Should Green Building Certification Be Guaranteed?
State, local and federal government entities are "LEEDing" the way with green building programs - not only for their own facilities, but also with various green building mandates that affect the private sector. Green building legislation, executive orders, resolutions and other initiatives now affect a majority of states across the U.S., and the number of localities, school jurisdictions and companies now requiring sustainability measures is rapidly increasing. In fact, at least 25,000 buildings are currently registered as LEED-seeking projects today, a number that will continue to grow.
However, guaranteeing LEED certification remains the unspoken elephant in the room. As Andrew Burr of real estate information company the CoStar Group wrote in mid-August, "Earning LEED certification can be a fickle process, subject to complex credit interpretations and appeals, heavy documentation, budgetary considerations and ultimately, a ruling from the U.S. Green Building Council's sister organization, the Green Building Certification Institute. For those reasons, LEED consultants - even ones that have worked on hundreds of projects - have made a point not to promise certification to their clients."
This lack of assurance leaves architects, contractors and developers with the ultimate responsibility of delivering a building that will become LEED-certified. If LEED certification was an optional activity, guaranteeing LEED certification would merely be considered a "nice to have."
But we have seen that the contrary is becoming true. Facing government and industry mandates requiring higher levels of sustainability, architects, contractors, and sustainability consultants are finding themselves between that proverbial rock and a hard place. In essence, they have been put in a position where they must guarantee their efforts. It is not easy, but also is not an impossible task.