It’s okay, I totally missed it at Greenbuild, too. Because I wasn’t at Greenbuild. I was here, writing appreciations of impractical but totally cool sludge remediation measures — and, later, long, searching analyses on the future of The Green Building Idea in a dumbed-up political discourse; part two of that will be along tomorrow. Stephen, as you can see at left, was in Chicago at Greenbuild, politicking with the biggest brains in the green building scene and wearing really cool lanyards. I bet it says “participant” or something awesome on it.
Anyway, sour grapes aside — I also know that Stephen jetted back from Chicago at 6am on a Friday morning and logged a long day at work, so I don’t really envy him that much — a lot of interesting stuff went down at Greenbuild 2010, and Stephen will hopefully give us a rundown of his general impressions sometime soon. But, luckily, for those of us who missed out on the Greenbuild thing (or even just on Stephen’s panel discussion there), the good folks at Treehugger asked Stephen and fellow panel members Shari Shapiro (of Green Building Law) and Chris Cheatham (of Green Building Law Update) to take a stab at predicting the future of green building in 2011. All three responses are interesting, of course, but as part of our unofficial Blogging About Blogging approach, we’d be remiss if we didn’t cite some of Stephen’s prognostications. Your requisite spoiler alert: Stephen doesn’t foresee great times ahead for LEED.
Stephen foresees private-sector repercussions on the LEED-related lawsuits currently in the system, both through building-specific suits against developers like the suit at Battery Park City’s The Riverhouse and more macro-scale class-action lawsuits like Henry Gifford’s Opus. But what struck me as most interesting among Stephen’s three predictions was his take on the uncertain future of LEED as a legislative standard — as, for instance, in Long Island’s commitment to incorporating LEED standards into local building codes. As intriguing as suits like the one at The Riverhouse are — and they’re intriguing enough that we’ll certainly continue to cover them here at gbNYC — LEED’s future at the local government level seems far more important to the future both of the USGBC’s brand and to green building itself. Not so much because the success of green building depends on the adoption of LEED standards at what we might call the mini-macro level — it doesn’t, and it could be argued that adopting those standards doesn’t help that broader cause to any great degree — but because it’s at this higher level, more sp than individual big-ticket green real estate developments, that we either will or won’t see competition emerge for LEED, and thus will or won’t see real pressure for improvement on green building’s biggest brand.
“State and local governments will increasingly recognize the limitations of LEED as a legislative tool and begin to incorporate the International Code Council’s Green Construction Code – which now includes Standard 189P as a compliance path – into building codes,” Stephen predicts. “Simultaneously, they will follow the lead of municipalities like New York City and begin to require building performance benchmarking and energy consumption disclosure in order to build a body of performance data to inform next-generation green building legislation.” Shapiro also predicts big things for IGCC in the year ahead.
It’s not terribly in-depth — at least not relative to my epic post on sludge vitrification — but all three sets of predictions are well worth reading, and thinking over. We’ll look more at the IGCC in the weeks ahead, too, as part of what I hope will become a recurring feature on the future of LEED. I’ll get to that right after I finish the whole Tea Party/green building/radical subjectivity thing. Priorities, you know.