The Skyscraper at the Heart of the Debate Over America's Green Building Standard

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Guardian (11/06/12) Watson, Bruce

One Bryant Park in Manhattan was the first skyscraper awarded LEED Platinum certification and has become the focus of the debate over LEED as a green building system. There are 13.8 billion square feet of LEED-certified building space globally, and many governments provide incentives and tax breaks for LEED buildings. LEED co-founder Rick Fedrizzi used a market-driven approach to promoting LEED, based on his prior experience as director of environmental marketing for Carrier, in which he used stickers to promote the improved energy efficiency of the company's air conditioners. Fedrizzi's initial foray into green labeling became instantly popular with the trade press. LEED has now become mainstream practice, with five separate rating systems. New products, programs, materials, and services have been developed for the green building market in response to LEED standards. However, One Bryant Park has critics, who note its high-energy usage. Others say LEED should have a consistent energy standard such as the PassivHaus system, instead of only showing an improvement over a highly inefficient building. Critics also say LEED does not adjust its rating system to account for geographical differences, so transportation credits, for example, are not available to rural areas and easily gained in urban areas. Nonetheless, even critics acknowledge LEED's contributions to stimulating sustainability in the building industry through public awareness and consumer marketing.

Bruce Watson 11/13/2015

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