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“The Green Tragedy: LEED’s Lost Decade” Now in Print

I’m glad to be back after a great wedding and honeymoon- thanks to everyone who passed along their regards.

Back in August, you may recall that Community Solutions executive director Pat Murphy authored the first piece of a three-part survey titled “LEEDing from Behind: The Rise and Fall of Green Building,” which we noted here at GRELJ. Our article pointing you to the piece generated quite a bit of commentary and, now that Mr. Murphy has completed Parts 2 and 3, we thought we’d point you to his new book compiling the survey which is titled “The Green Tragedy: LEED’s Lost Decade.” The book was released while I was away last month and builds on Part 1 by tracing the historical argument promoting minimal green building cost premiums, reviewing the ongoing marketing efforts behind LEED, and concluding that policy makers should demand energy efficiency standards more akin to the German Passive House rather than “cheap quick ‘green’ solutions.”

Interestingly, in the preface, Murphy observes that “[w]e are now faced with a movement to adopt LEED as part of our building codes. An over-marketed standard that is under serious attack for its poor energy performance is now being proposed and accepted by cities as a requirement for our buildings. The idea of accepting as law an inadequate standard that has been developed by the building industry – thereby allowing that industry to usurp the long-established methodology of setting building standards by government policy- is absurd and dangerous.”

In addition to their significant legal implications, these remarks resonate with the conclusions of the recent NIBS report and, in my opinion, portend the types of critiques I believe we will see more forcefully in 2010 if LEED buildings do not perform at a statistically higher level under Version 3.0. Mr. Murphy’s book is available here, and I look forward to continuing the robust discussion that emerged after we noted Part I here at GRELJ in the comments below.

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