Reform the LEED process

The U.S. Green Building Council recently released proposed versions of its LEED rating systems, collectively called LEED 2009. Use of the LEED system has grown tremendously, and is expected to accelerate as local and state government agencies pass resolutions requiring LEED certification for both public and private projects.

07/01/2008


The U.S. Green Building Council recently released proposed versions of its LEED rating systems, collectively called LEED 2009. Use of the LEED system has grown tremendously, and is expected to accelerate as local and state government agencies pass resolutions requiring LEED certification for both public and private projects.

However, LEED 2009 is not a new version of LEED. It is intended to be a much needed and long overdue reorganization of LEED. LEED 2009 aims to provide consistency by aligning requirements and documentation across the various LEED rating systems, such as New Construction and Major Renovations, and Commercial Interiors.

The advantage to users, designers, engineers, owners, and contractors is obvious: Learn the rules once, and apply them to any LEED project regardless of what LEED system is used. But a much bigger fix is required: Reform the LEED certification review process.

Have you ever wondered why many of the LEED submittals requirements and calculations seem more complicated than they need to be? Why the LEED reference guides are sometimes unclear, leaving it up to the project team to figure out what to do, or to seek out a special LEED consultant to help?

The consultants who develop LEED reference guides are the same consultants who certify LEED projects. And these same consultants also are hired on projects seeking certification—an obvious conflict of interest. It's human nature, and good business practice, to give yourself an edge. For example, you can make your competitors charge more to complete a project, by making them jump through unnecessary hoops to cover the cost of the extra work they are forced to do. The harder the requirements are to understand, then the higher the fee that can be charged when selling consulting services.

In an effort to address this problem, USGBC is spinning off the LEED certification work to a subsidiary called the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). However, GBCI and USGBC share the same physical address, and the upper management remains the same for the two entities. USGBC is still responsible for LEED, its requirements, and the certification process.

True reform could be assisted greatly by the following recommendations: First, the consulting companies that sell LEED certification services should not be allowed to develop LEED documentation requirements. Second, companies that are contracted to adjudicate LEED submittals should not be allowed to review the submittals of their competitors. And finally, USGBC-hired consultants should not be allowed to sell their services as LEED project consultants, while they also are paid as reviewers of those projects completed by their competitors.

The certification review consultants need to work directly as employees for the new GBCI entity. This would reduce the conflict-of-interest problem, and the many troubles the USGBC knows it has with the certification review process that is now in place.

LEED has grown up enough for truly independent consultants to perform the certification reviews. It's time for the USGBC to take this step and get it done.


Author Information

Miranda has managed sustainability for more than 100 LEED projects, including four certified Platinum and eight Gold. He has served as vice chair of the LEED Indoor Environmental Quality Group, on the LEED Commercial Interiors Core Committee, and as a member of the AIA Top 10 Green Buildings Committee.




No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Improving flowmeter calibration; Selecting flowmeters for natural gas; Case study: Streamlining assembly systems using PC-based control; CLPM: Improving process efficiency, throughput
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me