Love might be too strong of a word but you get the point. The idea of LEED de-certification has touched off a firestorm of comments, some in support and others in objection. I think a follow up post is warranted.
First, I want to clarify one important piece of information as I noticed some were heading down the wrong path. The LEED 2009 Minimum Project Requirements (MPR) require, among other things, that projects report energy performance data. If projects do not report energy data, then LEED certification may be revoked (i.e. de-certification). The USGBC has not stated that LEED certification will be revoked for poor energy performance itself. Go take a look at the USGBC's MPR webpage if you get a moment.
Furthermore, the USGBC's decision to require energy reporting and threaten LEED de-certification makes sense. Why?
The number of people complaining about LEED certified projects that were not reporting energy performance reductions was growing everyday. Ever heard of Henry Gifford? He actually engaged in an open debate with the USGBC in March 2009 about the merits of LEED certification. This was not good press. This was not a good development for the USGBC.
In response, the USGBC took a dramatic step to fix the problem. The USGBC has taken what I think is only the first step to ensure improved energy performance. Additionally, the USGBC used the only "stick" (i.e. enforcement mechanism) it had available: LEED de-certification.
On Wednesday, there was a great piece in ENR regarding the LEED energy reporting and de-certification. Both an American Institute of Architects representative and a Building Owners and Managers Association representative came out in favor of the reporting requirements. Of course, there was some criticism in the ENR article regarding LEED de-certification:
The “bottom line” is, these conditions “may end up doing more harm than good for the future vitality” of LEED, says attorney Edward B. Gentilcore, a partner of Duane Morris LLP, Pittsburgh. “This would be a significant loss in light of the accomplishments to date,” he adds.
Mr. Gentilcore is a fellow construction attorney. Us attorneys are going to be worried about any new requirement that creates additional risk and liability. That is why we are here. We are here to worry about your risks and liability.
The moral of the story? As LEED 2009 changes are implemented, your contracts need to change as well. Let us do the worrying for you.