Construction giant Skanska rebukes LEED critics

Sources: Skanska USA, New York; CP staff

Major heavy civil and general contractor Skanska USA resigned its U.S. Chamber of Commerce membership to protest the group’s support of the American High-Performance Building Coalition (AHPBC), which is lobbying federal lawmakers to limit government projects to green building rating systems developed with consensus-based standards.

The American Chemistry Council-backed AHPBC has challenged federal agencies’ adoption of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental rating system, citing a lack of consensus efforts and “avoidance of chemicals of concern” provisions in the forthcoming LEED v4. The Coalition is pursuing an amendment to the Senate’s Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill (S. 761) that will “effectively ban the use of pro-innovation and voluntary LEED certification by the government,” Skanska USA contends.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was created to advocate for pro-business policies that create jobs and support our economy,” adds CEO Mike McNally. “The numbers prove LEED and green building do just that. Because a few companies don’t like the current LEED program, they want to involve the government and create an entirely new system for government buildings. This is exactly the kind of redundancy and bureaucracy that we pay the Chamber to fight. Rather than support its members, who continually innovate to create new products that straddle the line between responsible and profitable, the Chamber has chosen to support a group of businesses who care more about protecting the status quo.

“Skanska invites the Chamber and the AHPBC to a public discussion in any forum of the issues at stake, including LEED’s consensus-based voting process, the value of green building to the nation’s economy, and potential health benefits of building with materials resulting from green chemistry.”