LEED: Minding the Gap
07:52:13 AM on 10/26/2009
Most folks know that “Mind the Gap” is European for “Watch Your Step”. More specifically, the warning points to an inherent space that exists between a mass transit vehicle and the stationary platform. The question is: What does that have to do with LEED?
Well, I would hardly consider myself much of a blogger. I still can’t imagine why anyone would want to read my thoughts on any subject. But, when it comes to LEED, you’re probably reading the same kind of stuff that I am…
- LEED is not perfect…LEED is broken…LEED is too subjective, etc.
My 2-cents-worth response: To some degree, I agree…but, LEED is evolving. While it may be far from perfect, there’s simply no better green building rating system out there. And, the USGBC membership is committed to continuous improvement. Do you recall the original version?
- LEED building projects are underperforming.
My 2-cents-worth response: I suppose it depends on how you measure “performance.” LEED is not an energy code. While this rating system weighs energy efficiency heavily, (unlike other standards) LEED drives other equally critical performance metrics (e.g. water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, building materials selection, etc.). Bottom line, building projects are built for building occupants…they should “perform” for them too.
- Who’s going to pay for these expensive sustainable building projects?
My 2-cents-worth response: We’ve been “paying” for crappy building projects for far too long (consider high utility costs, poor personnel productivity, negative environmental impacts, etc.). We’re better than this.
- LEED is on the way out.
My 2-cents-worth response: Who knows? Not me. I still can’t believe folks would prefer to type a message on a phone instead of talking on one.
I’ll leave these debates to other folks smarter than me. I think most of us would have to agree that sustainable, higher performing building projects are here to stay…and, likely to be more prevalent in the future. Shifting to a more practical question, let me ask, “What is your business doing about it?”
Architects get it. The AIA were probably the earliest adopters…and, it didn’t take long for their clients to see value in sustainable buildings. Even state and municipal codes have been mandating the change. Architectural firms (and even General Contractors) responded by building internal expertise and requiring LEED credentialing. Suppliers were challenged too. Products needed to address new demands, perform to higher levels, and be made from high recycled content materials. And, in most cases, new processes and procedures for project documentation were created. After all this time, I have two observations: For a lot of reasons I won’t take the space to explain here, the sub-contractor (in our industry, the Contract Glazier) is the most critical piece in the process…and, unfortunately, the Contact Glazier remains the least informed and equipped. Herein lies “The Gap.”
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I attended the National Glass Association’s 4th Annual Glazing Executive Conference here in Atlanta. At that event, I broached this very subject. I suggested that if the NGA, GANA, or Contract Glaziers in general wanted to streamline the process, they may want to agree on a standardized way to provide support documentation for LEED projects. I have since spoken with some NGA Board members who feel the same way. What do you think? Would there be any benefit to working together on this...or, would this initiative be a total waste of time? Looking forward to your 2-Cents-Worth…