State Senate Rejects Attack on LEED

The North Carolina Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 628 today that retains the option of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for State construction projects.
 
 
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RALEIGH, N.C. - June 17, 2013 - PRLog -- The North Carolina Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 628 today that retains the option of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for State construction projects. The modified bill responded to the outcry from North Carolina architects, engineers, and product manufacturers that LEED is good for NC businesses. The new language finds common ground to support all North Carolina building materials – including forest products - and the growing North Carolina green building industry by maintaining LEED as an important option for state buildings to save energy, water and money.

“We are happy the Senate aligned with North Carolina’s growing green building industry and in support of saving taxpayer dollars through healthy, high-performing construction,” said Emily Scofield, Executive Director of USGBC-North Carolina. USGBC North Carolina is the leading roundtable for green building businesses in the state, facilitating and supporting education, business-to-business interactions, and market leadership initiatives.

The amended version of the bill recognizes the positive economic impact to North Carolina that LEED provides by promoting regionally produced and manufactured building materials. The title of the bill was changed from “Protect/Promote North Carolina Lumber” to “Protect/Promote Locally Sourced Building Materials”. Revisions to the bill’s text reflect this broadening of scope and do not give preference to any single type of building material.

A late addition to the bill included a 10-year cost-recovery requirement for all capital projects.  While such paybacks are certainly feasible by North Carolina’s advanced green building industry, this provision will leave taxpayer savings on the table by precluding deeper, longer-term investments in government buildings that will be around for 50-100 years.  Similar short-sightedness is being applied to the proposed repeal of the North Carolina Energy Code in House Bill 201.  USGBC North Carolina continues to be a strong advocate for the code, a reflection of today’s widespread expectation for energy efficiency in all buildings.

LEED (http://www.usgbc.org/articles/infographic-leed-motion) is used by 88 of the Fortune 100 companies and comprises more than 17,000 projects across 2.4 billion square feet of certified, responsible real estate.  Among a long list of other credentials (including almost 5,000 LEED professionals in North Carolina (http://www.usgbcnc.org/?LEEDSnapshot)), the National Academy of Sciences recently recommended (http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?...) LEED for use by the U.S. military after research strongly affirmed the value of LEED-certified high performing buildings to the military and the taxpayer.  After extensive review and evaluation of green building certification systems, the General Services Administration (GSA) (http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=31&sid=3307148) found LEED was most conducive to meeting the agency’s energy use and water efficiency goals. GSA (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104462) now requires, at a minimum, that new construction and substantial renovations of Federally-owned facilities obtain LEED® Gold certification.

LEED has proven to be an effective instrument for saving energy, water and money in the buildings where we live, learn and work.  To find out more about the use of LEED on public projects, see this policy brief: LEED in the Public Sector (http://www.usgbc.org/resources/leed-public-sector-0).  To contact the USGBC North Carolina Chapter, call 704-996-5877 or email Chapter@usgbcnc.org.

USGBC NC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission of transforming the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. USGBC NC has over 800 members and serves all 100 counties in the state.
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