It’s always healthy to be somewhat skeptic, especially about something that becomes so ingrained so quickly that our collective fascination blinds us to its pockmarks. Like shoes that help you get thin. And, as the Construction Digital blog explains, the USGBC’s LEED certification.
It’s hard to argue that the importance of the LEED logo hasn’t surpassed the importance of its brand. It’s a pedantic industry buzzword now, talked about across conference tables to excited tenant prospects in the same ostentatious tone a person uses when explaining how they were the first person ever to see the Dave Mathews Band.
“Seriously man, I used to see them all the time when in college in Virginia, doing small clubs … then they sold out.” Great. You and 100,000 other tools.
There have been countless reports of developers—and lest we forget, the companies hired to market and lease their buildings—of over-stating the property’s level of LEED certification and its benefits. Or even about being certified at all. Sure, LEED Gold may be a part of the early renderings. But construction plans have a knack for changing course along the way. Printed marketing collateral doesn’t. And let’s face it, neither do leases. (See where we’re headed there?)
Look, there may be little merit to Henry Gifford’s lawsuit. After all, the guy owns a company that implements commercial real estate energy preservation strategies. Maybe he’s just pissed at the government competition. He also has no proof of deliberate intent. But he is right when he says that tenants acting alone can do a tremendous amount toward saving building energy without having to jump ship to a LEED building. And landlords too can do their part sans certification.
Gifford surely hopes that things move fast, as the General Services Administration just upped its sustainability mandate for new government buildings from LEED Silver to LEED Gold, even for buildings currently in the design stage. Now that’s a way to create jobs in the architecture industry.
Like we said, it’s healthy to be skeptic. But Gifford’s lawsuit, should it find footing, will most likely do more to derail a nationally-backed commitment to bettering the enviornment. Over-stated marketing jargon or not, at least people are talking about ways our industry can better itself.