Taxpayer group probes feds’ alliance with LEED developer

Source: Taxpayer Protection Alliance (TPA), Alexandria, Va.

Through three Freedom of Information Act requests, TPA is continuing to examine General Services Administration adoption of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification system. GSA has mandated LEED Gold-level standards for all new federal buildings since 2010.

TPA cites concerns about “private, non-science based, non-profit organizations being involved in creating environmental standards that are then relied upon to dictate government policies and in turn cost taxpayers millions of dollars.” In a 2012 public comment letter to USGBC, the alliance noted how products such as plastic insulation, vinyl roofing, and LED lighting are discouraged through the chemical avoidance credits in the (forthcoming) LEED v4, which uses the European Union’s REACH regulations as a benchmark.

“Credits for certification in this new standard could reward architects for rejecting modern technology and choose instead to use a thatched straw roof … LEED v4 is filled with requirements that pick winners in losers in the marketplace. The USGBC seems to have undue influence in mandating LEED standards and now TPA wants answers.”