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Posted:  29 Feb 2012 16:03  
Hi All,

I am looking to start working towards a LEED cert. Can anyone suggest which one is best for the industry. I was thinking O +M but not sure if there are other suggestions? Thanks!
Posted:  02 Mar 2012 06:25  
I am in Canada, if you are in the US go through the USGBC and good luck!  The Green Message is so very important!
Posted:  02 Mar 2012 22:26  
This is like sending your Congressman an e-mail suggesting how your taxes should be lowered.  If it makes you feel "empowered", by all means do it, but do NOT labor under the misconception that you are somehow a party to any of the decision-making that occurs within the organization.  Its policy agenda is laid out and advanced in accordance with the personal political and environmental views of its board members and executives.  This is by no means a "grassroots" organization.

In response to the question: "is LEED greenwashing?", even proponents of the IDEA of sustainable building have serious doubts as to the integrity of the LEED criteria in achieving the USGBC's stated goals.  For example:

http://www.corporate-sustainability.org/blog/ ...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/22/idU ...

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/architectu ...

And so on.  So if you choose to place your trust in a bureaucratic monopoly (and a self-designated one at that), go right ahead and have that religious experience, because it's entirely based on faith in an omnipotent demi-deity, not a grassroots, democratic process.

Clem
Posted:  15 Mar 2012 18:49  
Oh for heaven's sake!  Of course the USGBC is not a grass-roots organization.  It's humongous and complex, often controversial and confusing.  There are lots of naysayers and plenty of supporters. 

However,being involved on the local level I can tell you this for a fact.  The USGBC is comprised of some very dedicated and passionate people from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds.  We have architects, landscapers, engineers, contractors, roofing specialists, moms and dads, retirees, PR specialists, chemical engineers, roofing specialists, property managers and the list goes on and on and on.  Naturally each person has their own agenda to make sure their interests are heard and known, that's just human nature.  But collectively they want to do what they can to make the built environment more environmentally safe, sustainable and healthy.  We put in countless hours to educate the public and work towards these goals.  You're welcome to attend any of our meetings, Clem, just hitch a ride to Texas or get involved with a chapter near you.

They got over 6,000 comments during the first public comment period, not sure how many during the second period or what they'll get over the third.  With those numbers not everyone will be happy, but they have already done 2 sets of revisions based on those comments and you can see that with the changes made to the pilot credits and other proposed changes.

So yes, the comments are read and when the numbers are there then yes, changes are made.  But if they only get one comment about indoor plants of course it's going to get lost in the shuffle.  And if you don't make any comments then nothing changes.

And yes they are making changes to the LEED criteria to answer their opponents.  In fact the LEED program is now ANSI certified and the ANSI programs are considered the gold standard world-wide.  Most of the LEED criteria are based on industry certification programs and building codes such as ASHRAE--hard to argue with that.

My observation is that the LEED program reflects the trends and in some cases creates the trends in the buildings industry that we all need to be aware of.  Education is power, people, and to bury our heads in the sand and not be aware of what's happening in the buildings industry is a big mistake.  You can agree or disagree with what the USGBC does but you need to be aware of what's happening with the LEED program all the same. 

-Kathy and yes, I'm a LEED Accredited Professional and Chairperson of my local USGBC branch.
Posted:  16 Mar 2012 04:44  
I understand the emotional investment in sustainability movements, which always come with political and economic strings attached, depending on whose ox is being gored by the process.  My objection is to the portrayal of USGBC as some sort of countercultural force for good.  USGBC is not seeking to overthrow the establishment, it is seeking to BECOME the establishment!  It seeks control over a very massive and lucrative segment of the national economy, and it does so with a rubric largely based on self-generated priorities and tenets not universally accepted by the various industries touched by its policy initiatives.  In other words, it seeks to change the rules of the game by replacing them with rules it has cooked up on its own, largely in executive sessions not accessible to the "grassroots" membership or the general public.

I'm not a fan of bureaucracies of ANY kind...public or private.  They tend to be big on P. R. and small on transparency.  USGBC is apparently a pretty typical bureaucracy in that regard.

Clem

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