Remember when Architects and Engineers were still pondering the sustainability of the sustainability fad? In 2009, posts like LEED Accreditation – Fad or Necessity? from the Civil Engineering Central Blog and Is LEED a Load? from the Archinect Discussion Forum were popping up all over the place. Four years later, the industry may have a better grasp on what green means, but some of those original fears and worries may also have a right to remain. This week’s installment of Friday Finds by a/e ProNet includes a pair of articles commenting on the current status of LEED and Green Design.

As Important As It Is, LEED Can Be So Embarrassing — via

The New American Home 2013 by Trent Bell via The Atlantic Cities

“But, man, there are a lot of warts in this system.”

LEED has been criticized for:

Being insufficiently demanding of its applicants. Shoot high enough to seem relevant, but low enough that designers will see the standards as achievable and worth trying for.

USGBC, although a non-profit, needs revenues to keep the system going. “If difficulties in the standards or the process of application are too demanding, fewer potential applicants will be willing to pay the costs of documentation and formal review.”

Has “become pro forma, more about earning points than achieving actual environmental performance.”

“I recount this long-winded intro because my friend Lloyd Alter of the environmental website Treehugger has just written a terrific story about a new, supposedly super-green house being touted as “the new face of efficiency” even though it’s really a gigantic luxury house placed in a location where residents have no choice but to drive long distances to do anything.  This is ultra-green?  Sadly, LEED seems to think so.”

Read more about The New American Home 2013.

Designers’ Risk: The Dark Side of Going Green — via The Illinois Construction Law Blog

green_construction“The language and presumptions of sustainable “green” design are changing a significant portion of the landscape for all stakeholders in the construction and building-related industries.  “Green” building impacts everything from the selection of carpeting and window treatments to how far the materials have to be shipped to the project before installation.  And with ever evolving sustainable design standards and building codes (e.g. the International Green Construction Code), it is important that designers understand how “green” projects affect their risk. “

Here’s hoping the continued dialogue on these issues will lead to a better understanding and implementation of LEED.

Green Projects

By now, most architects and engineers know that green projects are special. They require close attention to a different set of details, further education regarding materials and relevant research, and possibly an enhanced caution when it comes to contracts. You know this. But does your insurance broker?

The following is an excerpt from a newsletter authored by a/e ProNet member Meade Collinsworth of Collinsworth, Alter, Fowler & French, LLC in Miami Lakes, Florida.

“The more I read and research this topic, the more concerned I become with the potential for uninsured claims that can arise out of these projects. In fact, a “green project” is not just another project! I think the very first place that you should begin to review the exposures that arise from green projects would be your client contracts. It is absolutely essential that all contractors review their contracts prior to signing them in order to understand their rights and responsibilities in order to mitigate misunderstandings. This is the reason I am going to concentrate on the contract review process in this articles as I believe this will assist you in meeting your due diligence needs on green projects.”

The full-length PDF version of the article can be found at our website, here.