The Green Tragedy

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The Green Tragedy

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For the last 10 years, needed improvements in energy-efficient building standards have been stymied by a green marketing scheme. It’s time for a change.

Buildings consume more than 50% of our nation’s energy. Climate change and diminishing fossil fuel resources are forcing the U.S. building industry to deeply cut building energy use. Unfortunately, the “green building” movement has had minimal impact on reducing buildings’ energy consumption.

In The Green Tragedy: LEED’s Lost Decade, energy analyst and former builder Pat Murphy traces the history of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, and shows where its leadership relative to energy has been lacking. Murphy criticizes LEED for setting a low energy performance level for certification and for a lack of transparency about the actual energy performance of its certified buildings. He also argues that the USGBC has shown a tendency to dismiss legitimate critiques of its system. 

While revealing the lost opportunity of LEED’s first decade, Murphy also outlines the steps necessary to change our nation’s policy on building energy, starting with what LEED could do to regain its credibility. He contrasts LEED’s performance of 25-30% energy savings with the dramatic 75% energy savings achieved by the German Passive House standard in 15,000 buildings in Europe.

The analysis and recommendations developed in this book provide a rallying point for architects, builders, and homeowners ready to take responsibility for dramatically reducing energy consumption in our homes, stores, and offices.

By Pat Murphy