I currently office (when did that become a verb?) in a building that is LEED Platinum certified.
Well somebody spank me! Not only is the building LEED certified. But it’s Platinum. You want to touch me, right?
While I’m sure that would be just lovely, I will be the first to tell you that in spite of the giant plaque on the wall, this building couldn’t possibly be LEED certified. Or if it was, the certification lasted for about 10 minutes.
Then someone turned the air on.
Swing by here any time of the business day, and you can watch two doors in the main lobby open and almost close on a continual basis. And when I say almost close, I mean just that. The outer door will almost shut, then the inner door pops open and the cycle starts again.
The air conditioning system is so out of balance that the doors only really close on the weekend when the magnetic locks kick in. And even then it’s only the outer door. The inner door still swings open, seemingly sad that his friend on the outside won’t join in the fun.
And I will refrain from discussing the loud whistling sound on the weekend as the air forces itself out between the gaps in the doors.
I wish I could remember when sustainability and certification became a thing. I do remember the firm that shared space with my old firm (I almost said “officed” – again, a verb?) had become one of the top – if not the top – firms in LEED consulting. And that was a big thing.
And I do remember having conversations with clients about sustainability and how we could make their projects “green.” At least until they saw the cost.
Writer Thomas Friedman commented in his keynote at the AIA conference in 2011 that architects need to get away from the idea of green building as a novelty. We’ve become so focused on sustainability and LEED buildings as a promotable concept instead of simply including green design in the normal course of our work.
Instead we encourage the idea of sustainable design as a badge of honor. “Our office? Oh, it’s LEED certified.”