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,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership_in_Energy_and_Environmental_Design 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.