Is the Construction Industry Leaving LEED?
Like many environmental initiatives, going “green” in the construction industry has been full of starts and stops. Trumbull-Nelson Construction Co. is certified through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, or LEED, a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
However, Ronald Bauer, executive vice president of Trumbull-Nelson, said he has seen the demand for LEED-certified buildings decrease.
“When the term ‘LEED’ came out, it was the latest thing and everyone had to be LEED certified. And we certainly have accredited professionals in our office,” he said.
However, owners soon realized that they were paying for the paperwork associated with the certification, while the actual construction wasn’t too different from what happens in noncertified buildings.
“That’s really just bragging rights around the bridge table,” Bauer said. “If people can save, say, 5 percent of their construction costs and not be certified and yet it’s the same building, they’ll (drop) the certification.”
Despite that, Bauer said, he has seen advances in building materials that are environmentally friendly. He increasingly hears talk of net-zero building, in which the energy consumed is equal to the renewable energy created on-site.
For now, the future of environmentally friendly construction remains unpredictable.
“Who knows how that’s going to evolve,” Bauer said.
— Kelly Burch