- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes now being pilot tested by the US Green Building Council is a good start, however it still requires a lot of work. In particular it is weak in the area of implementing renewable energy systems in buildings, in particular "passive solar" which is almost never mentioned except as an afterthought.
Also solar in general is restricted largely to PV electric panel systems that are not yet cost effective without subsidies, compared to solar water heating which is, but is well buried in the guide.
Until these and other errors and omissions are fixed LEED for Homes will permit builders to blow off important potential energy savings while grand-fathering in traditional measures; insulation, expensive windows, air-tightness...so much for an innovative approach to green building.
Just because a consultant has "LEED AP" after their name does not mean they actually know anything substantial about building science, materials properties, indoor environment, site development, water conservation and other important practicum of the art. Insist on seeing other references to training they have obtained, BESIDES just the LEED exam prep workshops.
Good luck on finding that truly green builder. Fortunately for Oregonians they are out there since OR has historically been ahead of the curve on energy efficiency, passive solar, and IEQ. Final note: getting true green is about a holistic team approach - ask the builder who was on their environmental building team and you might be surprised at the answer.
(Find some excellent info at: www.oikos.com)
(Posted on February 3, 2007, 10:42 am B D H)