Among other endeavors, I have been certifying LEED homes as a provider representative for about two years now. In order to continue doing this work after next year, USGBC and GBCI have decided that I must become certified as a green rater. After looking at my various options for obtaining this designation, I elected to take a two-day training class in advance of the required test. Not uncharacteristically, I bristled at the thought that I would have to spend my time and money learning something I was already doing. To my surprise, the class, taught by Laura Capps and Kevin Stack, was both informative and engaging. I picked up on a lot of small details about the program and believe that I gained additional knowledge that will help me do a better job certifying homes under the program.
OK, enough praise
As these thoughts drifted in and out during the class, a question occurred to me: if you are insane, can you be aware of it? I think that some green building programs in general don’t always have a firm grasp on reality and are veering off into their own versions of insanity. Two days of training on the intricacies of LEED for Homes, while answering many questions, also raised more. The program continues to get more complicated rather than less, which I believe is the wrong direction. We need to make green building simple while not watering it down, something that many people believe is possible.
The industry and the general public are wrestling with about 100 different programs representing cities, counties, regions, and the entire country. As I discussed in an earlier post, various programs are fighting each other for market share, causing confusion for everyone including the general public, the building industry, and green building experts. I am concerned that the combination of too many competing programs and their increasing complexity may lead to a backlash from consumers before the market settles on one, or a few “winners.” On top of this, the 2009 IECC and Energy Star 2011 are coming down the pike, creating conflicts with various programs that need to change just to keep up.
Is anyone listening?
While I have my issues with all green certification programs, including LEED, I appreciate that as a group they are continually raising the bar on home construction and renovation, in addition to providing me with ongoing work and income. But have they lost their way and become stuck in their own realities, or unrealities, as the case may be? I don’t believe that these programs need to be as complicated as they are. I think sometimes that program developers are sadists who sit in underground rooms conspiring new and different ways to torment the people trying to certify buildings. All I can say is, I hope those people are reading this and taking my plea to heart.