A recent Op-Ed piece by Alec Applebaum in The New York Times takes issue with the current LEED system over its inability to measure a building's energy performance over time, or to repeal certification if tenants or owners miss their energy-saving mark. As a result, LEED-buildings could turn into just as much of a drain on the planet's resources as their non-certified neighbors—unless the agency issues some follow-up requirements.
As Applebaum writes, "a building's LEED rating is more like a snapshot taken at its opening, not a promise of performance. Unless local, state and federal agencies do their part to ensure long-term compliance with the program's ideals, it could end up putting a shiny green stamp on a generation of unsustainable buildings."
Applebaum recommends that government agencies establish incentives to promote the sustained use of eco-friendly building characteristics. For example, buildings that achieve a higher LEED rating should qualify for subsidies, those that generate on-site power should be able to claim tax credits, and tenants should be able to claim rebates for reusing paper or installing efficient lighting.
More importantly, though, is that agencies should initiate regular energy-use checkups to ensure that buildings are complying with their LEED certification. Those that don't will forfeit their rating and the accompanying subsidies.
Read the full piece at The New York Times.