LEED doesn’t end when doors open

It’s not enough for new buildings to use green practices and materials in construction—they have to keep up the good work during building operations.


Buildings that garner USGBC LEED awards for green construction don’t always maintain eco-friendly practices after the plaques go up on the lobby wall. To that end, the USGBC might require building owners to prove they’re ensuring energy savings and water conservation systems are living up to their hype.

The current LEED program fails to take into account that systems might fall short of energy-saving expectations and consume mass quantities of resources instead. As a result, LEED steering committee members are looking at altering the program so that actual building performance is taken into account.

Steering committee chair Scot Horst, president of Kutztown, Pa.-based consulting firm 7group Co., a green-building consulting company advocates re-certification, which would require LEED buildings to pass periodic tests. Under the proposal, a building still would receive its new-construction award—certified (the lowest LEED-qualified level), silver, gold, or platinum (the highest)—then some time later, the owner would report on how well the building is conserving.

Horst says he hopes it is a step that can start with a test in 2010. LEED members will vote this fall on other significant changes that would take effect next year.

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