March 26, 2012
Contractors turning away from LEED
The construction industry in B.C. and the U.S. is starting to reject the LEED certification process citing it as too costly and taking too long with too many uncertainties.
“You can wait up to two years to get certified, the backlog is extraordinary,” said Helen Goodland, principal of Brantwood Consulting, a green building consultant.
The firm is heading a stakeholders group seeking to find alternatives to achieving energy efficient buildings and reducing B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020.
“The industry is quite reasonably rejecting LEED,” she said.
Goodland cited figures for Vancouver, where only 13 per cent of the structures built to a LEED standard are currently certified.
The LEED backlog, cost, and uncertainly have created their own problems, such as structures claiming to be built to a LEED standard or LEED shadowed, but not registering or seeking certification.
“There is not much that the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) can do about developers, who claim they are building to a LEED standard,” admitted Mark Hutchinson, director of green building programs with the council.
“It is not something that we can control.”
However, the organization discourages the use of the LEED name in these cases.
LEED is a process that documents the design and assembly of a green building and offers third party verification of its sustainability.
“When they say they are building to a LEED standard, you don’t know what that means,” he explained, adding there is no accountability or verification.
He said such a building might only have elements that could have earned a couple of points out of 100. Basic certification requires at least 50.
However, construction lawyer Marina Pratchett, of Fasken Martineau, said using the term ‘built to a LEED standard’ might simply reflect the standard an owner desires.
“They may want to go after energy efficiency, but not all the other bells and whistles,” she said.
Architect Roger Bayley sees another difficulty.
As an architect, he encourages developers to build green.
However, if the term “built to a LEED standard” has the same market cachet with the condo buyers as a LEED certified structure, it becomes difficult to justify the expense.
FULL ARTICLE HERE: