When the Bank of America Tower opened in 2010, the press praised it as one of the world’s “most environmentally responsible high-rise office building[s].” It wasn’t just the waterless urinals, daylight dimming controls, and rainwater harvesting. And it wasn’t only the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED Platinum certification—the first ever for a skyscraper—and the $947,583 in incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
“What LEED designers deliver is what most LEED building owners want—namely, green publicity, not energy savings,” John Scofield, a professor of physics at Oberlin, testified before the House last year.
Governments, nevertheless, have been happy to rely on LEED rather than design better metrics. Which is why New York’s release of energy data last fall was significant. It provided more public-energy data for a U.S. city than has ever existed. It found the worst-performing buildings use three to five times more energy per square foot than the best ones. It also found that, if the most energy-intensive large buildings were brought up to the current seventy-fifth percentile, the city’s total greenhouse gases could be reduced by 9 percent.
via Bank of America Tower and the LEED Ratings Racket: | New Republic.