You may have recently read the New York Times article about the gap between LEED building designs and actual energy performance. If not, I would recommend reading the article. You may have also noticed a reference to "construction lawyers":
"Already, some construction lawyers have said that owners might face additional risk of lawsuits if buildings are found to under-perform."
In May 2009, I spoke with Ms. Navarro about legal issues that could arise from under-performing green buildings. I told her that under-performing green buildings might result in unhappy owners when energy performance promises were not met. Even worse, owners might interpret a green building energy performance design as a promise and be disappointed when actual performance does not match. Finally, I pointed Ms. Navarro to Malcolm Lewis of CTG Energetics, who actually corrects energy performance gaps that occur in new buildings.
A lot has happened since my conversation with Ms. Navarro. The USGBC has taken big steps to address the energy performance gap, which the article covers. Remember when we discussed the USGBC's new requirement for reporting of energy data from LEED buildings? Remember how the USGBC threatened to de-certify buildings that do not report energy savings? These actions mean the USGBC is addressing the energy performance gap head on.
Want more proof of how seriously the USGBC is taking this issue? This is from a June 2009 press release from the USGBC:
The U.S. Green Building Council announced this week that Christopher Pyke, Ph. D. has been appointed Research Director. Dr. Pyke joins USGBC from CTG Energetics in Irvine, Calif., where he was National Director of Climate Change Services. He brings a strong background of leadership in green building research to USGBC, underscoring its commitment to raising the bar on research related to green building science and technology, including the performance of LEED-certified buildings. This research will be vital to the ongoing development of the LEED green building certification program.
CTG Energetics is one of the leading building energy performance companies. In hiring Dr. Pyke, the USGBC is investing significant resources into researching energy performance.
Of course, this is all old news. Friday we will discuss new information revealed by the USGBC's Scot Horst that has enormous ramifications for LEED.
Photo: Geoff Livingston
Malcolm Lewis (CTG)