by Steven G. Shapiro, LEED AP
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
Until recently, institutional owners, such as universities, and also private developers have been leaders in designing and building sustainable projects based on their belief in the goals of green design and construction.
Recently, some jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C., are now mandating LEED® design and some, such as Chicago, are creating economic incentives including expedited permitting. As a result, private developers are being drawn into green design for motives more related to financial benefit than sustainability.
The question becomes whether these owners will be tempted to create shortcuts for certification or even permit manipulation or fraud to receive a proper rating. Another question is whether the accrediting groups, such as the U.S. Green Building Council, are adequately prepared to identify wrongful behavior and are able to respond to unethical practices. Finally, since the USGBC is a non-governmental organization, are there administrative safeguards for applicants and the public?
What do you think?