November 8 2007

Efficiency is King by Rick Fedrizzi

Rick Fedrizzi, founding chairman of the USGBC, had some enlightening words during his opening address at GreenBuild 2007. Particularly interesting were facts cited from a recent New Building Institute paper which claims that

" buildings built to LEED NC guidelines save on average 30% on energy over the traditional constructed buildings. And the higher your LEED rating the better the energy performance. (Energy savings are) LEED Certified 25%, LEED Silver 35%, LEED Gold and Platinum over 45% or more."

Electric Meter_Image 01

The full report is not available for download on the NBI website at this time but Greenline will post it when it becomes available. I am particularly interested in finding out more about the metrics used to create a "typical" building. Given that "typical" probably includes every building it is interesting to note that efficient buildings not LEED certified no doubt exist but are being overshadowed by the multitude of cheap, poorly built, and poorly maintained buildings that comprise our building pool.

The study also highlights two important points in my mind. First, the need to update the existing building stock to meet even current energy codes. The number of buildings that are constructed each year is dwarfed by the number of existing buildings which implies that a concerted effort must go toward renovating and upgrading. To simply assume that new LEED buildings will solve our problems is short sighted. Then again I do think that both the USGBC and other organizations such as Architecture 2030 recognize this need and are addressing the issue. 

Second, the merits of choosing LEED Platinum versus basic LEED Certified are really discernable. What a powerful statement this study can be to a building owner or operator when the difference between LEED Certification and Platinum is 20% or more in energy savings. Impressive and persuasive.

I look forward to seeing more research about the benefits of energy efficiency in buildings. We can go a long way to avoiding environmental, political, and financial trouble in the future if we can just increase the efficacy of the things we already do.

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November 3rd, 2008 at 3:34 AM

Greenline » Henry Gifford Suggests ‘A Better Way to Rate Green Buildings’

[...] interpretation of energy efficiency in LEED buildings, specifically those results announced at the 2007 GreenBuild relating LEED certification to energy performance. In effect, he argues that there is disparity between the clear success LEED has had promoting a [...]