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Beyond LEED – Greenbuild 2011

Posted in Blog on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 2:17 pm No Comments
Beyond LEED – Greenbuild 2011

“Ones vision is only limited by one horizon” and so started one of the Master Speaker series at this years Greenbuild, The US Green Building Council’s annual convention in Toronto. The speaker was Tom Palladino, one of the original developers of the LEED program and he was describing how when LEED was originally developed the global issues were less critical than the world we find ourseleves in today. One of the primary drivers in the late 90’s was the Kyoto protocals and lowering of carbon emissions. Since that time, the global issues have become much bigger with strong, progressive stressors in the world. As a result, LEED has gotten to a level of complexity that makes LEED not as nimble as it was in it’s original form. LEED is now 300,000 words (give or take a few thousand in different rating systems). Tom’s point is that we need to find a way to make LEED more elegant and simpler to institute and measure and that we need to redefine what winning is for green buildings. As he put it, it is not having the will to win, since most of all have that, but having the will to do what it takes to win.

The Living Building Challenge, or as its tagline defines it, “the worlds most stringent green building rating system” was presented by the ever forward-thinking Jason McLennan of Cascadia. For those of you who have not had an opportunity to see what LBC entails and what is possible in green buildings I encourage you to dig deeper and see what Jason calls our “Beacons of Hope” in the built environment. What is find so fascinating about Living Buildings is its elegant simplicity. You can read the entire rating system in about 30 minutes and see how simple it is. While very aggressive it is easy to comprehend. While LEED requires most buildings to be 10% more efficient than ASHRAE 90.1 and requires you to prove that by doing very expensive and complicated energy model. The end result is you have answer that less than 2% of the population can really comprehend. IN a Living Building you simply need to be net zero and show that by presenting one years worth of utility bills that show you use less energy than you produce. That, I could explain to most of the population.

There are currently a little over 100 buildings being built to the LBC standard. Sort of reminds me of LEED 10 years ago…