An Open Discussion about LEED Certification: One Woman’s Struggle to Justify the Hype

I have always been interested in being “Green.” My mother will tell you stories of the makeshift recycling center I created in my bedroom because we didn’t have curbside recycling and she didn’t want “garbage” piling up in the house between treks to the recycle center. As an adult I still dutifully recycle, though I thankfully no longer have bottles and cans next to my nightstand. I believe in energy efficiency, clean air and water, reducing waste and so on. So, believing as I do, I WANT to believe in LEED Certification, but I still struggle to get on the bandwagon.

The principles and strategies of LEED make sense to me, but I can’t get past the feeling that the process is complicated to the point of impracticality. According to the GBCI website, LEED Certification requires a TEAM of individuals. Right off the bat, this suggests to me that this is far too complicated a process for the average human. At least one member of the team has to be professionally LEED Certified in advance, yet another indicator that this is not a user-friendly process.

What bothers me about the current LEED Certification process is this: if the typical building owner/manager is not capable of understanding and filling out the required documentation to certify their own building, then how are they going to be able to KEEP the building running in such a way that it continues to be LEED-worthy? If we want sustainable buildings through LEED, the LEED process itself needs to be sustainable, right?

So my premise is this: if the LEED Certification process were made simple enough so that the building owner/managers could certify their own buildings, they would also be able to keep the building running at LEED standards on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Isn’t that the best way to create a sustainable future?

Sustainable Future
Is the LEED Process Creating Sustainable Buildings?