Friday once again, and time for this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post. I wasn’t going to write about this, but the biggest ‘green’ news of late seems to be the class action suit filed in the US against the USGBC and their LEED certification; after reading the articles and comments surrounding both sides of the issue, I must admit I don’t understand the suitability of this case. The basis of the suit, as I understand it, is that the plaintiff feels that the USGBC is overselling their LEED standard and not paying enough attention to other ‘green’ standards. That may not be entirely accurate, but I believe it’s close enough. Is it ‘true’? Truth is a complicated word, often dependent on perspective; as the saying goes, history books are written by the winners. Are LEED-certified buildings more efficient than buildings constructed to other standards or to no standards at all? That question I can’t answer and is one that could probably only be answered on an individual basis. My post last Friday focused on the world’s first certified ‘living buildings’. So far as I know, the Living Building Challenge offers the most stringent building certification strategy currently in existence. At the same time, it’s not for everyone, and I’ve never been an advocate of any one or any system that seeks to build itself up by putting others down.
However, those aren’t the fundamental questions to me. Is the LEED system flawed? That’s possibly a better question, and if LEED is flawed, how can it be improved? Does LEED measure energy efficiency, and if so, does it do it well? What other factors are involved in achieving LEED standards, aside from energy efficiency? If the lower levels of certification, say LEED and LEED Silver aren’t stringent enough, should they be dropped in favour of more stringent qualifications? Given the costs involved in achieving a certfication for a building, at what point do the achieved improvements fail to account for the costs involved? Again, that can probably only be answered on an individual basis.
Perhaps the best question is, will the LEED standard be improved by spending hours and possibly years of time in various courtrooms and by spending (?) millions of dollars in fees and other costs that won’t be used in improving LEED (or anything else)? As I said at the beginning of this post, while I think I have some understanding of the basis for this suit, I fail to see the suitability of seeking such answers in court. In the end, perhaps it comes down to the motivation behind it. Some would label it as political, others as frustration, some as a simple ‘money grab’, some may call it a plea to be heard. William McDonough asks, “How do we love all the children of all species for all time?” To me, if the desired result is to continue to move ourselves and our planet toward celebrating this way of being, personally I don’t see this suit as achieving that aim. Others are certainly welcome to disagree. As I said to a friend recently, can you imagine a world where the worst we can do is agree to disagree, while still respecting each other and ourselves?
Okay, the links for this week include:
- The Elusive Small-House Utopia
- ROOTED DESIGN FOR ROUTED LIVING. Alternative Design Strategies. (exhibition at CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland)
- Top 6 Life-Saving Designs for Clean Drinking Water
- Sustainability and security of the global food supply chain (.pdf)
- Poll showcases need for improved sustainability communications
- Guardian Sustainable Business (GSB) and a better future
- 5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Care about Sustainability
- CSR goes ‘glocal’
- CSR and the City
- What’s shaping CSR in Asia
- The rise of sustainable investing for institutions
- FASHION and LANDFILL
- Google Buys Significant Stake In Atlantic Wind Power Project
- An Unlikely Hero: Wal Mart Supports Sustainable, Local Food
- CSR Efforts: The slow greening of Wal-Mart
- CSR and making retail therapy more sustainable
- Green Rankings: Global Companies
- Climate Prosperity: A Canadian Initiative
- Open Planet Ideas: On Concepting
- HudBay Minerals Releases 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility Report
- Simmons Kids Crib Mattresses Achieve Greenguard Certifications
- GREENGUARD Contest Helps You Provide Clean, Non-Toxic Indoor Air for Your Child
- USGBC: Climate Adaptation & the Built Environment: Tools & Resources for Success
- We can do no wrong – or can we?
- From bees to coral reefs: How humans impact partnerships in the natural world
- Green Doesn’t Always Mean Non-Toxic
- What constitutes an effective corporate volunteering program?
- NALMCO Announces Lighting Industry’s First Sustainability Certification
- Evaluating LED Technology
- Moving On: Thriving in Tough Times
- ShowGreen TV II Student Film Challenge
- US EPA: Partnership for Sustainable Communities (.pdf)
- LEED Certified Forest City Opens This Week in SF’s Presidio
- Build This!
- The Green Vanguard: H is for Health Care
- New sensor derived from frogs may help fight bacteria and save wildlife
- Creative thinkers wanted: Open Planet Ideas calls for your input on how technology can help preserve our planet’s resources (video)
- ILBI: Living City Design Competition
- Living Future 2011/a> April 27 – 29, 2011, Vancouver, BC
- CPAWS News
- Responsible Travel Report: The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter
- Social Venture Network News
- Spray Polyurethane Foams (.pdf)
- Sustainability in Masonry Construction (webinar, Nov. 9, 2010)
- Greenroofs.com Projects – William Penn Charter School
- Study Looks at Heat Island Effect in Oklahoma City
- LEEDUser: LEED News – RPc1 Bonus Points Now for International Projects
- Planet Green
- BuildingGreen Email News Bulletin
- (Astro)Turf Wars Oct. 25, 2010, Washington, DC
- Green Building Advisor News
- Cascadia Green Building Council News: British Columbia
- Natural Resources Canada: RETScreen International Software Update
- CaGBC eBlast
- Sustainable Facility eNews
- BASF Construction: Upcoming Courses
- inhabitat weekly news
- Big Land, Big Opportunity: Smart Land Use in the Fight Against Climate Change
Okay, that’s it for now. Have a great week!
P.S. Looking for some happier news? Try Happy News!