LEED v4: Better than the LEEDs that Came Before?

Las Vegas CityCentre, a Gold complex. Image

At the annual Greenbuild International Conference in Philadelphia last week, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) finally announced the latest version of LEED. Aiming to make a larger forward step than previous versions, LEED v4 is described by Rick Fedrizzi, the CEO and president of as a “quantum leap”. But what are the key changes in the new LEED criteria, and what effect will they have? Furthermore, what problems have they yet to address? Read on to find out.

Horvitz Hall / GUND Partnership

© Brad Feinknopf

Architects: GUND Partnership
Location: , OH, USA
Architect In Charge:
Landscape Architect: David Berarducci Landscape Architecture
Area: 41500.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Brad Feinknopf

Reviving Brooklyn’s Waterfront, 19th Century Warehouses Evolve Into 21st Century Hubs

Courtesy of Studio V Architecture

After fifty years of neglect the Empire Stores, located next to the Brooklyn Bridge, are now the most coveted property in New York. Midtown Equity has partnered with Studio V Architecture to adaptively reuse the 19th-century coffee warehouse into 380,000 square-feet of office, restaurant and commercial space, highlighted by a Brooklyn-centric cultural museum. “After the Brooklyn Bridge,” says Joe Cayre, Chairman of Midtown Equities, “the Civil War era Empire Stores are the most iconic structures on the Brooklyn waterfront. As a Brooklyn native who raised my family in the borough, it is an honor for my firm to be chosen for the redevelopment of the Empire Stores.”

Learn more after the break…

What Does Being ‘Green’ Really Mean?

Rendering © Herzog & de Meuron. Image Courtesy of Perez Art Museum Miami

The term ‘’ is notoriously difficult to define, and even more so when it comes to architecture. An often overused and fashionable way of describing (or selling) new projects, ‘’ design seems to have permeated into every strand of the design and construction industries. Kaid Benfield (The Atlantic City) has put together a fascinating case study of a 1,700 dwelling housing estate near San Diego, challenging what is meant by a ‘green’ development in an attempt to understand the importance of location and transport (among other factors) in making a project truly environmentally sustainable. In a similar vein, Philip Nobel (The Times) explores how ‘green’ architecture is less about isolated structures and far more about “the larger systems in which they function”. Read the full article from Kaid Benfield here, and Philip Nobel’s full article here.

Southern States Outlaw LEED Building Standards

1315 Peachtree, in Atlanta, achieved LEED Platinum Certification. However, will newer buildings in Georgia be held to the same standards? . Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will

The US Green Building Council’s federally adopted LEED certification system has come under legislative siege with lobbyists from the timber, plastics and chemical industries crying out, “monopoly!” Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama have lead efforts to ban LEED, claiming the USGBC’s closed-door approach and narrow-minded material interests have shut out stakeholders in various industries that could otherwise aid in the sustainable construction of environmentally-sensitive buildings.

Most recently, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, slipped in a last minute amendment to both the Housing and Urban Development and appropriation bills stating no tax money may be used to require implementation of any green building certification system other than a system that:

Are LEED Skyscrapers Our Biggest Energy Hogs?

The Bank of America Building, by Cook + Fox, is Platinum. However, due to its use, it is one of the buildings that consumes the most energy in NYC. Image courtesy of Bank of America, via The New Republic.

In an excellent article for The New Republic, Sam Roudman brilliantly tackles many of the same, timely issues as Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros in “Why Green Architecture Hardly Ever Deserves the Name.” Roudman unpacks the loop-holes of LEED, most notably how it ignores a building’s intended use, which often make a building anything but at all. Read the whole article at The New Republic.

Why LEED Doesn’t Work in Rural Africa and What Will

Learning Center embellished with thousands of bottle caps; Courtesy of Charles Newman of Afritekt

Originally published on InterconOhioan and Africa-based architect Charles Newman, LEED AP discusses the pitfalls of LEED in rural Africa. Newman, who is currently working for the International Rescue Committee in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, is dedicated to the integration of sustainability in communities worldwide. Learn more about his work and travels on his blog Afritekt

While in a small southern town of the Democratic Republic of Congo in mid-2012, a colleague of mine approached me for some guidance on a large health proposal he was putting together. A portion of the grant would be earmarked for the construction of hundreds of clinics across the DR Congo, and he mentioned that the donor would be very interested in “green” building standards. Knowing that I was a LEED Accredited Professional, he began asking how we might be able to incorporate such building standards into the designs for the pending projects. I rattled off some general guidelines such as using local materials – recycled ones if available, incorporating existing infrastructure, natural ventilation, etc. He jotted down a few notes, then began to pry a little deeper. “What about the LEED point system? Could we incorporate that into our strategy?”

My response was frank: “No, not really. LEED doesn’t work here in rural Africa.”

AIA appoints Mary Ann Lazarus to lead Sustainability and Health Initiative

Haiti Orphanage and Children’s Center HOK and USHBC Partners

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed HOK’s green-building leader Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, to a consulting position as a Resident Fellow.  In this position, Lazarus will help guide and influence a program heavily based in and health as the AIA implements its ten-year pledge to the Decade of Design: Global Urban Solutions Challenge, a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.  The purpose of the commitment is to document, envision and implement solutions that leverage the design of urban environments through research, community participation, and design frameworks.  It is a commitment based in the interest of public health with special attention to the use of natural, economic, and human resources.

More about Mary Ann Lazarus’s work and future at the AIA after the break.

City Protocol to Set Standards for Smart Cities

Courtesy of City Protocol

 

Similar to what LEED did for buildings, City Protocol promises to do for cities. The first system for smart cities, due to come out in April 2013,  is being developed with the guidance of over 30 organizations. It will provide a framework for designing systems in a model that integrates the vast number of elements that contribute to urban development. This global thinking expands upon the goals of the LEED certification system, which provides a more isolated, building specific agenda for architects.

More about the City Protocal Certification Program after the break.

Where is LEED Leading Us?…And Should We Follow?

CityCenter, a LEED Gold Building in Las Vegas, demonstrates the irony of a LEED Certified, sustainable, building in the unsustainable context of the desert.

At this point, it’s fairly uncontroversial to say that the Earth is under siege. From us, from our resource-consuming ways, ultimately, from our thoughtlessness.

Design is not just a catch-phrase, but a mindset. As Architects, implementing the principles of Design means putting thoughtfulness back into our actions, conscientiously considering our built environment, and reversing the havoc we have wreaked on our resources.

To do that, we need to know what Green Design means, and be able to evaluate what it is and isn’t. Using Earth Day as our excuse then, let’s examine the single most influential factor on the future of Green Design: LEED.

To its credit, LEED has moved a mountain: it has taken the “mysticism” out of Green Design and made Big Business realize its financial benefits, incentivizing and legitimizing it on a grand scale.

But as LEED gains popularity, its strength becomes its weakness; it’s becoming dangerously close to creating a blind numbers game, one that, instead of inspiring innovative, forward-looking design, will freeze us in the past.

Read the 10 Pros & Cons of LEED, after the break…

Exemplar of Sustainable Architecture: 1315 Peachtree / Perkins+Will

After – Courtesy of

Understanding that environmental responsibility is an integral part of design excellence, Perkins + Will’s new Atlantic office, known as 1315 Peachtree, serves as an example on how current technologies can be used to achieve LEED Platinum , meet the 2030 Challenge and help reduce toxic materials from our building products.

1315 Peachtree is an adaptive reuse of a 1985 office structure transformed into a high performance civic-focused building. Located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta across from the High Museum of Art, the new building continues to house the Peachtree Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library and introduces a new street-level tenant space occupied by the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). The Perkins+Will Atlanta office occupies the top four floors with office space for up to 240 employees. Continue reading for more information on the highest LEED score building in the Northern Hemisphere.

Emigration Canyon Residence / Sparano + Mooney Architecture

© Dustin Aksland

Architect: Sparano + Mooney Architecture
Location: , Utah (Emigration Canyon)
Project Year: 2009
Project Area: 2,700SqFt
Contractor: Benchmark Modern
Photography: Dustin Aksland

   

Y. S. Sun Green Building Research Center Receives Top Awards

© www.robaid.com

The Y.S Sun Green Building Research Center at National Kung University in Taiwan has recently been awarded top honors by the USGBC, in addition to receiving the Taiwan Ecology, Waste Reduction and Health Diamond from the Ministry of Interior. The three-story 4800 square meter building utilizes 13 different building techniques in order to achieve a 65% energy savings and a 50% water savings over typical office buildings.

Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center / Line and Space

© Robert Reck

Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Location: , Nevada
Completion Date: 2011
Project Area: 52, 700SqFt
Client: US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Contractor: Straub Construction
Structural Engineer: Holben, Martin, and White Consulting Structural Engineers
Civil Engineer: GLHN Architects and Engineers
Exhibit/Interpretive Consultant: Hilferty and Associates
Photography: Robert Reck, Henry Tom

   

Whitehorse / DesignBuildBLUFF Studio

©

Architect: DesignBuildBLUFF Studio
Location: Navajo Reservation,
Project Year: 2009
Client: Suzie Whitehorse
Photography: Design Build BLUFF Studio

   

Tempe Transportation Center / Architekton

© Bill Timmerman, Architekton, A.F. Payne Photography, Otak, Skip

Architect: Architekton
Location: ,
Project Year: 2008
Project Cost: $18.9M
Client: City of Tempe
Photography: Bill Timmerman, A.F. Payne Photographic, Architekton, Otak, Skip Neeley

   

Cesar Chavez Library / Line and Space

© Bill Timmerman

Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Location: Phoenix,
Project Year: 2008
Project Size: 25,000 SqFt
Client: City of Phoenix
Contractor: Linthicum Constructors Inc.
Structural Engineer: Caruso Turley Scott
Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: Energy Systems Design
Landscape Architect: McGann and Associates
Photography: Bill Timmerman, Henry Tom 

   

331 Foothill Road Office Building / Ehrlich Architects

© RMA Architectural Photographers

Architect: Ehrlich Architects
Location: Beverly Hills,
Project Year: 2009
Client: City of Beverly Hills
Contractor: Bayley Construction
Structural Engineer: John A. Martin & Associates Inc.
MEP Engineer: IBE Consulting Engineer
Civil Engineer: KPFF
Landscape Design: LRM Inc.
Acoustic Consultant: Schaffer Acoustics Inc.
Lighting Consultant: HLB Lighting Design
Cost Estimation: C.P. O’Halloran Associates
Specifications: CSI Specifications
Photography: RMA Architectural Photographers