Ohio Senate Wants to Ban LEED Certification

LEED CertifiedRecently, the Ohio Senate passed a resolution against use of the LEED certifications. While not binding legislation, this resolution could have a big impact on how government and school buildings are constructed (source).

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an organization formed by a private group called the U.S. Green Building Council. They determine a set of environmental standards for building construction, and control a certification process.  Becoming “LEED Certified” has been the gold standard for environmental building certifications. While often criticized for being cost-prohibitive for most organizations, LEED has been a leader in green building certification.

Political pressure seems to have been spearheaded by some chemical trade groups, including the American Chemistry Council, who object to the latest LEED standard, LEED v4. Among other things, this requires organizations to disclose building materials.  Testimony for the bill included a suggestion that LEED v4 contains a list of “blacklisted” chemicals. LEED claims that no such blacklist exists.

Joe Blattner, CEO of Class-G, a company that provides a platform for virtually any company that manages in an environmentally-friendly fashion to certify as a sustainably-managed organization, says he was dumbfounded by the resolution. “LEED-certified buildings score high points for sustainability with us,” he said. “The notion of a politically-motivated ban on LEED just seems inconsistent with the public’s clear demand for greater environmental initiatives, and frankly, inconsistent with democracy.”

Excerpts of the resolution follow. The entire resolution can be found here.

RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 130th General Assembly of the State of Ohio, urge Ohio state agencies and other government entities to use green building rating systems, codes, or standards that are consistent with state energy efficiency and environmental performance objectives and policies; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the only systems, codes, and standards used in state agency and other government buildings be those that have been developed in an open and transparent way with the input of Ohio building materials and products manufacturers and harvesters to ensure that the use of green building rating systems, codes, and other standards from the private sector are consistent with Ohio objectives and policies; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the State of Ohio use private sector green building rating systems, codes, and other standards to implement state energy efficiency and environmental performance objectives provided that they are voluntary consensus standards that are properly grounded in science and include the use of environmental and health criteria that are based on risk assessment methodology generally accepted by applicable scientific disciplines; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the use of green building rating systems, codes, and other standards that have been developed pursuant to ANSI procedures be presumptively deemed to be open, transparent, and voluntary consensus standards suitable for Ohio government use; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the LEED v4 green building rating system no longer be used by Ohio’s state agencies and government entities until the USGBC conforms its system development to the ANSI voluntary consensus standard procedures as confirmed by ANSI or until the state, after an opportunity for public comment and participation, incorporates the LEED v4 system by reference, in whole or in part, into the administrative rules for state agency or government entity building standards; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the OFCC continue to incorporate energy efficiency and sustainable design features into approved school projects through the use of alternative green building rating systems, codes, and standards other than LEED v4….

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