LEED: The success case worth mining for insight

Worth the review: The Green Building Impact Report.

I’ve just begun a read of this, but am already seeing this as an exemplar case study in large-scale, cross-organizational change. We need a LEED effort for food…for transportation…

What is most fascinating to me (and I need to dive into this further) is the fact that the LEED effort has strong links to a particular profession (or set of related professions) — architecture and the building professions.

One of the things we look at in organizational change is the impact of communities of practice, or networks of practice — those people who share a common language and way of thinking that is associated with a profession. That common ground and interest connects them in a way that is productive, and once there is a change afoot, this community can become a catalyst for it or a barrier to it. So — what makes it work? And why has it worked for architects and builders, but not for — say — automotive engineers? Or farmers?

If I had to hypothesize, I am sure it is the combination of several factors (the structure of the architecture and building industry is not the same as the auto industry or farming, for example).

But underneath this is the question that everyone seems to want to get at. We’ve got lots of parts of industries that “get it” and are moving toward more sustainable practices. What does it take to get real traction, in the sense the kind of productivity and results produced by LEED certification?

One thought on “LEED: The success case worth mining for insight

  1. Why has it worked for architects and builders but not for farmers? The bottom line is – because it works for clients. The architects and builders have a market for it. I will be curious to see if it keeps working. What most clients are saying now is – well if I do all the things I need to do in order to be LEED Platinum – why would I pay for the certification? I am doing it anyway, I am doing the right thing. And so they have LEED buildings but no certification. So the real question is not why don’t the farmers and auto industry workers get it – but why don’t the buyers? How do you create a market for it? You can see it starting to happen – more people are concerned about buying locally and organic. But there was a hitch there – there is no guarantee that organic means the same thing twice – and people aren’t willing to pay for a maybe. This is why everyone uses union electricians – years back they launched a huge marketing campaign and sold everyone on the idea that non-union electricians were unsafe. And people were willing to pay more to keep their homes safe. Create a green market in any industry and the providers will get it quickly enough.


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