LEED in Seattle, and an Eleventh-Hour Change

LEED in Seattle, and an Eleventh-Hour Change

I’d like to thank you for publishing such an excellent article on the LEED™ Rating System (EBN

Vol. 9, No. 6). Not only does it provide a helpful snapshot of the system’s content, but it also pointed out some of the history, challenges, and unresolved issues in the system. I need to provide a minor correction on your reference to the City of Seattle’s Sustainable Building Policy. The policy applies to all City of Seattle capital improvement projects of

occupied space

over 5,000 square feet. While this captures most of our capital improvement projects, some projects, such as warehouses or very small projects, will not fall under the policy. We are very excited about using this new tool to enhance our projects. In many cases it serves as our “sustainability spokesperson” to design teams and architects, such as Rem Koolhaas, who is designing our new main Library.

I was surprised you did not comment on the most recently adopted version of LEED, which dropped the point requirements in the certified, silver, and gold categories. I would be curious to hear your opinion of these changes and how they may impact where the bar is being set to increase sustainable building performance within the industry. Also, how will these changes impact the questions you asked in the article: “How good is LEED?” and “What are the weaknesses of LEED?”

Lucia Athens

Green Building Team Chair

City of Seattle, Washington

Editor’s reply:

Thank you for your comments and clarification.

LEED Rating System Point Ranges by Certification Level

We failed to notice that the level breakdown in the final version (which we published) was a change from the ballot version for the rating levels you mention (see table below).

By lowering the bar for all but the platinum level, the Council has cast a much wider net for buildings that might qualify for at least a “LEED Certified” rating. Designers and owners who wish their buildings to stand out in the field may now have to go for at least a gold rating. This last-minute change may strengthen the program by allowing more buildings to participate. It also reflects a weakness in the process, however, in that this fairly substantial change was made without input from, or even notification of, most Council members. We hope that, as the Council matures, it learns to be more respectful of the demands of a true consensus process.

Published July 1, 2000

(2000, July 1). LEED in Seattle, and an Eleventh-Hour Change. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/editorial/leed-seattle-and-eleventh-hour-change

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