For several years, dentists have mentioned “Green” design and LEED when discussing with me a new building or tenant space. They see green, sustainable features in general and LEED certification in particular as potentially expensive; consequently, none has chosen sustainability as a top priority or critical part of their design concept. None has chosen to submit a project to one of the green building rating systems for review and certification.

Dentists talking with me want to take an informal approach to sustainable design, selecting sustainable features item-by-item based on their own perception of value. Instead of submitting their design to an additional layer of regulation, my clients want control.

Green building rating systems such as LEED and Green Globes offer advantages of a structured, holistic system that assigns levels of achievement to a building. LEED (more than Green Globes) is an established brand. Dentists I talk with may mention LEED, but do not place high value on the brand. From a public relations standpoint, a wall display on sustainable design in their patient seating area has more value than a LEED Certified plaque.

I avoid “pushing” green rating systems. My job is to explain options. Either approach, formal or informal, can result in sustainable design. Neither is a “sure thing”. Each dentist must weight costs and benefits. So far this year, my dentist clients are choosing an informal approach.

Green building rating systems:

Comparisons of green building rating systems: