Improving the link between the leed green building label and a building's energy-related environmental metrics
The US Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating program has grown from a little known tool for market change to a label and brand relied upon by many of the largest players in real estate. It now serves as an indicator of sustainability and an instrument for environmental management. While LEED-certified buildings tend to offer greater environmental benefits than their conventional counterparts, research and experience shows that the variation in and magnitude of these benefits varies, even among buildings of the same LEED certification level. In light of growing concerns about greenwashing and the liability associated with questionable environmental declarations, it is important to ensure that users of LEED and similar certification programs receive a set of benefits comparable to those expected. With a focus on energy-related issues, this research (1) highlights evidence of the inconsistency between the expected and actual benefits of LEED buildings, (2) suggests revisions to LEED's Energy & Atmosphere (EA) section to reduce the variation and magnitude in the energy-related environmental impacts from LEED buildings, (3) quantifies this reduction in variation and magnitude of impacts using Monte Carlo analyses and probabilistic models created specifically for this research, (4) compares carbon dioxide emissions from LEED buildings to the Architecture 2030 Challenge goals and (5) quantifies the importance of scoring LEED buildings on a per capita normalized basis. This research is a follow-up piece to the authors' previous work published in the Journal of Green Building (Wedding and Crawford-Brown 2007).
Wedding, GC; Crawford-Brown, D
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