What Mr. Applebaum overlooked in his piece, though, are options within the LEED system itself that encourages ongoing energy efficiency. The system is flexible so that design teams can find the best options for their specific projects. There are some basic requirements supported by a menu of options to get to certain levels of certification. This provides a design team with a lot of latitude to “cherry pick” points that are cheaper or easier, but ignore some that may be a larger initial investment but can have significant energy savings and payback in a short time.
When it comes to energy, for instance, two available options are enhanced commissioning and measurement and verification. These two credits have been proven to be the greatest energy-saving measures with the best payback in a building, but projects often balk at pursuing them. When a design team is “point chasing” for certification, the project often fails to meet expectations. The responsibility is on the project team to take integrated environmental design to heart throughout the entire process. The LEED system can only be as good as those who use it.
What do you think is the cause for buildings to not live up to their promised energy performance? What should be done to ensure that our buildings use less energy long after the plaque goes on?