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  • Green home construction outpaces LEED

    Green home construction outpaces LEED program

    Of 1,535 buildings registered, only 119 are certified

    BY HANNEKE BROOYMANS, EDMONTON JOURNALDECEMBER 9, 2009 7:02 AMBE THE FIRST TO POST A COMMENT


    Canadians are building green homes and offices faster than they can be certified, leading to a call for more green jobs to be filled.

    Both the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the Built Green programs have experienced a flood of projects in the last few years. The LEED program, which is administered by the Canadian Green Building Council, saw registered buildings jump from 52 in 2004, its first year, to 485 in 2008.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/enter...348/story.html


    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  • #2
    Anyone else feel that LEED V3 is a bit of a joke?

    Just another 'qualification' that's becoming industry standard, but actually contributes little.

    Or maybe I'm just bitter about the $300US to write the test. 450 if you're not a member of the CAGBC.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Renton View Post
      Anyone else feel that LEED V3 is a bit of a joke?

      Just another 'qualification' that's becoming industry standard, but actually contributes little.

      Or maybe I'm just bitter about the $300US to write the test. 450 if you're not a member of the CAGBC.
      it's not a joke insofar as making those qualifications "industry standard". the real intent should always be to see cutting edge technology and skills adopted as industry standard (as was the case with the r2000 program). it's in that very adoption that we will get "pay back" on a global scale. that's the real value of LEED, not the certification of leading edge buildings on that curve for the sake of certification alone. the intention shouldn't be to create "elite" buildings but to create better buildings and it's not the certification per se that makes them better. as for the 300 - or even the 450 fee for non cagbc members - to be certified as individuals, that's nothing compared to the fees and the costs of certifying a building...
      "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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      • #4
        ^Is it possible for builders to get a standard design certified, or does every single building have to be tested or similar? Given the choice between a LEED standard design if it is possible, or one without, I would think a price premium could be built in. I would pay more for LEED, as presumably you could recover when you go to sell one day (not to mention the environmental savings thing).

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        • #5
          What is a standard design? Every single project that goes for some level of LEED Certification requires submittals and signatures from architect/engineering professionals. There is extra 'paperwork' involved, as compared to the same building that does not try to get certified. So there is a cost premium in just that, and that can be large or small depending on the competency of the design and construction team.

          In terms of buildings actually getting LEED certified, I am sure there are a lot of buildings built that COULD be certified to at least the minimum level, that are not attempting it, especially if it does not get considered until the building is well into design or construction as it becomes much more challenging then.

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          • #6
            ^I was thinking of one of those cookie cutter type houses you see builders advertise. I'm surprised they don't advertise something like:

            "Designed to exceed LEED standards", with some sort of disclaimer that certification is not included in the project.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by moahunter View Post
              ^Is it possible for builders to get a standard design certified, or does every single building have to be tested or similar? Given the choice between a LEED standard design if it is possible, or one without, I would think a price premium could be built in. I would pay more for LEED, as presumably you could recover when you go to sell one day (not to mention the environmental savings thing).
              i can't speak for home builders options on housing but certainly on the commercial side the answer is no. every single building needs to be individually certified (and part of that is that every single site is individually unique and construction practices and material handling and sourcing are as important in obtaining certification as either the initial design or the end performance). it's also interesting to know that while your building design can't be certified prior to construction (certification is only granted after completion which means you are accepting more than a little risk until after it is too late to change something if your assumptions and those of your consultants are not "accepted") certification still requires preregistration and acceptance prior to commencing construction. it is not an inexpensive process not just for certification fees but also for additional consulting fees and the on-site monitoring and documentation necessary to support the application.
              "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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              • #8
                ^^Ahh that makes sense. If what I've looked up is correct, each home has to be rated individually, which makes sense that it's not just about design, it is about how things are built. Where stuff comes from, how it's put together, where it is built.

                http://www.cagbc.org/leed/systems/ho...#Provider_text

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                • #9
                  ^I'm not sure if that makes sense. It appears overly costly and burecratic for homes. If the goal is really to make a difference to the environment, wouldn't it be better to have some approved "designs"? Houses could then be advertised "to built in accordance with approved design" without the need for certification. It may not be "as perfect", but you would think more perfect than nothing, which is what we get when the process in impractical for low cost houses or similar.

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                  • #10
                    ^Looks like they are not going for the low costs homes. From the March 2009 document on the CAGBC website: "LEED® Canada for Homes is targeting the top 25% of new homes with best practice environmental features."

                    So not your low cost stuff. Looks like they are targeting those who can more than afford it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by moahunter View Post
                      ^Is it possible for builders to get a standard design certified, or does every single building have to be tested or similar? Given the choice between a LEED standard design if it is possible, or one without, I would think a price premium could be built in. I would pay more for LEED, as presumably you could recover when you go to sell one day (not to mention the environmental savings thing).
                      A lot of the LEED points are based on site situation, orientation, etc. and plenty more based on the construction process itself. So in that sense, it's not really possible to make an off-the-shelf LEED certified project.

                      But you're absolutely right about the 'designed to LEED standards' part. That actually happens a fair bit.

                      Oh and in response to Ken, I was writing about the role of LEED NC AP in my earlier post and not the LEED system as a whole.
                      Agree with me or not, but I find the AP status to be a rather empty credential, but one that is nevertheless becoming standard practice for many in the proffession (a proffession that already has too many tests and regulations focusing on too many of the wrong things). And while 450 greenbacks might pale in comparison to the cost to certify a building, it still makes a dent in my (relatively thin) pocket-book, or the operating budget of any smaller firm with tight margins.

                      And I'd also question whether r2000 is really industry standard. It's certainly not in mine!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Channing View Post
                        ^Looks like they are not going for the low costs homes. From the March 2009 document on the CAGBC website: "LEED® Canada for Homes is targeting the top 25% of new homes with best practice environmental features."

                        So not your low cost stuff. Looks like they are targeting those who can more than afford it.
                        noting per my previous post that the technologies and the trades and the building practices used in certifying that top 25% will eventually "filter down" and become industry standard in the same way that many of the items such as high efficiency furnaces and double/triple glazed windows and higher insulation standards etc. that were pioneered/featured in the r2000 program are now standard spec home items and not reserved for that top 25% as the knowledge and familiarity gained working on them gets further distributed.
                        "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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                        • #13
                          LEED is a great marketing tool, I wish I thought of it. Its kinda like the Better Business Bureau for buildings and designers, few realize its not the governing regulation or even government regulated, and at the end of the day its value is questionable. But it does give the consumer a nice rosy feeling that they got a nice plaque to put beside the front door.

                          When I see publications like this: http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_rele...020-000229.htm I question the value of the LEED. Is nearly a $1000/sq foot practical for the consumer? Why does it seem only governments can afford to construct these? Would the government funds be better used to make the technology more affordable to the consumer rather than build the projects themselves?

                          If you want to make real change, lobby for building code changes, which are the de facto regulation. Example, regulate so that no single family dwelling can have more than a 40 amp electrical service. Want more power...you need to supply it through alternate means. Regulate that no home can have more than a 50,000BTU high efficient furnace....want more....you supply an alternate means, or keep your building small. That would have real and immediate effects. If your a client wanting a new building, tell your designer you want everything 25% better (or more) than the building code allows, much more enforceable in a contract, than a LEED rating.

                          LEEDS shortcomings in recognizing climatic considerations also disappoints me, are large panes of south facing glass really "green", if they only have an R6 value and its -20 and dark outside 13hrs a day?

                          The building industry will only change if its regulated to do so...think cars would get 30+ mpg today if the government didn't regulate them to do better?

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                          • #14
                            A few months back there was a good discussion of LEEDs in Scientific American. I can't recall the details but some long time environmental builders thought that the program ignored a number of alternative construction techniques that would save as much or more energy.

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                            • #15
                              ^likely.

                              LEED is not the be all or the end all but rather as pointed out above an objective THIRD PARTY way to relate most projects. It has its shortcomings and oversights but few can doubt its success and pushing forward more sustainable buildings.


                              Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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