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Posts tagged Shari Shapiro.

The recent New York Times piece criticizing LEED (discussed previously) has reignited discussion of the potential for decertification after initial issuance of LEED certification. Some previously pointed to the USGBC addition of extended energy reporting for five years after occupancy as a "Minimum Performance Requirement" and the threat of decertification as an enforcement mechanism.  More recently, commentators have predicted recertification programs.  Rich Cartlidge even called for a wedding between LEED for New Construction and LEED for Existing Buildings.

The USGBC changes must be viewed against the backdrop of the development of international, state and local building codes and even Congressional legislation.  Codified efficiency standards would clearly and immediately raise the minimum energy bar across the board and reduce or eliminate some of the arguments raised by the Times article.  Reducing compliance to clear codes may also reduce in part the increasingly complex interface between local authorities interpreting prescriptive codes and the interpretive voluntary third party organization subject to little if any legal challenge or appeal (commented on previously by Chris Hill).   LEED as a voluntary tool has succeeded in driving the dialogue and advancing knowledge of green building.  LEED as a remotely delegated code interpretative structure with limited avenues of legal challenge is far more complicated.

The legal blogosphere has been active the last two weeks with discussion of the recent article in the New York Times critical of LEED. The article in essence uses the example project of the Federal Building in Youngstown, Ohio as a sample for LEED projects that fail to be "green". The Times in particular attacks the actual energy performance of a specific project as an example of why the LEED certified project is not in fact green. Reaction has been varied, from Shari Shapiro pointing out these discussions have been in the mix for some time  to an impassioned, relatively emotional, reaction from Rob Watson, a board member of USGBC and significant national player in the green movement.  Chris Cheatham has pointed out for discussion the interplay between green building success on the one hand and risk associated with projects receiving funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Before we move on to the bigger picture, the article deserves the specific focus on the example project, called by the Times the "Federal Building", but more properly known as the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building and US Courthouse (Youngstown, OH).