The One Book the Green Building Industry Needs to Read

by: EJ on 05/10/2016

Jerry Yudelson's Reinventing Green Building: Why Certification Systems Aren't Working and What We Can Do About It has just come off press.  Nicknamed the "Godfather of Green", Jerry Yudelson is the ideal person to write this insider's critique of the LEED certification system.

Jerry Yudelson-005_MED

He is a LEED Fellow, Federal GSA National Peer Professional and the author of 13 books on green buildings, water conservation, green homes, green marketing and sustainable development. He has been involved in the green building movement since 1997 and co-founded the first USGBC chapter, Cascadia, in 1998. Jerry also served for six years as chair of the steering committee for Greenbuild, the largest green building conference and trade show in the US. He was one of the first ten faculty members in the US for the LEED system and has trained nearly 4,000 building industry professionals in the LEED system.

The green building revolution has failed to fulfill its promise to transform the marketplace in a meaningful way. With the green building certification systems now on the market, less than four percent of the US building area has been certified and this is comprised of less than one percent of the buildings.  In this respect, we must ask: Has LEED become irrelevant to achieving building sustainability, especially with respect to cutting global carbon emissions more rapidly? If so, what new approach (or approaches) would prove more relevant and create a faster response to the carbon issue?

 Yudelson recommends three key characteristics for any new green building rating systems :


1.     Smart—it readily incorporates new technologies and new approaches for building design and operations.

2.     Simple (but not simplistic)—it does not get enmeshed in overly refining measures such as energy efficiency or trying to incorporate every sustainability nuance (such as urban heat island effect or urban habitat creation), but keeps its focus on reducing direct and indirect carbon emissions.

3.     Sustainable—it deals with key sustainability issues, including energy use, water use and waste diversion, along with Scope 3 carbon emissions and ecological purchasing practices.

Read more about Yudelson's approach to intelligent buildings in his blog post at



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