Not all communities put equal emphasis on all environmental and sustainability goals. What’s important in your jurisdiction may not be important elsewhere. A green building program that awards a density bonus for the installation of solar panels may make sense in sunny Florida. But it may be less important in cloudy Minnesota.
So how do you ensure that buildings are fairly and appropriately judged? How do create criterion that makes sense for your community? The use of a building assessment system—a tool to rate the sustainability of buildings, site development, and neighborhood—reduces the arbitrary decisions about what is a green building, and ensure credibility.
In this 12-page IQ Report, you get nuts-and-bolts advice and a tool to compare the pros and cons of various approaches to building assessments.
- The differences between sustainable building and green building assessment systems
- Why developers of LEED-certified buildings focus on “low-hanging fruit” instead of specific environmental concerns
- The drawbacks of using national building assessments, and an overview of 6 leading national building assessments
- Why Howard County, Maryland developed their own site and home development rating system
- Advice on how to compare five key characteristics of building assessment systems Why you should exercise caution when trying to determine the environmental focus of a system
- Methods for local adaptation of national building assessment systems
- Why Seattle, Washington adopted several building assessments and why King County, Washington developed a local supplement to the LEED building assessment system
- And much, much more
About the author
Rebecca Retzlaff, PhD, is an assistant professor in the community planning program at Auburn University. She teaches environmental planning, land use planning, and historic preservation. She has worked as a planner with the City of Detroit and the American Planning Association.
(2009, vol. 41, no. 3)