Let’s face it, LEED is a great marketing tool, but NOT the solution. “Kudos” to LEED for building awareness and addressing the need to focus upon sustainability of the built environment!
That said, high performance buildings should not cost significantly more that “typical construction”. The paperwork and methods involved in LEED add superfluous costs and will not necessarily yield optimal results. I have entered far too many LEED certified buildings with massive glass multi-story areas and other clearly “non-sustainable” items. There should be little to no cost premium for a sustainable building. Even now, studies show that a 2% premium is all that is required. I would further argue that no premium is really need should basic standards be a requirement and market efficiencies take hold. Also, over the life-cycle of a building, a sustainable, high-performance building will win on ROI every time as only 10%-20% of life-cycle cost go into construction, vs. operations, maintenance, etc.
Efficient ongoing life-cycle management of facilities is the key to sustainability. It is probable that many, if not most LEED buildings constructed are no longer meeting their design goals. Why? They are simply not being monitored maintained on a proactive life-cycle basis. Why not? The culture of our industry and awareness of the true meaning of BIM need dramatic if/not disruptive change and improvement.
BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by technology… not pretty 3D pictures that don’t link to value knowledge domains. Further, collaboration is the key to BIM, and collaboration is dictated by AEC delivery methods. Traditional delivery methods such as design-bid-build (DBB) and even attempts at improving it such as design-build (DB) and construction manager at risk (CMAR) are flawed as they inevitably pit some of the key parties involved against one another.
Integrated project delivery (IPD) and job order contracting (JOC), the latter “IPD-lite” specifically for renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor construction projects, are critical to BIM and to altering the inefficient and adversarial processes that dominant our industry today.