Introducing comparative analysis to the LEED system: A case for rational and regional application
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Introducing comparative analysis to the LEED system: A case for rational and regional application


The LEED(TM) system awards points for prescriptive and performance based environmental strategies; rightly giving more weight to decisions affecting building operations, since environmental impacts over the life of a building exceed the one-time environmental impacts affected by the building s construction. The environmental benefits of LEED(TM) strategies are considered implicit and the point system is not a metric of environmental performance. Thus, guideline strategies that achieve the same points may not have analogous environmental performance. This paper draws from our LEED(TM) project experience as certified consultants to a number of design teams. We applied analysis to those experiences and argue that -The relative environmental value of the same LEED(TM) strategy may vary by geographical region and by building type. -Scoring successive LEED(TM) points beyond a 'standard practice design' significantly increases design effort and capital costs for construction. -Without comparative analysis of the costs of alternate LEED(TM) strategies and their corresponding environmental benefit, designers will not necessarily invest capital in strategies that most profoundly minimize the environmental impacts of a building. -For design teams and owners interested in the least expensive LEED(TM) certification, gaming the point system could drive investment away from sound environmental performance strategies such as energy efficiency. Using these arguments, this paper makes a case to enhance the LEED(TM) system by -Categorizing LEED(TM) strategies by their direct or indirect value towards Environmental Benefit, Healthy Buildings (Places), and Profitability. -Reformulating prescriptive requirements into performance based requirements wherever possible. -Customizing LEED(TM) guidelines by region.

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