This week has been a topic that is of great interest to mine. LEED is a huge proponent of why I became so involved with sustainability. I had never heard of it until one day in my class there was a lecture from my professor, Dr. Kang. Then, some of my classmates started talking about doing the LEED exam to get certified. The funny part is that I am the only one in my class that actually went through with it over the Christmas break like we all said we would. I studied hard for four weeks. I had a pile of notecards and two books. The day of the test came and I could not have been more sweaty and nervous. I went inside the building and sat down to take the test from an automated computer. Many, many questions and minutes later, the relief flooded over me and I had passed. I was now a LEED Green Associate!
So…now what? I had this awesome certification and all I can do is…put a title by my name? Pfft. $150 and that’s it?! No. It is so much more than that. I started researching things that had been done with LEED and the results were incredible. My favorite part about LEED is that it does not only concert certain building attributes, but it gets the occupants as well as the surrounding communities involved. It tries to reach out to touch different issues. The other cool thing is that it makes it accessible to everyone. Schools, retail, existing businesses, and even new construction projects. It allows anybody and any time to decide to go green.
The conflict with this program is that it has negative connotations that it is expensive and can often cause controversy with materials that it does not allow. The question is that…how good is LEED? That is what I have struggled with ever since the question has been put into my mind. Here I am thinking that nothing could be a better effort than this awesome green building program and there actually are some. Ding writes an awesome article that challenges designers with the question of when green building is thought of in the design process. Or is it even in the design process at all? That was her warnings. That if green building is going to be incorporated, or sustainability at all, it must be within the design process or even before the process has begun. It costs more money and more time and effort to go back once construction has started and try to tweak even the slightest things. It is a concern that needs to be addressed.
Even though I may not have a ton of impact being only a LEED Green Associate, I feel that my knowledge is extensive enough to at least help people be more aware. That is my hope that as a designer I can bring attention to these problems that most others in my field may not even know exist. The video we watched proved that LEED can be a great thing. The Boston building turned out to be a better good for the people than it did any harm. It proves that with a little extra LEED in our lives, we could be a better building council in a green way.