Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

Long term sustainability concerns

Here is an interesting article for you to read and think about the implications of the content.  From the NY Times, “Some Buildings Not Living Up to Green Label” discusses a LEED Certified building that is not energy efficient in the long-term. In the article the issue is explained as,

It has LEED certification, the country’s most recognized seal of approval for green buildings.

But the building is hardly a model of energy efficiency. According to an environmental assessment last year, it did not score high enough to qualify for the Energy Star label granted by the Environmental Protection Agency, which ranks buildings after looking at a year’s worth of utility bills.

The article also states,

Some experts have contended that the seal should be withheld until a building proves itself energy efficient, which is the cornerstone of what makes a building green, and that energy-use data from every rated building should be made public.

“The plaque should be installed with removable screws,” said Henry Gifford, an energy consultant in New York City. “Once the plaque is glued on, there’s no incentive to do better.”

This is such a great point and I know David J. asked in class if a building can lose the LEED rating. As of right now, no a building can not lose the rating. But if situations like the one discussed in this article continue then YES, I am sure we will see change in how to be certified and how to maintain that certification over the long term or life cycle.

There are two things from this that for you as soon to be professionals to consider: (1) How important it is for you leave behind project manuals on how to maintain sustainability when you finish the install of a design job, and (2) How much work needs to be done in the industry to establish quality and successful sustainable principles.

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Filed under: Sustainable Design

2 Responses

  1. Katherine Platzer says:

    I feel like this is something that should have been address in the beginning. It is unconscionable that this building was built to LEED and the current environment/community is not supporting it!
    Manuals should definitely have been made and the users should have been aware. Crazy!

  2. Laura M. says:

    I agree with the article. Many older Energy Star products from 2008, 2007, and so on, no longer qualify under Energy Star Standards. Stores can still sell them as Energy star, but they will no longer qualify. Products that are introduced as “green” initially are put in homes and at the time are considered to be energy efficient. These products can later lose their certification. I think that as time goes, homes will have a gradually higher energy saving percentage and then no longer qualify as energy efficient. There should be a longer process to consider a building to be LEED certified, but the downfall is that someone looking to buy a LEED certified home will not know initially if the home qualifies.

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