I’ve been picking up some vibes that USGBC’s LEED program might be coming under additional scrutiny. Namely, that the credits aren’t delivering the intended performance, or that some of the rating system needs to be revised. Third parties such as the Dept. of Energy are looking into how buildings perform compared to their design. Since LEED certification is basically developed during the design, the actual performance is not considered. I couldn’t agree more with looking into the final results, since the design is only half the battle. If the design and credits don’t lead to actual performance, what’s the point?
The preacher will tell his flock, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The point is, the battle is won in “walk the talk.” This is where LEED falls short. In some ways, it’s too short-sighted, especially when it comes to life cycle issues. I get that credits like the use of regional materials obtained within 500 miles of the job site are good, but what about longer-term things, such as what happens to the glass when the building eventually comes down, or is replaced? Shouldn’t the ability to recycle a product at its end of life be taken into account also?
Presently, tinted or insulating glass units aren’t recycled; they go to the landfill. The reflective film on low-E glass isn’t easily removed, and spacers on IGUs are a bugger to unconstruct to recycle the glass. I saw a building in Dallas not too many years ago imploded with glass still on the façade. It was cheaper to leave it there and send it to the landfill than to pull it off and recycle it. Even the curtainwall aluminum could be pulled out of the rubble and recycled with the steel and concrete, but not the glass.
In a different industry, I recently heard about a newspaper that donated its unused paper stock to an animal shelter that used it to line kennels. Okay, I get that paper is a renewable resource. The question, though, is how much energy is expended making new paper compared to recycling it? Because, once that donated paper is finished in its second life as kennel liner, I gotta believe it’s NOT going to be recycled, but will instead be headed to the landfill. The point is, let’s think the whole life cycle out, not just between any two points somewhere on the time line. In some respects, I don’t think LEED does that.
What about requiring buildings to work as intended in the credits taken in the LEED certification? Makes sense, the building ought to “walk the talk.” It can’t be a bad thing to ensure that happens.
Maybe the LEED rating ought to include an evaluation period after the Certificate of Occupancy is issued, and the building be judged on how well the intended LEED credits and solutions actually perform before a rating is given.
College Hoops Musings
I didn’t know what I was in for. Go! If you ever think about attending the college basketball championships, even for a second, just GO! I don’t know if it was because it was the 75th championship, or that the games were all good. But, my oh my, what an experience! Kudos to the folks in Atlanta, they ran a classy, southern hospitality, no-holds-barred operation. If you’re a fan of the game, you cannot miss an experience like this.
A guy across the aisle from us was a Wichita State fan who brought his 10-year-old twin sons. What an experience, and they stayed until Monday night, even after their team lost on Saturday. All the fans sitting around us were just fun; they were there representing every team.
And if ever a team I want to see win gets in, I’ll definitely go back. I’d miss the Super Bowl, even if the Eagles make it, just to go to one of these again. The heartache if your team loses, so be it, but what a ride! Maybe not having a team at the dance made it enjoyable. But if you have a chance, do NOT hesitate; like the Nike ads say, “JUST DO IT!!!” So a big thanks to Jeremy for taking me.
P.S. Trivia: do you know the only team to win both the NIT and NCAA in the same year? Hint: 1950.