Why the LEED Dynamic Plaque is the way to go

LEED Dynamic Plaque

This article originally appeared at Integral Group.

I admit it. I too get comfortable with the way things are. It requires so little mental effort to just keep doing what you’re doing and getting what you get.

But if you aspire to be a leader, if you are determined to make a difference, you have to jerk yourself out of your comfort zone and get on to the next thing, even while others are either complacent or — worse — expending valuable energy trying to keep things around them from changing so they don’t have to.

Which brings me to the new LEED Dynamic Plaque.

From the moment I first heard about it, my engineering heart started racing. Here was an idea that had real potential to ignite the next wave of green building practice, especially around how we get certified buildings and tenant spaces to commit to continuous improvement post LEED plaque, and potentially vastly improve the performance of all existing buildings.

But then, my inbox started filling up with all sorts of irrational negative talk about the LEED Dynamic Plaque. I was stunned by what I was seeing and hearing, so much so that I did what any good engineer worth his salt would do: I decided to get my hands dirty.

Here’s what I found out:

The LEED Dynamic Plaque is far from finished, but it’s a darn good starting place. And it’s built on one of the key pillars of today’s technology revolution: ready, fire, aim. That is, get something in the market, then iterate as fast and as often as possible. The good folks at USGBC have committed to doing just that, and they want your thoughtful feedback.

The LEED Dynamic Plaque might be a really elegant display and some kick-ass software, but its real value is as an engagement tool. The fact that it focuses on both the things we can measure automatically — energy and water — as well as engages humans in tracking waste, transportation and experience means that we finally have a way for people to be hands-on in the management of their space. Victory!

The LEED Dynamic Plaque is intentionally disruptive because it has to be. It’s no longer enough to have just the rating system and a bunch of intermediaries who have become comfortable by limiting the progress of market transformation to only that for which they have been able to take a cut. We have to shake up the conversation so that we can get to the straight talk about: one, building performance; and two, the fundamental changes in human performance required to pave the way for how we can best continually improve our existing buildings. This will be a huge tool for our volunteers and LEED APs to use in order to show the market how we’re pursuing radical relevancy.

What I’ve observed the past few weeks would be humorous if it weren’t so serious. I have to quote Elvis here: We can’t go on with a suspicious mind. The LEED Dynamic Plaque is here to stay, and we need to get on with making it the best it can be. Yes, it needs to evolve. Yes, it won’t be for everyone. Yes, it will require us all to do a bit of a mind shift. So what? Its promise for facilitating our march to better building performance is not one we want to put back into the box. Instead, we need to deploy it at warp speed and keep making it better every day.

Last night we celebrated the installation of a LEED Dynamic Plaque in our Los Angeles office. I have asked that all my offices and staff get involved and engaged with the LEED Dynamic Plaque, and work towards unleashing its potential for our clients and partners.

Although it’s liable to feel a little like getting on the scales on Jan. 2, after a couple of weeks of too much celebratory food and drink, I can’t wait to see our ongoing LEED performance scores. And when they don’t pass muster, I’ll know immediately and we can set about fixing the problem right then. And that is a great thing to my engineering heart.