More than 1,200 contractors, architects, government agencies and businesses are urging the General Services Administration to continue using the LEED green building rating system in evaluating performance of federal buildings.
|The Alfred A. Arraj U.S. Courthouse is considered a showcase for sustainable design and a milestone project for the General Services Administration.|
The group appealed to the GSA in a letter Wednesday (July 25).
“LEED is the most widely used high-performance building rating system in the United States,” the letter said. “The private sector uses LEED to both verify and communicate the quality of high-performance buildings.
“If GSA, as the ‘landlord of the federal government,’ were to require or use something else, it would add cost to the building and leasing process across the building industry. We are not in favor of adding cost.”
LEED under Fire
The salvo was the latest in an ongoing debate over the evolution of green building standards in the U.S.
Recently, the chemical industry and many building-material manufacturers voiced displeasure with the LEED system and its scheduled revisions, including a plan to include a “chemicals of concern” category.
Those groups have formed a coalition to promote the development of a sustainable-building standards based on “consensus and scientific performance data.”
$18B in Energy Savings
The letter from the LEED supporters commended GSA for its leadership in improving the energy and environmental performance of federal buildings, citing the recently released sustainability and energy “scorecard” from the Office of Management and Budget.
The OMB scorecard showed that federal government investments in energy efficiency over the last four years are expected to save as much as $18 billion in lifecycle energy costs, the letter said.
“Our nation’s top private-sector leaders agree: The LEED high-performance building rating system saves businesses money and helps deliver higher profits through reduced operating costs,” said Roger Platt, senior vice president of Global Policy and Law for the U.S. Green Building Council, which developed the LEED system.
“The same is true for LEED federal facilities, which are saving American taxpayers millions of dollars a year.”
Builders In; Coating Suppliers Not
The letter’s signatories include scores of USBGC chapters, contractors, engineers, architects, designers, planners and manufacturers, including Skanska, Tishman Speyer, and Kohler Co.
No coating suppliers or painting contractors signed the letter, although one painting studio did so.
The signers lauded GSA’s decision to mirror the private sector in the use of LEED certification to reduce operating costs, save money and eliminate waste.
They urged GSA to continue to use the system and to focus on the “usability, market acceptance and effectiveness of rating tools rather than distractions focused on a single issue.”
Said Platt: “Support for the continued use of LEED by GSA is both broad and deep. Our more than 13,000 member companies are fully engaged in the development and use of LEED. Businesses and organizations are certifying 2 million square feet of real estate to LEED each day. Clearly there is incredible agreement on the value of LEED and green building in general.”