IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/gam/jsusta/v11y2019i6p1672-d215526.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Are LEED-Certified Buildings Energy-Efficient in Practice?

Author

Listed:
  • Ali Amiri

    (Department of Built Environment/School of Engineering, Aalto University, 00076 Espoo, Finland)

  • Juudit Ottelin

    (Department of Built Environment/School of Engineering, Aalto University, 00076 Espoo, Finland)

  • Jaana Sorvari

    (Department of Built Environment/School of Engineering, Aalto University, 00076 Espoo, Finland)

Abstract

Depletion of natural resources and climate change are undoubtedly the biggest challenges that humankind faces today. Here, buildings have a crucial role since they consume the majority, i.e., 30% to 40% of the total energy resources. Green building certification is one of the solutions to limit the energy use in buildings. In addition, it is seen to indicate a consideration for sustainability aspects in construction. LEED is the most widely used certificate worldwide. However, recently some critics have raised doubts about LEED and whether it actually implies sustainability. Most of the criticism has been targeted to the energy aspects of LEED. Nevertheless, there is no consensus on the usefulness of LEED: is it really beneficial for the environment, and is it worth of the money and time invested on the certification process? In this study a critical analysis of the literature to find an answer to this question is presented. Altogether 44 peer reviewed articles dealing with the abovementioned issue were selected out of 164 search result. Based on the studied material, the different aspects of LEED from the viewpoint of energy-efficiency are discussed. From the 44 reviewed articles, ten articles state that LEED certificate indicates energy efficiency while eight papers end up with an opposite conclusion. The rest of the papers do not take any stand on this matter. The study showed that energy efficiency of LEED-certified buildings is questionable especially at lower levels, i.e., certified. Therefore, it is recommended to modify the Energy and Atmosphere category of LEED in order to improve the actual energy performance of buildings.

Suggested Citation

  • Ali Amiri & Juudit Ottelin & Jaana Sorvari, 2019. "Are LEED-Certified Buildings Energy-Efficient in Practice?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(6), pages 1-14, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:6:p:1672-:d:215526
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/6/1672/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/6/1672/
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rastogi, Ankush & Choi, Jun-Ki & Hong, Taehoon & Lee, Minhyun, 2017. "Impact of different LEED versions for green building certification and energy efficiency rating system: A Multifamily Midrise case study," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 205(C), pages 732-740.
    2. Uğur, Latif Onur & Leblebici, Neşe, 2018. "An examination of the LEED green building certification system in terms of construction costs," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 81(P1), pages 1476-1483.
    3. Han-Soo Ryu & Kyung-Soon Park, 2016. "A Study on the LEED Energy Simulation Process Using BIM," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 8(2), pages 1-13, February.
    4. Odysseus Manoliadis & Ioannis Tsolas & Alexandra Nakou, 2006. "Sustainable construction and drivers of change in Greece: a Delphi study," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 113-120.
    5. Giuliano Dall'O' & Annalisa Galante & Nicola Sanna & Karin Miller, 2013. "On the Integration of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ® ND Protocol with the Energy Planning and Management Tools in Italy: Strengths and Weaknesses," Energies, MDPI, vol. 6(11), pages 1-26, November.
    6. Alexander Reichardt, 2014. "Operating Expenses and the Rent Premium of Energy Star and LEED Certified Buildings in the Central and Eastern U.S," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 413-433, October.
    7. Mohamed Matar & Maged Georgy & Moheeb Elsaid Ibrahim, 2008. "Sustainable construction management: introduction of the operational context space (OCS)," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(3), pages 261-275.
    8. Wen-Hsien Tsai & Sin-Jin Lin & Ya-Fen Lee & Yao-Chung Chang & Jui-Ling Hsu, 2013. "Construction method selection for green building projects to improve environmental sustainability by using an MCDM approach," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(10), pages 1487-1510, December.
    9. Lara Jaillon & C. S. Poon, 2008. "Sustainable construction aspects of using prefabrication in dense urban environment: a Hong Kong case study," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(9), pages 953-966.
    10. Jasmin Kientzel & Gerjo Kok, 2011. "Environmental Assessment Methodologies for Commercial Buildings: An Elicitation Study of U.S. Building Professionals’ Beliefs on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 3(12), pages 1-21, December.
    11. Katie Williams & Carol Dair, 2007. "What is stopping sustainable building in England? Barriers experienced by stakeholders in delivering sustainable developments," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 135-147.
    12. Mohamed Issa & Mohamed Attalla & Jeff Rankin & A. John Christian, 2011. "Energy consumption in conventional, energy-retrofitted and green LEED Toronto schools," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 383-395.
    13. Fuerst, Franz & McAllister, Pat, 2011. "Eco-labeling in commercial office markets: Do LEED and Energy Star offices obtain multiple premiums?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1220-1230, April.
    14. Wu, Peng & Song, Yongze & Shou, Wenchi & Chi, Hunglin & Chong, Heap-Yih & Sutrisna, Monty, 2017. "A comprehensive analysis of the credits obtained by LEED 2009 certified green buildings," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 68(P1), pages 370-379.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Mining the Wind? The Economics of Wind Turbines on Skyscrapers
      by Jason Barr in Skynomics Blog on 2019-12-19 13:24:01

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Danielle De Castro & Amy Kim, 2021. "Adaptive or Absent: A Critical Review of Building System Resilience in the LEED Rating System," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(12), pages 1-10, June.
    2. Duy Hoang Pham & Joosung Lee & Yonghan Ahn, 2019. "Implementing LEED v4 BD+C Projects in Vietnam: Contributions and Challenges for General Contractor," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(19), pages 1-17, October.
    3. Prescott C. Ensign & Shawn Roy & Tom Brzustowski, 2021. "Decisions by Key Office Building Stakeholders to Build or Retrofit Green in Toronto’s Urban Core," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(12), pages 1-31, June.
    4. Mohamed Marzouk & Rana Ayman & Zaid Alwan & Nehal Elshaboury, 2022. "Green building system integration into project delivery utilising BIM," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 6467-6480, May.
    5. Carmela Cucuzzella, 2021. "Making the Invisible Visible: Eco-Art and Design against the Anthropocene," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(7), pages 1-16, March.
    6. Vaisi, Salah & Varmazyari, Pouya & Esfandiari, Masoud & Sharbaf, Sara A., 2023. "Developing a multi-level energy benchmarking and certification system for office buildings in a cold climate region," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 336(C).
    7. Ali Amiri & Juudit Ottelin & Jaana Sorvari & Seppo Junnila, 2020. "Economic and Technical Considerations in Pursuing Green Building Certification: A Case Study from Iran," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(2), pages 1-14, January.
    8. Baoquan Cheng & Jingwei Li & Vivian W. Y. Tam & Ming Yang & Dong Chen, 2020. "A BIM-LCA Approach for Estimating the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Large-Scale Public Buildings: A Case Study," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(2), pages 1-15, January.
    9. Ranjita Singh & Philip Walsh & Christina Mazza, 2019. "Sustainable Housing: Understanding the Barriers to Adopting Net Zero Energy Homes in Ontario, Canada," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(22), pages 1-21, November.
    10. Sangtae No & Chungyeon Won, 2020. "Comparative Analysis of Energy Consumption between Green Building Certified and Non-Certified Buildings in Korea," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(5), pages 1-16, February.
    11. Lavinia Chiara Tagliabue & Fulvio Re Cecconi & Sebastiano Maltese & Stefano Rinaldi & Angelo Luigi Camillo Ciribini & Alessandra Flammini, 2021. "Leveraging Digital Twin for Sustainability Assessment of an Educational Building," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(2), pages 1-16, January.
    12. Niina Leskinen & Jussi Vimpari & Seppo Junnila, 2020. "A Review of the Impact of Green Building Certification on the Cash Flows and Values of Commercial Properties," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(7), pages 1-22, March.
    13. Acinia Nindartin & Hee-Woon Moon & Sang-Jun Park & Kyung-Tae Lee & Jin-Bin Im & Ju-Hyung Kim, 2022. "Influencing of the Building Energy Policies upon the Efficiency of Energy Consumption: The Case of Courthouse Buildings in South Korea," Energies, MDPI, vol. 15(18), pages 1-17, September.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Duy Hoang Pham & Joosung Lee & Yonghan Ahn, 2019. "Implementing LEED v4 BD+C Projects in Vietnam: Contributions and Challenges for General Contractor," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(19), pages 1-17, October.
    2. Ali Amiri & Juudit Ottelin & Jaana Sorvari & Seppo Junnila, 2020. "Economic and Technical Considerations in Pursuing Green Building Certification: A Case Study from Iran," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(2), pages 1-14, January.
    3. Anh-Duc Pham & Quang Trung Nguyen & Duc Long Luong & Quynh Chau Truong, 2020. "The Development of a Decision Support Model for Eco-Friendly Material Selection in Vietnam," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(7), pages 1-19, April.
    4. Lihua Liang & Baohua Wen & Feng Xu & Jianwei Yan & Xiangqi Yan & S. Ramesh, 2021. "Linking the Development of Building Sustainability Assessment Tools with the Concept Evolution of Sustainable Buildings," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(22), pages 1-23, November.
    5. Fuerst, Franz & Gabrieli, Tommaso & McAllister, Patrick, 2017. "A green winner's curse? Investor behavior in the market for eco-certified office buildings," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 137-146.
    6. Guangdong Wu, 2017. "A Multi-Objective Trade-Off Model in Sustainable Construction Projects," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(11), pages 1-18, October.
    7. Shijing Yang & Yikun Su & Wei Wang & Kaicheng Hua, 2019. "Research on Developers’ Green Procurement Behavior Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(10), pages 1-23, May.
    8. Stefano Cascone, 2023. "Digital Technologies and Sustainability Assessment: A Critical Review on the Integration Methods between BIM and LEED," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(6), pages 1-16, March.
    9. Soad Abokhamis Mousavi, 2022. "Sustainable Hotel Building Local Assessment Model: A Case of Northern Cyprus," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(19), pages 1-21, October.
    10. Serik Tokbolat & Ferhat Karaca & Serdar Durdyev & Rajnish Kaur Calay, 2020. "Construction professionals’ perspectives on drivers and barriers of sustainable construction," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 22(5), pages 4361-4378, June.
    11. Che khairil Izam Che Ibrahim & Seosamh B. Costello & Suzanne Wilkinson, 2013. "Development of a conceptual team integration performance index for alliance projects," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(11), pages 1128-1143, November.
    12. Ravijanya Chippagiri & Hindavi R. Gavali & Rahul V. Ralegaonkar & Mike Riley & Andy Shaw & Ana Bras, 2021. "Application of Sustainable Prefabricated Wall Technology for Energy Efficient Social Housing," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(3), pages 1-12, January.
    13. Wei Wang & Shoujian Zhang & Yikun Su & Xinyang Deng, 2019. "An Empirical Analysis of the Factors Affecting the Adoption and Diffusion of GBTS in the Construction Market," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(6), pages 1-24, March.
    14. Praveenkumar Thaloor Ramesh & Elangovan Nattanmai Swaminathan, 2024. "A Synergetic Effect of the Integration of Lean, Sustainable Construction Practices and Alliance Contract on Operation Performance in the Indian Construction Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 16(5), pages 1-16, February.
    15. Zezhou Wu & Changhong Chen & Yuzhu Cai & Chen Lu & Hao Wang & Tao Yu, 2019. "BIM-Based Visualization Research in the Construction Industry: A Network Analysis," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 16(18), pages 1-13, September.
    16. Lei Jiang & Zhongfu Li & Long Li & Yunli Gao, 2018. "Constraints on the Promotion of Prefabricated Construction in China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(7), pages 1, July.
    17. Pei Dang & Zhanwen Niu & Shang Gao & Lei Hou & Guomin Zhang, 2020. "Critical Factors Influencing the Sustainable Construction Capability in Prefabrication of Chinese Construction Enterprises," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(21), pages 1-21, October.
    18. Soad Abokhamis Mousavi & Ercan Hoşkara & Kyle M. Woosnam, 2017. "Developing a Model for Sustainable Hotels in Northern Cyprus," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(11), pages 1-23, November.
    19. Parkinson, Aidan & De Jong, Robert & Cooke, Alison & Guthrie, Peter, 2013. "Energy performance certification as a signal of workplace quality," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1493-1505.
    20. Jin Kook Yang & Le Dinh Thuc & Pham Phu Cuong & Nguyen Van Du & Huu‐Bang Tran, 2023. "Evaluating a driving index of nonresidential green building implementation for sustainable development in developing countries from a Vietnamese perspective," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(3), pages 1720-1734, June.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:6:p:1672-:d:215526. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: MDPI Indexing Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.mdpi.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.