Green building has a significant credibility problem. While the world is awash in green building "eco-labels" and while these have significant credibility in the commercial building marketplace, conspicuously missing are any serious studies of the actual performance of green buildings. This issue has been highlighted since at least 2010, but none of the leading green building councils has yet to commission such a study.
What is the real contribution of LEED buildings to reducing US greenhouse gas emissions? Some recent tweets cite a 2011 study that estimates nearly a 2% reduction by 2020. In my analysis, the actual number is more like 0.3%, only about one-sixth of the projection from six years ago. This makes LEED (and to some degree green building) far less important than many of us had assumed. Take a look, decide for yourself and let me know what you think!
Are Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings technically feasible in the United States? A recent article by Charles Eley casts doubt on the goal of making all new buildings "zero net" with onsite solar by 2030 and all buildings, new and old, by 2050. Our best bet for the buildings sector is utility-scale solar and wind power, coupled with "ultra low energy" new buildings AND massive retrofits of existing buildings.
The one book the green building movement needs to read...
Reinventing Green Building is a unique insider’s critique of why certified green buildings are failing to provide large-scale carbon reduction. It is a potent vision for the future that the green building industry needs NOW.