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Friday, August 7, 2009

LEED in Pittsburgh

Lots of people call LEED-certification a scam (in the same boat as "USDA Certified Organic" foods.) The process to get your building certified is expensive, arduous and long. It also sometimes misses the point:

"In LEED, you need 26 of 69 possible points to get certified, and all points are weighted equally, even though some have far greater environmental benefits than others."

That translates to a bike rack being the same value as a million dollar HVAC system. Which do you think developers are choosing to install?

At the same time, LEED is what we've got. A bike rack is better than nothing. And the program is popular. There are now over 100,000 certified LEED professionals. This Spring, 11 architects from downtown Pittsburgh firm, Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goetell (PWWG), hopped on the bandwagon and achieved certification. It's a lot easier to build an LEED-certified building when you have an LEED-certified architect designing it.

"Most architects can already design green, but LEED-certification is a good marketing tool," says Anne J. Swager, Hon. AIA, executive director of AIA Pittsburgh.

Congratulations to PWWG for making Pittsburgh a greener place, at least in the eyes of marketers. In a city that's historically suffered in marketing itself, this is a good green step in the right direction.


Smith said...

I appreciate the labor you have put in developing this blog. Nice and informative.

infra said...

An important dialogue is happening right now at www.InfrastructureUSA.org about all infrastructure topics - including energy and environmental reform. View reports by the Regional Plan Association and New York Building Congress. Read exclusive interviews with with Senator Robert Menendez and David Walker, former US Comptroller General in the The Infra Blog. Share your perspective today!

n'at said...

To me the oddity with LEED is that over the past ten or so years, LEED has provided a broad, well documented compendium of data in favor of and a means to institute life-cycle cost analyses and employ lesser known, recycled, and user-friendly building materials and methodologies. However, the ultimate goal of the LEED system, apparently, is to achieve a measure of success seemingly disconnected and unrelated to the construction, energy use and user health benefits by hanging a big medal in the lobby.

Buildings designed and constructed with leadership in energy and environmental design in mind are safe and efficient machines both during construction and once the keys are turned over to the client.

well managed indoor air quality, reduced landfill waste with increased recycling of building materials, efficient energy consumption, well informed and communicative construction managers, along with primary and subcontractors: these are key characteristics that every project must have. It makes good business sense to achieve and maintain them through the project and the life of the building. Unfortunately, it doesn't make sense to follow through with the certification process, IMHO.

geothermalcontractor said...

This was extremely informative. I had no idea that a bike rack was the same amount of points as an HVAC system! You'd think that people would be a little more smart about this. What can we expect? They're politicians.