Posts filed under ‘Environmental Issues’

LEED Accreditation – Fad or Necessity?

By Carol Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com

View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn

Is it really necessary to become a LEED accredited professional (LEED AP)? Can you design for sustainability without having LEED accreditation?  Is this just another acronym to put on a business card? Or, as some suggest, is this a half hearted attempt by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to exploit the demand for solutions to environmental issues and make some money along the way?

Just a few years ago only a select few individuals had LEED AP following their name.  Now more than 75,000 architects and engineers proudly display this designation to demonstrate their prowess in green building, strategies and technologies. The USGBC clearly states that the “LEED Professional Accreditation distinguishes building professionals with the knowledge and skills to successfully steward the LEED certification process.” As LEED certification becomes better defined, the LEED AP testing has become more difficult and comprehensive.

The LEED train has left the station and whether critics like it or not, it is here to stay. Therefore, having LEED AP on your resume will become a necessity and possibly valued in the future as the PE, AIA, RLA or AICP designations are now. Whether one can or has designed with an eye to sustainability in the past will no longer matter, without having the acronym after their name.  Experts concur that, for now, LEED is here to stay and one might as well get on board.

Do understand that as the U.S. increases desirability and need for green design, skeptics are becoming louder and activists more outspoken. Pete Wann’s blog on the “Fashion of LEED Bashing” suggests that the original critics were builders and developers and that today’s naysayers are those from the environmental and architectural traditionalist movements. While an Internet search turned up plenty of arguments on both sides of the recycled fence, I still think that in spite of its flaws and inadequacies, the LEED program is better than nothing when it motivates people to seriously face the future environmental challenges. And if we are going to have universally accepted guidelines (I don’t see the USGBC going away) then why not have professionals accredited? What do you think?

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June 25, 2009 at 7:57 am 19 comments

Water and Air…The “New” Environmental Concerns

By Carol A. Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC 
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com

The world has accepted the concept of sustainability.  That is: the need to be socially conscious, environmentally sensitive and aware. Go green, green recruiting, green design, green buildings, green initiatives, save green, green living, green products…green, green, green.  We have been saturated but, I hope, NOT desensitized.  Corporations went through branding programs and corporate logos turned green. It is reported that approximately 300,000 green trademarks were filed with the U.S. patent office in 2007.  These are all good things.  The concept of sustainability is sound, based in logic and implemented with reason.

Last year, advertising and trend watching firm JWT predicted that we will see blue replacing green as the color of environmentalism and social consciousness.  They suggest that the  “blue is the new green” concept signals a fundamental shift in the environmental movement.  I am not sure why it is a color shift…other than maybe a marketing technique. Even the Earth Day Network website has “gone blue.”  Are the new environmental concerns focusing on sky and sea –  water and air?  Are these really new concerns? Water and air quality have been in the foreground of civil and environmental engineering  projects for the 20 years I have been involved with our business.  

What do you think? 

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April 1, 2009 at 10:35 pm 4 comments

Outgoing Bush “Midnight” Environmental Legislation

By Carol Metzner, President, The Metzner Group, LLC and Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com

Tim Dickinson has written an excellent synopsis for Rolling Stone magazine on President Bush’s final legacy and good-bye gift to us for our future.  The title is somewhat rough for some of you, so I won’t put it here, but I offer to you the link:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/24991066/bushs_final_fu

As it is expected that every outgoing president has implemented 11th hour regulations, “Bush is rolling them out at a record pace — nearly twice as many as Clinton, and five times more than Reagan.”

Here are just a FEW of his final goodbye gifts to all of us (with a few of my thoughts included!)…

Considering that my livelihood depends a great deal on infrastructure development, I read his last minute regulations with interest. “Under a rule submitted in November, federal agencies would no longer be required to have government scientists assess the impact on imperiled species before giving the go-ahead to logging, mining, drilling, highway building or other development.”  I can’t say that I have ever described myself as a live or die environmentalists, but at 47, I find this unsettling at the least! You only need to read my earlier BLOG discussing my obsession with the movie “Soylent Green” to know that this is beyond worrisome!

Typical of the Bush presidency, he has made sure that the  coal industry has no problems depositing their waste from mountaintop mining into streams and valleys.  Additionally, he has lowered air pollution regulations near our national parks, permitted for nearly 2 million acres of lands for the mining of oil shale — “an energy-intensive process that also drains precious water resources” and he has deregulated farming pollution. He has circumvented the Clean Water Act and dismissed EPA leaders dissents. This is just more of his legacy he has solidified for his future grandchildren and yours.

The Rolling Stone article details so many other last minute, little front news regulations, that I am too troubled to even list them all!

All of us will be affected by his decisions.  Involved in our industry, what do you think? Please comment!

January 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm 4 comments

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