The myth of ‘LEED equivalent’

Read the full story at Food Engineering.

It goes my many names:

…Built to LEED standards.
…LEED equivalent.

I will offer one more: a ruse.

Full disclosure, I am writing to you as a LEED Fellow. I have helped lead projects teams that have accounted for millions of LEED certified square footage. Like many of us, the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGC) LEED rating system has benefitted me and my business. However, it has also transformed the building sector toward greater sustainability. 

As imperfect of a system as LEED may be, it continues to improve, and the building design and construction industry has never before seen a tool that has been more effective in shifting the building sector toward better, healthier, more responsible outcomes. LEED buildings and communities exist in more than 180 countries and equate to around 2.2 million square feet being certified daily. Clearly, the international market knows how to deliver high-performance, low-carbon, environmentally responsible buildings. Perhaps we don’t need LEED to guide us how to create and manage green buildings and communities. 

But the caution I raise against so-called “LEED Equivalent” buildings has nothing to do with the LEED rating system or the LEED brand itself. Rather, it has everything to do with ensuring accountability mechanisms on building projects in the face of the limited resource capitals of time and money. 

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