27 October 2010

Lawsuit Against LEED

Henry Gifford, owner of Gifford Fuel Saving has filed a lawsuit against the USGBC. I think many professionals who have dealt with LEED Certification for buildings would agree with the general arguments of the case:

...The suit alleges that USGBC’s claim that it verifies efficient design and construction is “false and intended to mislead the consumer and monopolize the market for energy-efficient building design.”

... the NBI study makes the case that LEED buildings are, on average, 25%–30% more efficient than the national average, Gifford published his own analysis in 2008 concluding that LEED buildings are, on average, 29% less efficient. ..

... Gifford is respected in energy efficiency circles for his technical knowledge. He told EBN that he has lost out because owners are fixated on earning LEED points, and he doesn’t participate: “Unless you’re a LEED AP you're not going to get work.” That’s unfair, he claims, because while USGBC says that its product saves energy, it doesn’t. Gifford says that his services actually save energy, and he’s prepared to prove it by sharing energy bills from buildings he has worked on.

... “the green label gives the designer, the developer, the contractor and the owner the right to hold a press conference staying that their building is energy-efficient, while the LEED system guarantees anonymity” when it comes to reporting actual energy use.

... he's hoping to make the green building movement more honest so that it’s not embarrassed down the road.

Henry Gifford's personal website


prolix21 said...

I've gotta agree that most of LEED is cosmetic, especially when you're looking at LEED silver. I live in a LEED silver building in the gateway quarter and everyone in the building has excessively high power bills. Our LEED score sheet is full of points awarded for using mulch instead of grass, or having drought sustainable plantings, and bike racks that they never installed.

I think when you start looking at LEED platinum it begins getting more serious b/c it requires reclamation technologies, but silver is a total joke. I've never had energy bills so high in my life.

redrabbit said...

I have to chime in too (even though I live with prolix21)-- I love that we have recycled materials in our home like bamboo and cork flooring, recycled glass in various places, etc... but we were expecting to save way more money in energy. We are paying out the nose.

CityKin said...

There are more ways than the LEED way to be energy efficient, and the other ways are much cheaper. For example passive solar.

I prefer what some have termed "the original green" which means things like operable windows, thick walls, keeping it dark at night ...