Apparently the school building committee had inside information: the product.     

The members had previously visited sample schools that each architectural firm had been involved in designing.      This unfair information meant that the committee probably already knew who they would choose.

It had to be, because of the four presenters over two nights, HMFH Associates was the least impressive.     

In a way this was very good, because in this day of hyper-promotion and slick multi-media; and wacky ‘populist movements’* we need facts and reality and a little common sense to make informed decisions.


So in this case, beyond the fancy PowerPoint, slick packets, and a snowstorm of statistics; the end product sold itself.

It also taught me, once again, not to be a gambling man!

-P. Preservationist

* What comes to mind is the hype over solar power, wind turbines, and  so-called ‘green’ designs.     LEED certification is supposed to produce energy-efficient buildings and after all the hullaballoo; tests have confirmed the buildings are often less energy-efficient than standard practices!     And of course, the underperformance of hyped up alternative energy sources is now well documented.    How about forgetting what the consultants and the politicians say and use what REALLY works?


About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
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4 Responses to Cheaters!

  1. Joe Cheever says:

    Can you cite any sources for these tests and documentation? I think that would be a very interesting read…

  2. S. David Streiff says:


    I did a quick search and found some interesting articles. Note that most of these articles are on “Green” site or Construction-Industry sites so this is not some evil cabal that is just trying to derail the LEED goals. (note, the construction industry likes LEED since it increases costs and gives them a strong marketing point).

    The underlying issue seems to be with the organization that controls LEED. Their rules are extensive but not well structured. Lots of rules, some of which compete with each other or other important design details. There is also a lack of measurement in the processes so its hard for a new building design to learn from a previous design.

    P.Preservationist, thanks for pointing this out. Its an interesting note that although the goals of LEED are commendable, the results are not always what we may think.


  3. Do LEED-certified buildings save energy? Yes, but…

    “We conducted a re-analysis of data supplied by the New Buildings Institute and the US Green Buildings Council on measured energy use data from 100 LEED certified commercial and institutional buildings. These data were compared to the energy use of the general US commercial building stock. We also examined energy use by LEED certification level, and by energy-related credits achieved in the certification process. On average, LEED buildings used 18-39% less energy per floor area than their conventional counterparts. However, 28-35% of LEED buildings used more energy than their conventional counterparts. Further, the measured energy performance of LEED buildings had little correlation with certification level of the building, or the number of energy credits achieved by the building at design time. Therefore, at a societal level, green buildings can contribute substantial energy savings, but further work needs to be done to define green building rating schemes to ensure more consistent success at the individual building level. Note, these findings should be considered as preliminary, and the analyses should be repeated when longer data histories from a larger sample of green buildings are available.

    wind turbine dealers and promoters will try and impress you by showing you graphs and videos of their turbine’s voltage, or amperage when the wind gusts, or how fast they spin, or how many unicorns their turbine can power, but there is only one value you need to be concerned with: Power output vs. Wind Speed. You then need to consider what the average wind speed is in your location and only then can you decide if a wind turbine makes sense.

    And of course, don’t get David Hall going on the under-performance of his solar panels at the Tannery!

    I personally think solar power has a bright future but it is not a cure-all.

    The real tipping point for alternative energy is, can you recoup the cost of installing geothermal, solar panels or wind turbines? If you can’t without getting ‘charity’ from government loans and subsidies, it doesn’t make sense.

    Fact-based design means that proven measurable, positive results replaces the ‘feel-good’ hype.

    -P. Preservationist

  4. Joe Cheever says:


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