Green Building Standards Pass up Golden Opportunities
GREENBUILD-- Every building is different, and the US Green Building Council is working hard to establish LEED standards that apply fairly to all kinds of buildings. Would a more fluid, flexible system be more effective at encouraging green building?
November 15, 2007
Among existing buildings there are historic buildings, buildings with no access to gas for heat, and city-imposed constraints on exterior features, to name just a few of the obstacles to LEED certification.
At Greenbuild I was talking with an architect about whether USGBC should consider a more fluid rating system that steps away from rigid checklists and takes into account the real possibilities for each building.
Evaluating every candidate in this way would swamp the Council's staff. Automation is the key. With a system like Autodesk's latest concept, this would be entirely possible. USGBC could create a custom rating standard for each candidate, in real time.
Philadelphia's Comcast Center: Liberty incorporated a grand entrance to Suburban Station into the design of the main public plaza. (Liberty photo)
If access to mass transit is worth equal points to any building, then what incentive did LEED give to owner Liberty Property Trust for turning the ground floor into an inviting public transportation facility? Should the building have received any transit points if it didn't take advantage of its unique location to encourage occupants from nearby buildings to commute by train?
If this idea has legs, few vendors have sufficiently close relationships with USGBC to co-develop the software tools and standards to make it work. Autodesk, Adobe and SAP have the inside track. The need for more choices will depend in part on the vendors' altruism and how that translates into pricing for members. (Systems like Adobe LiveCycle run upwards of $40,000, but in the case of LEED PDF forms submission it appears that USGBC foots the bill.)
When asked at Greenbuild whether Autodesk's eventual dashboard product would be open source, their VP of Industry Strategy and Relations said, "never -- not going to happen."
As for Comcast Center and Suburban Station -- The building is under construction and topped off as of this writing. At Greenbuild, John Gattuso of Liberty showed a grand entrance to Suburban Station incorporated into the design of the building's main public plaza. John didn't discuss how many points the building achieved for the feature. The building is a candidate for LEED Certification.
More on Greenbuild 2007.