Green is everywhere, and everyone and their mother is touting just how green they are and how green they can make you. It seems that every type of business – from oil corporations to pet food makers – are marketing themselves as good for the planet.
The same marketing fervor is evident in the construction industry as well. Companies that make building materials, HVAC systems, and even floor plan magazines (as what I posted here) are selling themselves in a greener shade simply because that’s what their marketing department is telling them to do. People want to be greener and more ecologically responsible. And where you have high demand, you also have high sham.
The LA Times has a nice list of Green Myths. This list includes items that not only persuade you to go with a greener solution, but there are some examples that are meant to deter you from going green (and going with something else that someone is selling you).
One of the biggest green myths that I can think of is actually what I feel is a sham, and I’m interested in your take on it. It revolves around the LEED AP exam. If you want to be a lawyer, doctor, dentist, or English professor, you have to have certain kinds of education/degrees as well as experience before you sit for the exams that deem you minimally competent to do said job. But with the LEED AP exam, it seems, all you need is $300 and a study guide. I suppose the idea of this was to democratize the LEED AP process and allow everyone into the Green Club, but it rather feels like that job search commercial where several hundred people run onto a tennis court, regardless of their athletic ability.
Thoughts? Advice on my serve?
It used to be (at least when I took the exam back in 2001) that if you wanted to have some type of credential promoting your “green” then the LEED AP exam was your best option. You study, take the exam, and then you’re a LEED AP for life.
Recently the USGBC (organization that implements LEED) has become more like the AIA where you have to follow up your LEED status with continuing education, which is good (more knowledge) and bad (lots more money being paid). Anyone used to be able to take the exam, but now (at least in my understanding) that you have to have worked on a LEED Certified project to continue to have a more advanced LEED title, which is also good (more knowledge) and bad (you’re screwed if your client doesn’t want to pursue LEED certification).
I’m not hip on titles, but I know my “LEED AP” is both good (more knowledge) and bad (I feel like a tool). I know someone that has become a LEED Accredited Professional, yet I still remember how he didn’t know the difference between how the sun traveled during the summer (higher in the sky, longer days) versus during the winter (lower in the sky, shorter days).
LEED has effectively promoted sustainability into the realm of architecture, which is obviously good. I won’t necessarily refer to it as a complete sham, but it’s a way for some incredibly unqualified people to promote their “green” and someone is getting very rich off the illusion of promoting ones qualifications.
It’s not required to design and build an ecologically responsible work of architecture. The title is merely an intangible item that provides a nice warm and fuzzy feeling. I believe in the spirit (the verb) of what LEED is meant to accomplish, not the title (the noun).