A front page article from The New York Times (August 31, 2009) takes aim at easy criticisms of LEED, namely picking on individual points for landscapes with native plants and architecture featuring floor-to-ceiling windows. How we wish the article would have included a discussion of a basic LEED structure’s most significant attribute — the fundamental commissioning prerequisite. Fundamental commissioning is the third-party verification process that ensures a structure’s systems specified are properly installed and operating efficiently. Quoting the USGBC LEED NC 2.2 Reference Guide, “A properly designed and executed Commissioning Plan may reduce errors and omissions in the design and installation process, improve coordination, reduce change orders, and generate substantial operational cost savings compared to systems that are not commissioned. Successful implementation of the commissioning process often yields improvements in energy efficiency of 5% to 10%.” Instead, The Times’ piece attempts to de-contextualize the kind (or amount) of materials, or HVAC systems spec’d in the particular (Ohio) project profiled.
Check out the Times story and look for our article “How to Take the LEED AP Exam” in the October issue of ddi magazine, a retail trade. There’s also a story on the first-ever LEED Platinum Retail project — a rundown of Hannaford’s new Augusta, Maine, supermarket.