‘Officially Green’

Not to be confused with Soylent Green (or should it?!)

The house is now officially registered with the USGBC, and the City of Chicago Green Permit program.

The official email

The City's official sign

A home, and its sign

The project is projected to be the highest of both group’s ranking systems (Platinum for the USGBC/LEED, and 3-star for the City) Now we just need to build it! 

USGBC is one of the biggest players in the green building industry and is composed of architects, builders, engineers, real-estate professionals, landscape professionals and many other trades people.  For the past 17 years it has worked to establish a 3rd party independent standard for green building.  There are almost 10,000 building professionals who are members of the USGBC and it has many supporters.   It does however have its share of detractors as well.  Like this guy.  Some people fault the system for being more about chasing points than for being about sound ecological construction.  Others complain that the system doesn’t do a good job of rewarding the right things.   

I believe that it’s an important organization which has developed one of the first comprehensive systems for defining what components should go into green building and a scale for determining ‘how green a building is’ relative to others.  It’s not perfect but it is a huge step in the right direction- and it is an organization that continues to evolve its standards based upon input and consensus of the building professionals who work at the front lines of design and construction. 

In much the same way as the USDA definition of ‘organic’ is far from perfect (if there are any doubts about this please read Michael Pollan’s seminal work “The Omnivores Dilemma“), it is a step in the right direction.  As prevalent as ‘greenwashing’ (the masking of poor ecological products with the veil of something sustainable) is today it would probably be worse with out organizations such as the USGBC.

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