LEED and the Green Building Revolution

“Green building now accounts for nearly one-third of new construction in the U.S. That’s up from 2 percent in 2005.”

So says NPR, which last week proposed a two-part inquiry into the recent rise of green building and the not-so-incidental growth of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), whose point based metric for determining the environmental efficiency of structures has become the new criterion in green design.

Proponents of LEED argue that its very existence “pull[s] the market green,” which is to say that it stimulates the demand for greener buildings, increases the availability of green materials and makes possible more eco-friendly construction methods.

Critics question whether the LEED system of evaluation, which certifies buildings before energy savings are proved, is truly helping the environment. Yeang, of “Ecodesign” notoriety, might bemoan the “illusory vision of technological salvation,” or “ecogadget architecture” that LEED encourages. One might also question the ethics of privatizing a cause – the health of the environment – that is, at its core, a global moral concern which belongs above the fray of commerce.

Whatever one’s views on LEED, the entry of green design into the public forum is something to celebrate.

    • justin hershberger
    • September 28th, 2010

    many would argue – including me – that leed is simply a marketing tool in many cases. currently, if you have the money and desire, it’s easy to make some simple modifications to a crap design and attain leed silver, if not better.

    it’s hard to deny that they are making the system better though. it used to be easier to be leed certified than to get a driver’s license. that’s changing, and hopefully the standards will change with it.

    i wish that leed didn’t need to exist – isn’t green design a subcategory of good design? unfortunately not everyone agrees, so until then…..

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