"Given all the buzz and optimism surrounding green buildings-and the meticulous detail of the LEED rating system-these findings might seem puzzling. But they make more sense up close. Anyone seeking LEED certification can choose from a menu of eco-friendly credits. Instead of selecting energy-minded features like efficient mechanical systems, developers often reach for the low-hanging fruit. They might use paints that have low levels of volatile organic compounds or install cabinets made from rapidly renewable wood. They may opt to recycle their construction waste or increase airflow throughout the building. All of these choices fulfill the 'Environmental Design' half of the LEED bargain, saving trees and improving the quality of human life, and many of them help minimize pollution during the construction phase. But none of them prevents an occupied building from guzzling fuel and pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for years to come."