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.
Should we adopt a goal of ALL BUILDINGS net zero energy by 2050, as advocated by the World Green Building Council? Wouldn't it be far cheaper, faster and more feasible instead to focus on 100% renewable energy for entire countries by 2050? That would make all buildings effectively "net zero," wouldn't it?
Big news last week: A USGBC press release reported a new academic study that shows that LEED-certified homes in Texas sell for 8% more, equivalent to about $25,000, and that all “green-certified” homes sell for a 6% premium, equivalent to about $19,000 more. Turns out, there’s more than a few shades of gray to the conclusions in the report.
New LEED project certifications in the US fell 9% in the first half of 2017 compared with 2016, showing once again that the system is in dire trouble, as more project teams see no reason to put up with the cost and hassle of LEED, unless clients demand the certification plaque. Is this the beginning of the end for widespread use of LEED in the US?
New LEED project registrations in the US fell 75% in the first half of 2017 compared with 2016, showing once again that the system is in dire trouble, as more project teams see no reason to put up with the cost and hassle of LEED, unless the clients demand the certification plaque. Is this the beginning of the end for widespread use of LEED in the US?
In its first three years on the market, LEEDv4 registered less than 5% of all new LEED projects, with the balance going to the cheaper and easier-to-understand LEED 2009. This does not bode well for the future of new project registrations, now that LEEDv4 is the only LEED system available for project registrations.
LEED project certifications in commercial interiors increased in 2016 after falling in 2014 and 2015. Retail project certifications also increased. Still, both totals are very small compared to the huge size of both 86 billion sq.ft. of nonresidential floor space and 1.1 million retail buildings.