One of the major points of contention is that the USGBC in the past awarded LEED status for design features only, while failing to track and report whether these features actually led to subsequent reductions in energy usage — which a cynical observer might interpret as a focus on the image, rather than the reality, of energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. (The USGBC has since instituted a reporting requirement, although certification will continue to be awarded at the time of project completion.)
The merits of this particular suit aside, the LEED standards have been faulted for other reasons (by no means an exhaustive list):
- By historical preservationist groups claiming that the standards encourage tear-downs rather than rehabilitation (in an odd echo of mid-20th century urban renewal incentives);
- For not tackling the issue of minimum parking requirements given that driving habits contribute far more to total energy use than in-home heating, cooling and lighting systems;
- For inexplicably providing bonuses for reducing building footprints thereby encouraging sprawling patterns of development.