Is It Time For the Anti-LEED?

seems to prioritize “Gizmo Green solutions” such as the photovoltaic panels on Ronald Lu and Partners’ Zero Carbon Building. Image © Ronald Lu and Partners

Steve Mouzon, a principal of Studio Sky and Mouzon Design, is an architect, urbanist, author, and photographer from Miami. He founded the New Urban Guild, which hosts Project:SmartDwelling. The Guild’s non-profit affiliate is the Guild Foundation, which hosts the Original Green initiative

The LEED rating systems were a great idea in the beginning, but they have become a symbol of all that is wrong with green building today. Getting a LEED rating is slow, difficult, and expensive, and the rating is skewed heavily to Gizmo Green solutions that are completely ignorant of where the building is being built, and for whom. We need the opposite sort of system today: one that is intelligent about where a building is built and who it’s being built for, and that is fast, friendly, and free so that anyone can use it.

The Green Building Wars

The Clinton Presidential Center by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates received a rating of Two from the GBI. But would LEED have rated it the same? Image © Timothy Hursley

Originally published by Metropolis Magazine, this comprehensive analysis by sustainability expert Lance Hosey examines the current disputes within the green building industry, where market leader LEED currently finds competition from the Living Building Challenge, aiming for the “leading edge” of the market, and the Green Globes at the other end of the scale. Arguing for a more holistic understanding of what makes sustainable, Hosey examines the role that , and material industries such as the timber and chemical industries, can have in directing the aims and principles of these three sustainability rating systems – for better or for worse.

LEED v4: Better than the LEEDs that Came Before?

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 USGBC 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.

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 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 Department of Transportation appropriation bills stating no tax money may be used to require implementation of any green building certification system other than a system that:

USGBC Announces Grant from Google to Accelerate the Advancement of Green Materials

Greenbuild, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building has commenced in San Francisco with an interesting announcement from the main stage. Google has granted $3 million to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in an effort to transform the building industry and accelerate the creation of healthier indoor environments.

“Healthy, non-toxic building materials are a critical component in green building,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “Fostering awareness of the materials we put into our buildings is of paramount importance, since many materials can link to a host of environmental and health issues. Working with Google enables us to broaden our efforts in the materials industry as we prepare for the next version of the green building program, v4. This updated rating system will paint a more complete picture of materials and products, enabling project teams to make more informed decisions.”

More after the break…

Zuellig Building / SOM

© Marty Llagan

SOM recently shared with us their new tower located in Manila’s Makati Central Business District that has been shortlisted for a 2012 MIPIM Asia award. Rising 33 stories to height of 160 meters, the Zuellig Building is the first premium office tower in the to be erected since 2000. It is also the first building in Makati that has been pre-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council () at the LEED Gold level, and is expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification by September 2013. More details after the break.

International Green Construction Code Announced with Widespread Support

Courtesy of International Green Construction Code

Late last month the AIA announced that it is in support of the International Green Construction Code (lgCC) which will be a guide and model that helps architects and builders design buildings that conserve energy and move to a sustainable design strategy. The AIA is part of a long list of supporters which include , the and the Illuminating Engineering Society. For architecture and engineering, this is a step in the right direction. This provides designers with a tool that makes responsible design less cryptic by offering solutions for energy saving strategies.

More on this after the break.

Green Building and Climate Resilience: A Report by the U.S. Green Building Council + University of Michigan

Urban Science Center / SMP Architects; Photo © Halkin Photography

As many of us have already realized, sustainable design contributes to an awareness of environmental patterns and thereby creates communities that are more resilient to the devastating effects of the natural disasters that we have seen across the globe in recent months.  Many people have accepted the cause and effect relationship that exists between current practices – those that pollute water and food sources, strip minerals, disturb fault linesand throw off ecosystems – with the rapidly increasing changes in climate.  For those that do not, U.S. Green Building Council and the  released this report:  Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions, which addresses pre- and post-emergency management situations while stressing a consciousness about the environment and ways in which to design and build communities that are physically and structurally prepared for natural disasters.

More on this report after the break.

Guidelines on How to Build a Healthy School

The United States Green Building Council‘s (USGBC) Center for Green Schools, started by the Chapter, is behind the transformation of the educational system in this country through the introduction of high performance schools and facilities. It all starts with providing an environment for learning focusing on health, education and the responsible use of funds, which are “the three major concerns that the school system struggles with”, says Laura Turdel Seydel – Chair of the Captain Planet Foundation.  The fundamentals are simple and are the typical goals of the Board of Education.  But this initiative, which is a coalition between some of the top educational and environmental associations in the country, does this by focusing on where students are learning and that means updating the technology of our schools.

Join us after the break for more.

USGBC and AIA announce second Architecture for Humanity Sustainability Design Fellow

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announce Burtland Granvil, AIA, LEED AP as the new Architecture for Humanity Sustainability Design Fellow. Succeeding the first Sustainability Design Fellow, Stacey McMahan, AIA, LEED AP, Granvil will be working directly with the Haitian community at the Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding center based in .

“The earthquake didn’t take as many lives as the poor quality of construction did,” said Granvil. “Architecture for Humanity’s Rebuilding Center in will help educate and build together with local current and future builders of …this is the main reason why I joined Architecture for Humanity. I am here with others to work on the long-term approach. , as well as other post disaster areas, can benefit from this kind of transitional office with this mindset.”

USGBC partners with HOK to design Haiti Orphanage and Children’s Center

Aerial © HOK

Marking the two year anniversary of the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, we would like to share with you the important efforts of Project Haiti – a Platinum orphanage and children’s center that is planned to be built in Port au Prince, Haiti. The project is lead by the United States Green Building Council () and their official pro-bono design partner, HOK. Project Haiti not only focuses on the children, but also aims to create a “replicable, resilient model for rebuilding” that may serve as a practical teaching tool for the local community. The USGBC motto states, “Every story about green building is a story about people.”

New Commitments for Environmental Transparency

© 2010 2030, Inc. / Architecture 2030

An increasing trend towards sustainable construction within the building industry has resulted in a steady stream of “green” products into the marketplace. It is not uncommon to see products labeled with numerous claims that are certified by previously unheard of governing bodies. Industry leaders recently gathered in at Greenbuild to focus on avenues to increase the transparency of such claims made in the marketplace, and develop an integrated information source to reduce confusion and increase reliability.

© 2010 2030, Inc. / Architecture 2030

Some of the players that are beginning to influence the conversation include the US Green Building Council and the US Forest Service, both of whom are advocates for increased regulation and standardization of Environmental Product Declarations. Architecture 2030 has also introduced a new initiative aimed at the reduction of dependency of fossil fuels in the building life cycle,  reductions in greenhouse gas embodies products, and an overall reduction in energy consumption to carbon-neutral by 2030. With the latest update to the AIA 2030 Commitment, these new initiatives mark an increasing awareness of the overall building life cycle costs and their impact on our environments.

Emigration Canyon Residence / Sparano + Mooney Architecture

© Dustin Aksland

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

   

Green Ribbon Schools Initiative Launched

© U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education has recently launched its initiative. The program is aimed at fostering the growth of sustainable indoor and outdoor environments in addition to promoting the integration of environmental curricula into the education stream.

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 , in addition to receiving the Taiwan Ecology, Waste Reduction and Health Diamond Certification from the Ministry of Interior. The three-story 4800 square meter building utilizes 13 different sustainable 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: Las Vegas,
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, , A.F. Payne Photography, Otak, Skip

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