Kaid Benfield Archive


Terrific post by Jacobean on LEED and sprawl

Kaid Benfield

Posted April 8, 2009 at 10:03PM

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I have periodically written on the theme of buildings claiming to be "green" when they aren't, really, because their location causes more problems than their on-site technology solves.  (For an example, see my post about a new corporate headquarters in the midst of Illinos farmland and little else.)

  Great River Energy HQ, Maple Grove, MN (via City of Lakes Urbanism)

The blogger Jacobean on his blog City of Lakes Urbanism has now made a very similar point with regard to a new LEED-platinum building in Maple Grove, Minnesota.  See any maple trees in that photo?  I didn't think so.

Here is Jacobean:

"Perhaps the building is sustainable from a point of view of construction materials and on-site energy and water conservation, but from a land-use point of view, this is nothing more than typical suburban sprawl. The gigantic parking lot takes up more space than the building itself. The site is accessible only by a major arterial highway, which contributes to vehicle travel and congestion. The building is set back far from surrounding buildings, which reduces the practicality and attractiveness of making short trips to or from the building by walking.

"This type of development should not be eligible to receive the highest ranking in sustainable building practices. It deserves appraisal for its efforts at on-site energy and conservation, but to give such a development LEED-Platinum status gives support to the idea that sprawling, auto-dependent development can be sustainable . . ."

Much more in the excellent post here.