Wednesday, February 17, 2010

LEED a Mistake for Deerfield Beach Pier?

At the CRA meeting last night, they discussed the Pier entrance buildings and their construction to LEED standards. The commission decided to try for the Platinum LEED level.

After doing a little research I think that may be a mistake. Sure, the pier project should use “green” materials where practical, however it should always use “climate-appropriate” materials no matter the LEED point rating. As it pointed out in the article (see below), some LEED points are given for use of materials that may not be a good idea on our beach. Also, going to the expense of seeking a LEED certificate for a little, mostly open air, project such as this is not cost efficient.

Go to this article in Wikipedia for more information, it says in part:

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Buildings can qualify for four levels of certification:
Certified - 40 - 49 points
Silver - 50 - 59 points
Gold - 60 - 79 points
Platinum - 80 points and above

LEED certified buildings are supposed to use resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings which are simply built to code.

Often when a LEED rating is pursued, this will increase the cost of initial design and construction... Pursuing LEED certification for a project is an added cost in itself as well. This added cost comes in the form of USGBC correspondence, LEED design-aide consultants, and the hiring of the required Commissioning Authority (CxA) - all of which would not necessarily be included in an environmentally responsible project unless it were also seeking a LEED rating.

LEED is a measurement tool and not a design tool. It is also not yet climate-specific, although the newest version hopes to address this weakness partially. Because of this, designers may make materials or design choices that garner a LEED point, even though they may not be the most site or climate-appropriate choice available.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting perspective. Are you saying that LEED is not appropriate because this site is an outdoor beach and not a building? I must admit, I haven't heard of any LEED certified beaches, but it might prove to be a precedent. In fact, this might be what the project manager is going for. There are so many projects these days pursuing LEED certification simply so it can be the first LEED certified _______. I agree with you about the climate-appropriate materials. I suppose we will have to wait to see what the newest version of the proposal says, in regard to this matter.