A Potential Ban on LEED

I have written before on how LEED has grown up because it has been attacked and criticized. In my mind, that means that the program is a success because it has scared some who want to maintain the status quo in building to that of the past or, inefficient design and construction.

Now we see a new attack strategy. As reported by USGBC, “special interest lobbying is pushing for an amendment to the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill that would ban the use of LEED by the federal government, and its introduction is expected on Wednesday, 5/8! That means we have just a few days to do as much outreach as we can, to amplify our voices so that these Senators know that this amendment matters to their constituents and people are watching them.”

Can you believe this? Apparently the thought of building sustainable buildings (the entire premise of the LEED rating systems) has certain interests so frightened that they are trying to use federal legislation to ban its practice.

This is taking place in spite of the fact that the General Services Administration has recently stated that:

“… The Green Building Advisory Committee established by the General Services Administration (GSA), officially recommended to GSA that the LEED green building certification system be used for all GSA buildings as the best measure of building efficiency. The committee also conveyed that LEED should be the primary way to show how agency buildings use energy and water and that LEED standards are the most conducive to meet the Energy Independence and Security Act.

The Green Building Advisory Committee has evaluated more than 160 tools and systems since it began in 2011, and in February, GSA released a request for information (RFI) that publicly lauded the value of green building rating systems like LEED and asked for additional input into important issues that could help GSA accelerate and improve its green building work.”
(As reported in USGBC press release dated May 3, 2013)

Sustainable EarthSo let me see if I can make sense of this effort. We have a building rating system that encourages the design and construction of energy efficient buildings that enhance human health and minimize the depletion of natural resources or the use of unhealthy building materials. This system has been used in federal buildings as required by the Generals Services Administration and has proven to be effective at reducing energy use in buildings, thus saving the taxpayer money over the long term while reducing our dependence on foreign or domestic energy supplies. The system has recently been vetted again by a study group as required by the GSA and found to be the best system to consider for future buildings.

And what does Congress consider? A bill banning its use.

I don’t usually make a call for action but USGBC’s action outline is worth sharing here…modified for the non USGBC member.

Email your Senator a letter from your business. The key Senators are on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sign or start a petition if you’re in a state of one of these key senators. The states that don’t already have a petition are: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. (The states that already have a petition are Arizona, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, and Tennessee).

Tell others to act! And ask them to act by Wednesday, 5/8!!

On a final note of the absurd, the state of Kansas recently introduced a bill that would ban any form of sustainability in any building in that state. Hmm.. Now that’s thinking for you.

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