"Green" Buildings Actually Use More Energy

March 12, 2014

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings use more energy than non-LEED buildings, says the Daily Caller.

Washington, D.C., has the largest number of certified green buildings in all of the United States. But apparently that certification means very little. According to a new report from the Environmental Policy Alliance, buildings that received the LEED certification actually use more energy than the buildings that did not get certified.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the environmental group that developed LEED standards, and Washington, D.C., mandated that public buildings be LEED-certified. Energy usage is measured in what are known as EUIs (energy use intensity), units that compare energy consumption to a building's size. The greater the consumption, the higher the EUI number.

  • USGBC's own headquarters in Washington received the platinum LEED certification (the top score for energy efficiency), despite it having an EUI of 236. Non-LEED buildings in D.C., on the other hand, have an average EUI of 199.
  • In short, "LEED ratings have no bearing on actual energy efficiency," says Anastasia Swearingen, who led the research for the Environmental Policy Alliance.
  • LEED grades buildings on ideal conditions (such as all occupants shutting lights off at night and turning off computers), but it doesn't actually look at how much energy is actually used once the building is occupied.

Washington, D.C., acknowledged the concerns over the LEED standards but has no plans to back off the mandate. Since 2010, the city has taken in $5.2 million in permit fees for the program.

Source: Sarah Hurtubise, "Report: D.C.'s Green-Approved Buildings Using More Energy," Daily Caller, March 2, 2014.

 

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