LEED Benefits and Disadvantages

LEED certified buildings are supposed to use resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings which are simply built to code. LEED certified buildings often provide healthier work and living environments, which contributes to higher productivity and improved employee health and comfort. The USGBC has compiled a long list of benefits of implementing a LEED strategy which ranges from improving air and water quality to reducing solid waste, benefiting owners, occupiers, and society as a whole.

Often when a LEED rating is pursued, this will increase the cost of initial design and construction. One reason for the higher cost is that sustainable construction principles may not be well understood by the design professionals undertaking the project. This could require time to be spent on research. Some of the finer points of LEED (especially those which demand a higher-than-orthodox standard of service from the construction team) could possibly lead to misunderstandings between the design team, construction team, and client, which could result in delays. Also, there may be a lack of abundant availability of manufactured building components which meet LEED standards. Pursuing LEED certification for a project is an added cost in itself as well. This added cost comes in the form of USGBC correspondence, LEED design-aide consultants, and the hiring of the required Commissioning Authority (CxA) – all of which would not necessarily be included in an environmentally responsible project unless it were also seeking a LEED rating.

However, these higher initial costs can be effectively mitigated by the savings incurred over time due to the lower-than-industry-standard operational costs which are typical of a LEED certified building. Additional economic payback may come in the form of employee productivity gains incurred as a result of working in a healthier environment. Studies have suggested that an initial up-front investment of 2% extra will yield over ten times the initial investment over the life cycle of the building.

Although the deployment of the LEED standard has raised awareness of green building practices, its scoring system is skewed toward the ongoing use of fossil fuels. More than half of the available points in the standard support efficient use of fossil fuels, while only a handful are awarded for the use of sustainable energy sources. Further, the USGBC has stated support for the Architecture 2030, an effort that has set a goal of using no fossil-fuel, greenhouse gas-emitting energy to operate by 2030.

In addition to focusing on efficient use of fossil fuels, LEED focuses on the end product. For example, because leather does not emit VOCs they are deemed healthy for environments, disregarding the use of extremely harmful chemicals in the process of tanning leather. Other products that do not use harmful chemicals and focus on more sustainable production do not earn any additional points for their attention to environmental concerns.

LEED is a measurement tool and not a design tool. It is also not yet climate-specific, although the newest version hopes to address this weakness partially. Because of this, designers may make materials or design choices that garner a LEED point, even though they may not be the most site or climate-appropriate choice available.

Latest News

4-5-2013

  Spring Branch Labeled site plan Spring Branch Park is excited to add a 120 bed Nursing Care facility and a 77 bed Assisted Living facility to the project.  

3-1-2013

In Clayton, the eighth-fastest growing town in North Carolina, Johnston Health built a $30 million medical center that includes an emergency department, diagnostic imaging and lab services, and two operating rooms. The medical center is located on N.C. Hwy. 42 West near the intersection with Amelia Church Road. Johnston Health has plans to expand JMC-Clayton […]

2-1-2013

The 77 Bed Assisted Care Facility Construction is Nearing Completion!

10-31-2012

Spring Branch Park Hosts Grand Opening for 30,000 square foot Medical Office Building

8-1-2012

Spring Branch Park Completes Monument Sign and Entrance

6-5-2012

Tenants are excitedly moving into Spring Branch Park upon the completion of our first 30,000 square foot Medical Office Building

4-30-2012

Spring Branch Park Begins Construction on Connector Road to Johnston Medical Center Clayton

3-1-2012

Construction of first 30,000 square foot Medical Office building nearing completion

9-20-2011

          Sitework at Spring Branch Park is continuing on schedule. Below is a picture of the progress as of 9/19  

6-23-2011

After completing the sitework Lundy is scheduled to begin vertical construction on the first medical office building in August. We are currently wrapping up the design process and are looking to deliver the first medical office building in the spring of 2012.  This will include the Phase 1 improvements as well as direct access to the hospital […]