issues. Secondly LEED has the “moral high ground” and people view it as desirable. Magazines love to mention it and home buyers like it. Both those things would be good for the green show house from a press point of view and might be a justifiable investment to help establish Eco Brooklyn as the most innovative green builder in Brooklyn.
But again, LEED in my eyes is very much a marketing tool. Eco Brooklyn builds LEED Platinum buildings and better regardless of whether LEED exists or not.
Whether we go ahead and certify the house has yet to be decided.