LEED vs. Energy Star Ratings
Green Building Programs and Standards are emerging everywhere. While many are casually compiled and branded, there are a lot of strong programs out there. Two of the leading programs are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and EnergyStar.
The LEED Program is a product of the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). I think the LEED is strong for two reasons: 1) it takes into consideration different building types – there are different LEED programs for Homes, Schools, Retail, Healthcare, and more; and 2) it considers a broad scope of Green Building objectives – including Materials & Resources, Water Efficiency, Site Sustainability, and Indoor Environmental Quality. In contrast, the LEED program has been criticized for 1) having limited emphasis on lifecycle analysis; and 2) demanding a higher implementation cost.
Energy Star, on the other hand, is a residential program that focuses primarily on energy efficiency and indoor air quality. This program appeals to homeowners because it evaluates and makes recommendations on improving the heating, cooling, and water systems within a home – all of these improvements will translate into savings on the energy bill. This government program also offers tax benefits to subscribers – another popular and tangible enhancement. Unfortunately, this program does not consider other Green Building objectives, like Material or Site Selection.
Have any of you been a part of one of these or another Green Building program? What was your experience like?