Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guest Post | Doug Pierce

It’s great to see Architecture Minnesota covering the frequently raucous dialogue surrounding LEED. Everybody seems to enjoy bashing it, although few have any better ideas to offer around how to facilitate change at the same scale. No one likes change, so every discipline, expert or industry LEED touches (and there are many) tends to give it jolt and slap from their individual perspective. It’s not uncommon to see articles that dismiss LEED as a whole through the lens of single credit and attribute. If one adds up the multiple, myopic reactions, it results in a voluminous discourse of seeming discontent.

Of course most of those voices are simply fighting to maintain the status quo. Unfortunately, the status quo has been running out the clock, resisting change for decades making the need for sustainable design and a sustainable agenda in our society an absolute emergency. LEED has been 15+ years in the making and it is the key change agent that has stirred the sustainable design movement to action. We don’t have any ecological time left to start over, so we should be having a robust dialogue about how to improve it, how to make it more integrative, how to make it make it more effective and how to keep the status quo from co-opting it for their use.

LEED tends to bother a lot of design professionals because it is quantitative instead of qualitative. Design has become an institution obsessed with qualitative issues since the paradigm of cheap energy and easy access to resources took over the world. After all, who needs to be quantitative when there is so much abundance? But with over 6 billion people on a planet facing an ecological crisis, design will need to embrace both the qualitative and quantitative needs of society to be of value. LEED is a great step in the right direction and now we need to couple it up with an improved design process so we can continue the design revolution that is reshaping the way we create our world.

Doug Pierce, AIA, LEED AP

1 comment:

B Tempas said...

Once again Doug hits the preverbial nail on the head. I keep scratching my head and wondering, if these people are critical, can't they be equally creative, and suggest improvements or enhancements. If the shoe doesn't fit, for crying out loud, be a change agent for possitive dialogue. Any fool can sit on the sideline and be a critic.