Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sustainably Building Guidelines

I read through the Athena presentation on LEED and LCA. I really like it, and I'm very sympathetic to the critique of LEED and the push for the use of LCA in sustainable building guidelines. From what I've seen LCA with effective impact assessment is the best environmental sustainablity metrics out there. LCA isn't perfect, but it's constantly getting better, and I think it provides the best systemic analysis of environmental decisions. Later on, I'll probably do a post on LCIA. I wrote a term paper on it for CE 577, that may be of interest. From a preliminary look, I think I'd prefer BEES to LEED, but LEED is definitely a step in the right direction. It just appears to focus too much on proxies, like amount of recycled material, and not enough on actual end points or damage avoidance. Recycle more is a good rule of thumb, or general heuristic for most consumers, but sustainable building is too important to not perform a full quantitative analysis. I'll write more about sustainable building guidelines after the class discussion tonight.

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