Ohio Moves Closer to Banning LEED
The State Senate passes its anti-LEED legislation and sends it to the House further voting.
While last week brought good news to energy efficiency advocates with the reintroduction of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (otherwise known as Shaheen-Portman) in the U.S. Senate, not-so-good news for LEED advocates came out of Ohio. Last Wednesday, the Ohio State Senate passed Ohio Senate Concurrent Resolution 25 (SCR 25) which, as previously reported, asserts that LEED v4 should no longer be used by Ohio state agencies and government entities. It was introduced in the Ohio State House of Representatives the next day.
Days before the vote, Tyler J. Steele, vice chairman of the USGBC's Central Ohio chapter wrote in an editorial in The Columbus Dispatch that "Ohio’s leading association of sustainability-minded construction professionals implores legislators to reject any resolution that could jeopardize our efforts to continue transforming central Ohio's built environment to be more healthy, prosperous and sustainable."
Treehugger's Lloyd Alter has a passionate review of the latest developments, charging that the legislation is the work of special interests for the plastics and chemical companies, and that it is openly biased toward the Green Building Initiative's Green Globes rating system.
When I asked GBI president Jerry Yudelson about the Ohio legislation, however, he said that the organization does not take positions on legislation. "Our philosophy is that there should be choice in the marketplace," he said. "We think the consensus process we use has a lot of advantages in that it gets everyone lined up and going in the same direction, but it's not about excluding one system or another. Let the marketplace choose."
encouraging LEED advocates in Ohio to contact their state Representative and tell them via one-on-one meetings, written testimony, social media posts, phone calls, or emails to vote no on any further progression.
Chemical, plastic and timber companies and consortiums with deep pockets and influence in Washington reside under the ANSI umbrella. They have tried to get LEED banned at the federal level and have been successful in states like Maine and Georgia. Those same groups support the Green Building Initiative’s (GBI) Green Globes—the set of standards they hope will replace LEED everywhere since their companies rarely, if ever, receive recognition from LEED.
“Seeking to drag Ohio backward is a small but well-funded set of industry special interests,” Tyler Steele, chairman of USGBC’s Central Ohio Chapter, wrote in a letter to the Columbus Dispatch days before the Ohio Senate made its decision. ”They claim that the newest version of LEED might dent their profits by encouraging use of building materials that disclose what they’re made of.
“Why are they so scared of people knowing what’s in their products?”
Ohio did not make the top 10 list of states with the most LEED-certified buildings, but the state boasts the country’s most LEED-certified schools. According to the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council, which created LEED, Ohio’s LEED-certified schools are 34 percent more energy efficient than other states, use 37 percent less water and have diverted almost 200,000 tons of construction waste from landfills.
Still, SCR 25 favors private rating systems, which matches Green Globes’ description.
“The [USGBC's] LEED v4 green building system fails to conform to recognized voluntary standard development procedures, including but not limited to [ANSI] procedures and fails to base environmental and health criteria on risk assessment methodology,” the legislation reads.
The USGBC is encouraging Ohioans to tell their representatives to vote against SCR 25.
“Ohioans deserve better than a ban on a successful building-rating system at the whim of a small but powerful group that offers no data to back up its scare tactics,” Steele wrote.
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