It’s not that easy being green… It’s that easy saying you’re green
It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that
-Kermit the Frog
Bein’ green might not be that easy for Kemit, but for some development projects it seems all to easy “bein’ green.” In fact it seems easy to be Silver, Gold, or even Platinum, “Green,” or in this case LEED certified.
LEED certification takes into account a number of green practices and technologies. These might include the re-use of materials, utilizing renewable energy sources, the use of energy efficient windows and lighting, weatherization, grey water systems, and numerous other items all of which are a great step towards being green. But missing from LEED certification seems to be a key component of actually bein’ green.
Transportation. A site can fail any true measure of bein’ “green” if it requires automobile use to access or is for the express purpose of serving the automobile. Be it the emissions, heavy metals and toxins auto’s spread, oil consumption, storm water impacts due to land use demanded by automobile use, the automobile brings with it negative environmental impacts that need to be taken into account.
Here in Milwaukee, the recently completed parking garage at The Brewery project received LEED Gold Certification, because it used LED lighting and recycled building debris allowing it to receive enough points to meet the standard. No question, it is good the project used these methods and incorporated energy efficient features, but the the purpose of a parking garage should disqualify, or at least severely handicap it, in its ability to receive LEED certification. The building’s primary use is to support, essentially encourage, automobile use, an inherently anti-green function. The LEED standards are a start and a step in the right direction, but it needs continual refinement and improvement if it wants to truly be green.