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Monday, June 8, 2009

Green Certification...not good news!

This week-end we received news thatwe would not be able to be certified as a LEED-ND community. It was very disappointing because the areas that we fell short in, are areas that can not be changed at this point. There is an environmental prerequisite and though we satisfied local, state and federal requirements, we could not satisfy the LEED requirement. Since it is a prerequisite, none of the other issues matter.

Overall, I think it is good that USGBC is trying to recognize neighborhoods but I think the program has many kinks to work out. If your project is in a dense, urban area surrounded by existing development and your buildings are already designed, you should probably pursue the certification. If your projext falls into Stage 2 under USGBC's guidelines, I would proceed with extreme caution. You likely won't have the information in the format (e.g., already built) that USGBC is looking for. When asked to provide estimates, USGBC did not accept our estimates. We were using the best information that we had to make a realistic and achievable projection. To be told that your estimate is not acceptable by a committee that is not located in the area nor that understands local markets, is frustrating.

Was it worth it? We spent ten of thousands of dollars and much of it was wasted on trying to guess what USGBC wanted. If you are considering the program, I would wait until USGBC provides concrete examples of what is acceptable and concrete examples of how they want the information provided. Too often, the existing examples only applied to Stage 1 projects so the other two stages did not have clear guidance. The program is probably best suited for Stage 1 projects. Knowing that, I would not pursue it if I had it to do over again.

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