or recycling process? If so, is
the waste environmentally safe
or toxic? With regard to the
finished product, what’s going
to happen in transportation,
installation, and maintenance?
So now there’s a broader idea
i+s: What are some of the broader issues in the industry with
that thinks beyond eco-product
specification.” It’s all about
And, really, manufacturers
intrinsically “get” life cycle. They
want to stay lean, so it’s more
about the specifying community
thinking that way. With life cycle
and that broader idea, I think it’s really just an awareness. We’re getting
smarter about materials everywhere—whether it’s going into a baby’s nursery
or an office building, we are invested. As a society, we’re more educated
about these things, so we’re more inquisitive. We want to know more.
HH: We’ve been talking about the triple bottom line for a long time—people,
planet, profit, or environment, economy, social, there are different ways to call
it—but we’ve been looking at the planet or environment side, and it seems
like we’re shifting our gaze to look at the people or social side.
i+s: Any closing remarks?
HH: I had a beloved professor at Auburn University, Gaines Thomas Blackwell,
School of Architecture, who had the unique ability to give a fresh perspective.
He said, to paraphrase, ‘It is fearlessness that allows for mistakes to happen,
and sometimes mistakes are the beauty.’ Sometimes your biggest mistakes
are the best things you do, but you have to be gutsy. And that’s where we
are now. It’s going to take fearlessness from specifiers, manufacturers, and
supply chains, and it’s going to be messy as a process, but we’ll come out
so much better than where we are now. I think we need to embrace that.
More than 10 years ago, LEED made the industry aware that the choices we make as designers have a much broader impact on
the world, and growing research on environment
and wellness continue to highlight the importance.
While the in preparation for the LEED version 4
becoming mandatory this November, we sat down
with Holley Henderson, author, speaker, consultant,
LEED Fellow, and all-around sustainability guru to
discuss some of the shifts in the way the industry
INTERIORS+SOURCES: What are the key changes
in LEED v3 to LEED v4?
HOLLEY HENDERSON: It is over 40% technical changes,
so it’s an enormous shift. It’s really the biggest shift
that’s happened since the creation of LEED as far
as technical revisions. We’ve had other types of
revisions in the process, alignment, things like that,
but as far as technical rigor, this is the biggest shift
we’ve seen. Now, what I would say are the biggest
changes within those technical changes is that
it’s focused on life cycle thinking. We’re looking at
a paradign shift in the industry. Plus, it is more
collaborative in nature. We’re asking that designers
and manufacturers look at materials, and to disclose
and optimize those disclosures.
i+s: Would you go into a little bit more about
what that means?
HH: For example, say we have a cake, and we
know all the ingredients that go into a cake. Now
it’s about disclosing in more detail; what’s in the
eggs, what’s in the sugar, what’s in the vanilla. The
first piece of this credit is just disclosing what’s in
the eggs, what’s in the sugar—not judging whether
it’s good or bad, just show us. Then there’s a higher
level of those credits which asks you to optimize
what you’ve revealed. So, you have eggs, but did
you do cage free, organic, etc.? That’s the concept.
i+s: Why is the focus turning towards
encompassing broader ideals?
HH: It was easy for the specifying community to
pick up a one-dimensional concept, and quickly
understand it and integrate it into an already
complex decision-making process. Recycled content
is a good example. You have a can; you throw
it in the recycling and it comes back as something
aluminum. People get that. But now there’s this
broader ideal—this more comprehensive view of
lifecycle thinking. Now it’s: what went into the making
of that can? What materials went into it? And when
it was manufactured, how much energy and water
was used? Was waste generated in the production
Gearing Up for