The Problems with LEED

Analysis suggests LEED buildings perform no better, and in fact perform worse, than non-LEED buildings. Many recommended actions, especially those selected by users, have little to no effect. Too few of its standards are results-driven, with high pay-back in areas other than environmental stewardship. Its rewards are self-serving, and used more often by a narrow group of elite users rather than a broad population. Recommendations include recognizing the shortcomings of current use characteristics, bringing clarity to the essentials of desired end performance, and refashioning certification standards to alter use of the program.

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Robert Orr, FAIA, is a seventh generation Hoosier and an award-winning architect and planner present at the first sip of coffee that became the grounds for the New Urbanism. Robert Orr & Associates LLC furnished more than 6,000 hours of services to storm-ravaged Gulf Coast Mississippi and New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. A Founder of the Seaside Institute, a think-tank on community design and development, Robert also serves on Boards of many other vision-based organizations in Florida, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhodes Island, Washington, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut. Robert is President of the Congress for the New Urbanism — New England Chapter. Robert teaches in the graduate architecture program at the University of Hartford, where he also is formulating a new two-year post-professional Master of Urbanism program. He received his M.Arch. from the Yale School of Art and Architecture and his BA from the University of Vermont and State Agriculture College. A practitioner, adjunct professor, business entrepreneur, Real Estate manager, and avuncular writer/commentator, Robert lives with his wife and four children in New Haven, Connecticut.