Chris Schooley, until recently a leader in Stonehaus’s Belvedere project off Rio Road East, has gone on the record saying that he would not recommend that other developers adopt the LEED certification program.
The Schooley interview is posted on a new blog by Brant Meyer, a local development consultant. During Schooley’s time at Stonehaus (he recently left to start his own business), he was a vocal proponent of the idea that Belvedere, a multi-hundred-unit development, would achieve sustainability with EarthCraft-certified housing and because, as a whole, it was part of the LEED Neighborhood Development Pilot Program. Not only
Belvedere ran into some troubles with LEED, former development manager Chris Schooley says.
would the houses sport no-VOC paint, but the whole thing, with its on-site organic farm and walkable layout, was supposed to make it easier for residents to leave a smaller footprint.
Now that Schooley is out on his own, he says that from a developer’s standpoint, LEED is tough to actually implement. Costs can get out of control, Schooley says, because people in the industry are still getting used to green building and have trouble estimating what things will cost. He also speaks about complications in the design process and says he was surprised that fewer buyers than he’d expected were seeking out green design.
Instead of signing on with LEED, Schooley says he’d advise other developers to simply adopt their own program of green goals and use those to advance PR, in the same way that Belvedere has made LEED a central part of its marketing.
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