I’ve been reading a lot lately about Passive House vs. LEED standards for sustainable building certification.
Although LEED is by far the most recognized green building certifying body in the United States, there are those who believe that The Passive House Standards are more easily adaptable for those who are wishing to build green.
The United States has actually lagged behind over the years compared to other nations in the area of sustainability. Europe has far surpassed the US when it comes to energy saving methodologies. Passive House, or “Passivhaus”, was started in Germany about 18 years ago and has been adopted in most European Countries as the certification of choice.
Known for it’s more comprehensive approach and more streamlined implementation, Passive House will definitely remain a force for years to come. In fact it’s receiving a great deal of acceptance in the US today.
The LEED certification system was started by the USGBC in 1998 and has been revised over the years to what is now LEED 2009 or Version 3.
LEED has become widely accepted by Builders, Developers, Architects, and Building owners as the system of choice for green building standards in the US.
The average energy savings of a LEED certified Building is about 30% compared to a more robust 70% energy efficiency improvement from Passive House methodologies. However Passive House hasn’t been as widely adapted in the US because of it’s dependence on European products like appliances and HVAC systems as well as it’s adaptation to European climate.
Many people claim that the LEED system is much too stringent and difficult to navigate which makes it harder to comply with the credit requirements.
With most of the credits on the scorecard being voluntary, as well as letting the user choose from multiple levels of compliance, (for more available points), I fail to see why this misconception often arises.
LEED has been embraced by several Government facilitators as well as low income Housing developers like Habitat for Humanity.
Both certification systems require third party verification which helps to maintain the integrity and credibility of the programs. LEED has already integrated with other entities like the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. I would hope that the future holds some further integration of all of the programs out there. The synergistic opportunities are endless.
After all, we’re all in it for the same reasons and I see no reason why we can’t work together and share new ideas and work towards the common goal of minimizing our dependence on fossil fuels and working to promote environmental stewardship.