The Paseo Verde Apartments project has recently won “Project of The Year” award, the equivalent of “Best Picture Oscar”, from USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council). In fact, if you search “oscar of green housing” you will find a litany of articles that feature Paseo Verde, and the winning of this award. The marketing/public relations department must have been very hard at work on getting the word out.
This award should be as no surprise as the project has achieved LEED Platinum certification under LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND); it is the first LEED ND project in the country to achieve a Platinum rating.
But hold on…
Let’s take a look at exactly who, and what, LEED for Neighborhood Development exactly is.
LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) is an offshoot of the LEED green building rating system, which was developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council – partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
It just so happens that one of the first projects that LEED-ND took on was the advisement of planning for a new affordable housing development in Philadelphia; specifically at the intersection of 9th and Berks Streets.
I think you can see where this is going by now.
The firm that comes up with LEED “ratings” directly advised on the Paseo Verde project and issued them their “Platinum certification”. So essentially, they gave themselves the “oscar of green housing” for their consultancy.
I can completely understand wanting to give top ratings to a project where you advise the planning , however that seems to be a conflict of interest; and a conflict of opinion shortly followed.
What brought this to my attention was the direct contrast between what people in the community were saying, and what the reporters were regurgitating from the latest PR release.
To sum up what some of the residents had to say about their building winning an award: “I can’t believe that.”
Knowing that Paseo Verde is the first project in the country to achieve a Platinum rating, was directly advised by the same organization that devised this rating system, and has tenants that don’t seem to feel like this award was deserved – the whole affair just seems questionable.
In the end, it’s not what I think; it’s what you think.
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