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 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.
Electric motor power measurement and analysis: Understand the basics to drive greater efficiency; Selecting the right control chart; Linear position sensors gain acceptance
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

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.