More trouble! This time with LEED
“Green” building standards and codes are proliferating all over the world. This, of course, is a good thing because we need to build more efficiently and sustainably in order to address climate change.
But what is not so good is that many of these codes are using the North American rating system LEED as the benchmark and LEED does not properly recognise the role of wood in reducing the carbon content of a building. Wood is renewable and it stores carbon yet under the LEED accreditation scheme you get the same credit for using wood in a building (whatever the volume) as you do for the inclusion of a bicycle rack! Yes LEED does give some credit for wood but it also demands that it must be FSC certified as if this is the only measure of sustainability it accepts. Interestingly, sustainable certification is not required for non-renewables, such as steel and concrete. When Hopkins architects designed the new faculty of forestry for Yale University they achieved the highest LEED accreditation (Platinum) and in the process used large quantities of American red oak for the interior. Half of which came from Yale’s own forestlands. But bizarrely they were faced with a situation that in order to comply with the LEED requirements the red oak logs could not be processed by the local sawmill a few miles a way as it did not have FSC accreditation, with the nearest option being over 300 miles away!