GSA, LEED, USGBC, and Politics

LEED Certification, and LEED in general has been a GREAT marketing tool.  That said, should LEED be a requirement? Is LEED cost effective?  Should LEED be modified?
The below letter clearly states that cost will INCREASE should the GSA move away from LEED?  How can that be?  What costs would increase?  Is there no better way for GSA to meet sustainability requirement than via LEED?

Take a look at the letter and please post you comments.

July 25, 2012

Acting Administrator Daniel Tangherlini
U.S. General Services Administration
One Constitution Square
1275 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20417

Dear Acting Administrator Tangherlini,

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is to be commended for its leadership in improving energy and environmental performance across its federal building portfolio. The recently released sustainability and energy “scorecard” by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) demonstrates just how successful GSA has been at reducing costs, improving efficiency and eliminating waste.

GSA earned the highest rating in all categories in the 2011 sustainability scorecard released from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

GSA reduced emissions from federal buildings more than 20 percent compared with 2008. That incredible reduction led all federal agencies.
GSA is ahead of schedule in reducing its potable water and electricity use.

These efforts are paying off in real terms. According to the OMB, investments in efficiency over the last four years are expected to save $18 billion in energy costs over the life of the projects.

In an effort to continue this success, GSA is evaluating the building rating tools at its disposal, as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. LEED is the most widely used high‐performance building rating system in the United States. 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.

Again, we commend your agency for its success in reducing the operating cost and impact of the federal building stock. We support your continuation of the rating tool evaluation process and focus on the usability, market acceptance, and effectiveness of rating tools rather than distractions focused on a single issue.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

106 Greenway
2 B Green Profitably
2M Design Consultants, Inc.
32BJ SEIU
360 Architecture
3Degrees
4240 architecture
7group, LLC
Above and Beyond Energy
Abruña & Musgrave, Architects
Ackerstein Sustainability LLC
Acme Paper and Supply Co, Inc.
ActiveWest Builders
ADDS, SRL.
Adomatis Appraisal Service
Advanced Comfort Solutions, Inc.
Advanced Furniture Services
Advanced Home Energy Solutions
Aedify
Aedis Ince
Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
AGR Consulting
AHA Consulting Engineers, Inc.
Ahold USA Retail
Airco Commercial Services, inc.
Airfresh Inc.
Alabama Green Building Solutions & SLS Construction
Alaska Thermal Imaging LLC
Albertin Vernon Architecture LLC
Albuquerque Old School
Alfandre Architecture, PC
Alicia Ravetto Architect PA
All Home & Energy Services LLC
Allcare Maintenance Services
Alliance Corporation
Alliance Environmental & Natural Systems Utilities, LLC
Alliance for Environmental Sustainability
Allied Construction Services LLC
Alpar Architectural Products
Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects
Alterna Corp.
Alternative Energy Systems
Alternative Solutions
AlturaSolutions Communications
Alvin E. Benike, Inc.
Alvin Holm AIA Architects
Balfour Beatty Construction
Banister Homes, Inc.
Bank of America
Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning PLLC
Barras Architects
Bath Engineering Corporation
Bay City Supply
Benefect Corp
Benefield Richters Company
Benson Woodworking Company, Inc.
Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects PC
Bernards
Berner International Corp.
Better World Group
Big Ass Fans
Big-D Construction Corp
Big-D Signature
Biositu, LLC
Bird & Kamback Architects
Bird Group
BKM Construction LLC
Black United Fund of Illinois
Blackmon Rogers Architects LLC
Blue Camas Consulting Ltd.
Blue Marble LLC
Blue Moon Enterprises
Blue Sea Development Company, LLC
Blue Water Studio
Bluegill Energy
BlueGreen Alliance
Bluestone Building, LLC
BMI Mechanical, Inc.
BNP Media
Boone Gardiner Garden Center
Boreas Arquitectos
Bork Architectural Design, Inc.
Boston Global Investors
Boston Properties
Boston Redevelopment Authority
Brailsford & Dunlavey, Inc.
Brandywine Realty Trust
BRAZEN Architecture INC
BRC Acoustics & Audiovisual Design
Breedlove Land Planning, Inc.
Brewer Ingram Fuller Architects Inc.
Brewery Vivant
Cascadia Green Building Council
Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services
Catalyst Partners
Catherine Hall Designs, LLC
CBRE Commercial Real Estate Services
CCI Mechanical, Inc.
Celilogardens
Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems
Center for Sustainable Building Research
Cerama-Tech of Southern Nevada
Certified Building Analysis LLC
Chambersburg Waste Paper Co
Chapman Construction / Design
Chartier Redevelopment Group
Chatham County Commission
CHB Industries, Inc.
Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters
Chidester Engineering, PLLC
Choate Construction Company
Christie Development Services
Christine Ervin/Company
Chula Ross Sanchez
Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future
City of Atlanta, Office of Sustainability
City of Chicago
City of Cincinnati
City of Grand Rapids
City of Philadelphia
City of San Antonio, Office of Environmental Policy
City of San Francisco, Department of the Environment
City of Santa Barbara, Office of the County Architect
City of Santa Monica Green Building Program
City of Tempe
City of Winston-Salem, Office of Sustainability
Clark Nexsen, Architecture and Engineering
Clayco, Inc.
Clean Age, LLC
Clean Energy Coalition
Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority
Cleaning First Impressions
Clivus Multrum, Inc.
Clothing Matters
CMA Architects & Engineers LLP
Coastal Building Maintenance
Coastal Therapy
Coldwell Banker/Schneidmiller Realty
Dale Corporation
Dale Partners Architects P.A.
Davis Davis Architects
Davis Energy Group
dbdesign
DCP Marketing Services LLC
DECOLights, Inc
DeFeo Associates
Delaware Valley Green Building Council
Delphi Corporation
DERBIGUM Americas, Inc.
Desert Moon Productions, Inc.
Design AVEnues LLC
designis
Development Center for Appropriate Technology
Development Management Associates, LLC
Devine Brothers Inc
Dewberry Architects Inc.
Diversified Design Group LLC
Diversified Energy Services
DJ Construction Co. Inc.
DNV Business Assurance
Dominican Republic Green Building Council
Donia & Associates, Inc.
Donnelley Energy Solutions
Doo Consulting, llc
Dore Property Ventures LLC
Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning
DPR Construction
Drawing Conclusions LLC
Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects
Drysdale Energy
Dunlap & Partners Engineers
Dunlop Development, Inc.
DVA Home Improvement, LLC
DVL Automation
DwellSmart
E.W. Dunn
e2 Homes, Inc.
e3 Bank
E3 Building Sciences
E3 INNOVATE, LLC
E3 Regenesis Solutions, Inc.
e4, Inc.
EA Buildings
Early New England Home Designs
Energy Inspectors Corporation
Energy IQ
Energy Master & Environmental Solutions
Energy Matters
Energy Opportunities, Inc.
Energy Upgrade Services, Inc.
Energy Wise Solutions Inc
EnergyLogic Inc.
Enermodal Engineering
Engineered Representation, Inc.
Engineered Tax Services
Engineering Services
Ennead Architects, LLP
Enovative Group, Inc.
Enterprise Green Communities
Environamics, Inc.
Environmental Concepts Company
Environmental Dynamics, Inc.
Environmental Planning Associates
Envision Design
EnVision Realty Services
ES2, Inc
ETC Group
Ethos Sustainable Finishes
Everblue
Everest Properties
Everyday Green
Evolution Partners Real Estate Advisors
EwingCole
Exact Solar
Excel Dryer Inc.
Exoterra | Architects+Consultants
Exp U.S. Services, Inc.
Facilities Design Group
Farr Associates
Faulhaber Engineering & Sustainability
FBG Service Corp.
Fenestar
Fergus Garber Young Architects
Ferrand ACS
FiberAmerica
FILARSKI/architecture+planning+research
Filmop USA
Final Air Balance Co., Inc.
Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company
First Community Housing, Inc.
Golangco Global
Goodwyn Mills Cawood
GR Planning
Gray Construction
Green Advantage, Inc.
Green and Profitable
Green Building Certification Institute
Green Building Consulting
Green Building Education and Services, LLC
Green Building Education Services
Green Building Pages
Green Building Services Inc.
Green Capital Advisers
Green Chapps, LLC
Green Dinosaur, Inc.
Green Earth PR Network
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Green Education Inc.
Green Energy Solutions
Green Hive Foundation
Green Ideas, Inc.
Green Innovative Design
Green Insight, LLC
Green Property Funds LLC
Green Schools Inc.
Green Seal, Inc.
Green Stone Consulting
Green Street Development Group
Green Street Properties
Green Works Corp.
Greenbank Associates
GreenBeams
GreenCE, Inc.
GreenDream Enterprises
Greeneconome
Greener Country
Greenform
Greenformation
Greenhut Construction Company
Greenpeace
GreenShape LLC
GreenWizard
Group 70
Group Mackenzie Inc.
Group14 Engineering
Grundfos Pumps
HOK
Holder Construction Company
HOLOS Collaborative
Homage Design
Home Energy Group, LLC
HomeGreen
Horizon Residential Energy Services Maine, LLC
HSB Architects & Engineers
Humann Building Solutions
Hunzinger Construction
Hutton Architecture Studio
HW Davis Construction, Inc.
Hyland Fisher – Architect
IBS Advisors, LLC
IceStone, LLC
ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA
iLiv
Imery & Co, LLC
Impact Infrastructure, LLC
In Balance Green Consulting
Incite Directives
Indoor Environmental Testing
Indra USA
Ingenuity LLC
Ingersoll Rand
Inner Space Consultants
Innovative Associates LLC
Innovative Design
Innovative Green Strategies, LLC
Innovink, LLC
InSites PLC
Inspirit-llc
Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)
Institute for Supply Management
Institute for the Built Environment
Integral Group
Integrated Environmental Solutions LLC
InterDesign
Interface
Interior Directions
InteriorDesign-ED
Interiors for Business, Inc.
Interiorscapes, Inc.
International Commissioning Engineers West, Inc.
Intex Solutions Inc.
Iowa-Des Moines Supply
Koch Hazard Architects
Kohler Co.
Komorous-Towey Architects
KONE Inc.
Krafft Cleaning Service, Inc.
Kramer+Marks Architects
Kristina Hahn Atelier
Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects
Kruger Sustainability Group
Kulka KLC
Kupcha Marketing Services
kW Engineering
KYA Design Group
Lake Affect Design Studio
Lakemary Center
Landis Construction
Lane Transit District
Lapointe Architects
Larsen & Associates
Larson Binkley, Inc.
Larson Darby Group
Law Office of Paul Kaplan
Lawrence Environmental Group
LCA Arquitecta
LDa Architects LLP
LEAP, Inc. (Local Energy Alliance Program)
Leonardo Academy Inc.
Leopardo Companies
Lewis Alan Office Furniture, Inc.
LINAK U.S. Inc.
Little Consulting
Living Machine Systems, L3C
LivingHomes
LoraxPro Software
LORD Green Real Estate Strategies, Inc.
LTLB Envirotecture
Lucas Tax + Energy
Lucile Glessner Design
Lunchbox Consulting Inc.
Luper Neidenthal & Logan
LWPB Architecture
M&E Engineers, Inc.
M. Landman Communications and Consulting
M.E. GROUP, Inc.
M3 Engineering Group PC
Macnet Global, Inc
Mobile Janitorial & Paper Co.
mode associates
Modus Architecture Collaborative
MODUS DEVELOPMENT
Moody Nolan
MOORE Consulting Engineers
Moore Nordell Kroeger Architects, Inc.
Morse & Cleaver Architects
Moseley Architects
Moshier Studio
Multiflow
Multivista IA
Musson General Contracting
N. Barton and Associates
Naomi Mermin Consulting
Nassau County
National Education Association
National Education Association,
Health Information Network
National Facility Solutions, LLC
National Life Group
National Organization of Minority Architects
National School Supply and Equipment Association
National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Wildlife Federation
Native Geothermal LLC
Navarro Lowrey Inc.
NBC Solutions
Neighborhood Energy Connection
NELSON
Neumann/Smith Architecture
Nevada ENERGY STAR Partners
New Axiom, LLC
New Horizons Group
New Leaf Systems, Inc.
New Story Solar
NewCom Real Estate Services, LLC
Newman Consulting Group, LLC
New-Tex Mechanical Reps, Inc.
Nexant, Inc.
Nichols
Nisenson Consulting
NJ Carpenters Apprentice Training and
Educational Fund
North Shore LIJ Health System
Northbay Energy Services, Inc
PGAL
Philip Rosenau Co., Inc.
Philips Electronics North America Corporation
Phillips & Bacon
Pieper Properties, Inc.
Pieri Architects
Pierson Land Works LLC
Pino Diaz Design Partnership
Pirtle Construction Company
PIVOT Architecture
PlanetReuse Marketplace powered by InvenQuery
Planning Resources Inc.
Plant Solutions, Inc.
Platinum Earth
Plumb architecture
Plumbers Local 1 Trade Education Fund
PNC Financial Services Group
Poole Fire Protection
Populus, LLC
PorterWorks, Inc
Post+Beam
Posty Cards
Powers Home Design
PozziDesign
Prairie State General contractors
Praxis, Building Solutions, LLC
Prendergast Laurel Architects
Primary Integration
Primera Engineers, Ltd.
Principal Real Estate Investors
Processes Unlimited International, Inc.
Professional Janitorial Services
Progressive AE
Project Coordinating Services, LLC
Project Resource Group, LLC
Prometric
Prosser Architects
ProTeam
Protect Environmental
PURETI Inc.
Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels
R&R JANITORIAL SERVICE INC
R/R Briggs Inc.
Raimi + Associates
Rand Construction Corporation
Re: Vision Architecture
Seabold Architectural Studio
Sears Gerbo Architecture
Seasonal Energy
Sebesta Blomberg & Associates
Sellen Construction
SEQUIL Systems, Inc.
SERA Architects
Service Employees International Union
ServiceMaster by Kleidosty
ServiceMax Cleaning Systems
Servicon Systems Inc.
SHARETTE
Shaw Consulting Service
Shaw Industries Group, Inc.
Sheridan Associates
Sherwin Williams Co.
Shive-Hattery, Inc.
Shorenstein Realty Services
Sieben Energy
Siemens Industry, Inc., Building Technologies Division
Sierra Club
Signature Systems of Florida
Simon & Associates, Inc.
Simply Sustainable LLC
Site Based Energy
Site Source, llc.
Site Story
Skanska
Skipping Stone
SKS Investments
Sky Air llc.
SKYed, LLC
Sloan
SMACNA of Southern Nevada
Smart Growth America
SMART Management Consulting, LLC
SMARTBIM LLC
Smith Consulting Architects
SmithGroupJJR
Smithlogic, Inc
Sol Developments
SOL VISTA
Solamente Clay Walls, LLC
Solar Design Studio
SolarCity
Solaris LLC
Sustainable Energy Analytics
Sustainable Engineering Group LLC
Sustainable Furnishings Council
Sustainable Learning Systems LLC
Sustainable Options, LLC
Sustainable Performance Solutions LLC
Sustainable Solutions Corporation
Sustainable Solutions LLC
Sustainable Town Concepts
Sustainable Transitions US
Sustainably Built
Sustainably Verdant
Swanke Hayden Connell Architects
Symbioscity
Synergy Green Building Group, Inc.
Syntax Land Design, LLC
SystemWorks LLC
Taitem Engineering, PC
Talcott & Associates
Tax Analytics Group
TBD+ Architects
TBG Architects + Planners
TDC Pacific Properties
Team Plan, Inc.
Technical Group Services, Inc
Telemark, Inc.
Tellabs, Inc.
Tempo Partners
Terracon Consultants, Inc.
Terrapin / Bright Green, LLC
TerraScapes Environmental
Terrastructure Engineering Corporation
Terrazia PC
Teter, LLP
TexEnergy Solutions, Inc
The Agora Group
The Ashkin Group
The Boudreaux Group
The Brickman Group, Ltd.
The Community College of Baltimore County
The Dinerstein Companies
The EcoLogic Studio
The Energy Doctor
The Energy Studio Inc.
The Epsten Group, Inc.
UA Plumbers Local One Trade Education Fund
Unabridged Architecture
Uncommon LLC
Unico Systems
United States Gypsum
United Supply Group of Companies
University of California, Merced
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Louisiana, Lafayette School of Architecture & Design
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern Maine
Urban Engineers, Inc.
Urban Fabrick Design
Urban Green Council
Urban Green, LLC
UrbanBiology LLC
USG Corporation
USGBC Alabama Chapter
USGBC Arizona Chapter
USGBC Arkansas Chapter
USGBC California Central Coast Chapter
USGBC Caribbean Chapter
USGBC Central California Chapter
USGBC Central Florida Chapter
USGBC Central Ohio Chapter
USGBC Central Pennsylvania Chapter
USGBC Central Plains Chapter
USGBC Central Texas Balcones Chapter
USGBC Charlotte Region Chapter
USGBC Chihuahuan Desert Chapter
USGBC Cincinnati Regional Chapter
USGBC Colorado Chapter
USGBC Detroit Chapter
USGBC East Tennessee Chapter
USGBC Florida Capital Region Chapter
USGBC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter
USGBC Georgia Chapter
USGBC Hawaii Chapter
USGBC Heart of Florida Chapter
USGBC Idaho Chapter
USGBC Illinois Chapter
USGBC Indiana Chapter
USGBC Inland Empire Chapter
USGBC Iowa Chapter
Veliz Construction
Venue Solutions Group
Verdant HFC Sustainability Consulting
verde@ParkerProperties
Verdi Workshop
Verdifica
Verdigris Group
Vermont Green Building Network
Vermont Heating & Ventilating Company Inc
Vertegy, an Alberici Enterprise
VERTEX Companies
Vetrazzo, LLC
Vidas Architecture, LLC
Village Builders VT
Vireo Design
Virgin Islands Energy Office
Virginia Beach City Public School
Viridian
Visual Cue Thermal Imaging
Vital SPEC inc
Vornado Realty TrustW.S. Cumby, Inc.
Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC
WARM Training Center
Waste Management
Watchman Consulting
Watershed
Watkins Architect LTD
WAXIE Sanitary Supply
WCIT Architecture
Weber Thompson
Well Fed Savannah

Always Peachy Clean, Cleaning Services
Ambient Energy
American Architectural Foundation
American Federation of Teachers
American Ground Water Trust
American Lung Association
American Maintenance
American Paper and Supply Company
American Standard Brands
American Sustainable Business Council
Ames + Gough
Ampajen Solutions, LLC
Amvic Inc
AndersonPacific, LLC
Andersson Architecture + Design
Annadel Building Solutions LLC
Antony Stefan Architect, PLLC
Applied Aesthetics Painting Studio
Applied Green Consulting
Applied Solar Energy / SOLEX
Applied Solutions
Arcadia Studio
Architects Hawaii Ltd
Architects, Hanna Gabriel Wells
Architectural Fusion, LLC
Architectural Resources
Arcus Design Group
Armstrong Commercial Ceilings
Arrowstreet
ArtHaus, LLC
Arup
ASERusa
ASP Enterprises, Inc.
Assa Abloy Door Security Solutions
Association of American Geographers
Atelier Ten USA LLC
Atkin Olshin Schade Architects
Atlantic Energy Concepts
Atlantic Irrigation
Atlas Project Support
Autodesk, Inc.
Axiom Sustainable Consulting, LLC
Aye Partners LLC
Aztec Products, Inc.
B Lab
Bachmann Construction
Bridging The Gap
Bright Green Strategies, Inc.
BrightKey Inc.
BrightLine Construction, Inc.
Brightworks Sustainability Advisors
Brion Jeannette Architecture
BriteSol
Brodie & Associates PLLC
Brownstone’s Green Services, Inc.
Brumbaugh & Associates
Brummitt Energy Associates, Inc.
Bruner/Cott & Associates
Building Green Generations
Building Ideas, LLC
Building Knowledge Inc.
BuildingGreen, Inc.
BuildingWise, LLC
BuildingWrx
Bullock Tice Associates, Inc.
Bunker Hill Community College
Bureau Veritas
Burgess Green Facililities Service
Burns & McDonnell Engineering
Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers
Association (BIFMA)
BWZ Architects
Byrne Electrical Specialists
C.T. Haydock, Landscape Architecture, P.C.
C.W. Brown Inc.
Cadmus Group
Caesars Entertainment Corporation
Cagle Design, Inc.
CalAg LLC
Caldwell Constructors, Inc.
California Polytechnic State University
CALMAC Manufacturing Company
Cameron McCarthy Landscape Architecture & Planning
Campaign for Environmental Literacy
Campbell Coyle Holdings, LLC
Cannon Design
Caragreen
Carbon-Key LLC
Care Design Group, LLC
Career and Technology Education Centers
Carlson Studio Architecture
Carroll Construction
Collaborative Project Consulting
Colliers International
Columbia Forest Products
Columbus Property Management & Development, Inc
Commercial Flooring Distributors
Commissioning & Green Building Solutions, Inc
Commissioning WorCx
Community Design + Architecture
Community Environmental Council
Complete Resources Building & Repair Inc
Composite Wall Systems, LLC
Concept 22 Inc.
Connecticut Green Building Council
ConservAction
Conservation Services Group
Consilience LLC
Construction Specialties, Inc.
Contects LLC
Control Service Company, Inc
Control Technologies, Inc.
Controlled Air Inc
Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons
Cope Architecture Inc.
Corcoran Expositions, Inc.
Cornerstone Design
Corporate Floors Inc
Corporate Image Maintenance
Corporate Sustainability Communications
Corvarys Group
Costa and Rihl Mechanical Contractors
Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)
County Line Nurseries, Inc
Courchesne and Associates inc.
Covertech
Craig Kneeland Consulting
Creative Contractors Inc.
Critical Energy Solutions
CrossOver Recruiting
Crossville Incorporated
Crozier Architecture
Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc,
Cushman & Wakefield
Cx Associates, LLC
Cypress Creek Design Inc.
D. Gordon Consulting, Inc.
D.R. Wastchak, LLC
Earth Advantage, Inc
Earth Day New York, Inc.
Earth Design
Earth Ethics, Inc
EarthCraft
EarthSTEPS, LLC
Eastern Air Balance Corporation
Eastham & Associates
Easy to be Green
EBS Consultants
Eco Fundraisers
Eco Interiors
eco7
EcoEnergy Consulting and Supply Corp.
EcoLogic Life
EcoPotential
Ecos Materials and Services
Ecosmith Architecture + Consulting, LLC
Ecosouth Green Building Services
EcoStudio
EcoTech International
EcoUrban Construction
Ecoworks Studio
EDC magazine
Edifice Rx
Edmar
EEA Consulting Engineers
Efficient Energy Advisors, LLC
EHDD Architecture
Ekistics
Elevate
elg Design
Elite Solar Services
Elizabeth Eason Architecture, LLC
Ellen S. Light, AIA
Emerald Cities Collaborative
EMerge Alliance
emersion DESIGN, LLC
Emmer Management Corp
Empower Design Studio
Encore Recycled Granite LLC
Energy & Environmental Solutions
Energy and Sustainable Design Consultants, Inc.
Energy Center of Wisconsin
Energy Coordinating Agency
Energy Efficient Services
Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc
Fisher Town Design, Inc.
Fitzmartin Consulting Company
Fletcher-Thompson, Inc.
Flintco, LLC
Fluor
FM Solutions Inc.
Focal Point Communications, Inc
Foliage Design Systems
Forbo Flooring Systems
Forest Stewardship Council US
ForestEthics
Forum Architects, LLC
Forward Thinking Consultants, LLC
Foundation Communities
Frederic H. Dean Architect
Frederick Ward Associates
Freedman Engineering Group
Freeman French Freeman, Inc
Fremont County BOCES
Freshwater Farms, LLC
Frontline Copy
Full Spectrum of New York LLC
Future Engineering & Management, P.C.
FXFOWLE
G2 Gordon + Gordon Architecture LLC
Gaia Development LLC
Garner Development Services
Garrett Smith Ltd
Gary E. Hanes & Associates, LLC
Gavo Communications
GBRI
Generation 3 Development Company, Inc.
Gensler
GHA/Geoffrey Holton and Associates
GHD
Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, & Senet LLP
Gibson Landscape Services, LLC
Global Green USA
Global Platinum Sustainability Consultants, LLC
GMK Associates
Go Germ Free
Go Green Investments
Goby LLC
Goetz Printing Company
GoGreen Buildings
GSD Contracting LLC
Guaranteed Watt Saver Systems, Inc.
Guidon Design
Gulf Geoexchange & Consulting Services, Inc.
GWB Consulting, LLC
H Design Group
H2 Ecodesign
Habitat for Humanity of Ohio
Habitat for Humanity of Sacramento
Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Teton Area
Habitat Studio Architecture
Habitat Studios
Halcom Consulting LLC
Hampton Roads Green Building Council
Hannon Armstrong
Harley Ellis Deveraeux
Harvard University
HAStudio
Haworth, Inc.
Hawtin Jorgensen Architects
HD Supply Inc.
HDR
Healthy Building Network
Healthy Buildings Solutions, LLC
Healthy Schools Campaign
Heapy Engineering
Heffernan Holland Morgan Architecture, P.A.
Heinze Energy and Environmental Management
Helix Architecture + Design
Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects, L.L.C.
Hempfully Green
Henderson Engineers
Hepper Olson Architects
Herman Miller
HGA
HGBC
Higgins Horticultural Services, LLC C
High Plains Architects
Hines
Historic Green
HITT Contracting Inc
HJKessler Associates
HKS Architects
HNTB Architecture
Hoboken Quality of Life Coaltion, Inc.
ISSA
Ithaca College
J M Smith Corp
J T Turner Construction
J W Crouse, Inc.
Jackson Architecture & Consultancy Firm
JAG Engineering Services Inc.
James River Green Building Council
JB Architecture Group
JDM/Structural Engineering, PSC
JE Dunn Construction
Jean Terwilliger, AIA Architect
JEST Properties LLC
JHWDesign
JLG Architects
JMPE Electrical Engineering
Joan Stigliano Interior Planning
Joe Janitor University
Joel Ann Todd Consulting
John D. Kelley, AIA Architect
John Hueber Homes
Johnson Controls Inc.
Jonathan Rose Companies
Jose Morla and Associates
Joslin Construction Consulting
K. Norman Berry Associates Architects
Kahler Slater Inc.
Kariher Daughtry Architects
Karpman Consulting
Kath Williams + Associates
KB Home
KD3 Design Studio, Inc
Keller Williams Realty/Boise
Keller Williams Realty/David Kelman
Kelley Green Consulting
Kelly Green Energy Raters, LLC
Kenerson Associates, Inc.
Kenneth Hahn Architects, Inc.
Kentucky Community and Technical College System
Kidder Mathews
Kirksey Architecture
KJWW Engineering Consultants
Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt
Knoll
KnollTextiles
Knoxville Corrugated Box Company
Madison Environmental Group, LLC
MaGrann Associates
Mahogany Enterprises
Majora Carter Group
Manning Architects
Marion Construction Inc
Marsden Bldg Maintenance, LLC
Martin Riley
Mary Davidge Associates, Inc.
Mary Nolte Designs
Mascaro Construction Co LP
Masland Contract
Masters Building Solutions Inc.
Mathew Davis Landscape Architect, LLC
Maxxon Corporation
MBA Waste Enterprises LLC
MBD Community Housing Crop.
McCool Carlson Green Architects
McCownGordon Construction, LLC
McDonald Building Company, LLC
McKenney’s, Inc.
McKenzie Engineering Co., Inc.
McKinley & Associates
McLelland Architecture
MCM Corp.
McWane, Inc.
Meadowlark Builders
Mechanical Contractors Inc
Mechanical Engineering Consultants
MEI Hotels Incorporated
Mercedes Corbell Design + Architecture
Mercovery Int llc
Meta Brunzema Architect PC
Meta-WEB LLC
Metropolitan Energy Center
Michael E Fowler Consulting Services
Micma Group LLC
Microgrid Energy
Miller Consulting Group, LLC
Miller Sellers Heroux Architects, Inc.
Mindswing Consulting
MinuteBids, Inc.
Miron Construction Co., Inc.
Mithun
MJ Realty Service, PLLC
MMM Design Group.com
Northeast Collaborative Architects
Northeast Green Building Consulting LLC
Norwich University
Norwood Marble & Granite
Nuestra Tierra Realty/Vida Verde y Sustentable
O,R&L Inc.
Oasis Brands Inc
Oberlin College
O’Brien & Company
Office Furniture Dealers Alliance (OFDA)
Ohio Environmental Council
Okapi Architecture
Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City
OLIN
On Earth Energy Group LLC dba
On Point LLC
ONSITE Design LLC
Optima Engineering
organicARCHITECT
Orlando Science Center
OT9design,LLC
Oystertree Consulting
P2S Engineering
Pace Law School, Land Use Law Center
PacifiCAD
PageSoutherlandPage
Pais Architects, Plc
Palo Santo Designs LLC
Pando Alliance
Pardee Construction, LLC
Pare Corporation
PARSONS
Pathfinder Engineers & Architects LLP
Paul Poirier + Associates Architects
Paul Wermer Sustainability Consulting
PDG Architects
PE INTERNATIONAL Inc.
Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, PA
PEG
Penn Lighting
Pennsylvania Paper
Perfect Building Maintenance
Perkins+Will
Perspective Designs
Peter Caradonna Architects
Pfau Long Architecture
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Yet Another Sustainability Group! American High-Performance and Buildings Coalition

We need action, and the implementation of robust facility life-cycle management practices… NOT more groups!

Yet another new coalition has been formed to guide green building standards and support performance-based building codes, standards and rating systems developed in conformance with the American National Standards Institute.

In the meantime, the GSA ( US General Service Administration ) is currently reviewing the use of green building standards by the federal government, and the US Green Building Council (USGBC) is revising its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – LEED – green building rating system.

Members of the latest group include the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Supply Association, the Vinyl Institute, the Centre for Environmental Innovation in Roofing and others, the new coalition is said to “enjoy broad based support.”

46453858-Asset-Lifecyle-Model[1]

Facility Life-cycle Management Framework

USGBC – LEED – At Center of Legal Action

USGBC, LEED Targeted by Class-Action Suit

 

Henry Gifford, whose lawyer filed a class-action lawsuit against USGBC, has been an outspoken LEED critic since 2008. 

SOURCE: BUILDINGGREEN.COM

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its founders have been named as defendants in a class action lawsuit filed in federal court. Filed on behalf of mechanical systems designer Henry Gifford, owner of Gifford Fuel Saving, the lawsuit was stamped on October 8, 2010 at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Among other allegations, the suit argues that USGBC is fraudulently misleading consumers and fraudulently misrepresenting energy performance of buildings certified under its LEED rating systems, and that LEED is harming the environment by leading consumers away from using proven energy-saving strategies.

Alleged fraud and deceptive practices

The suit alleges that USGBC’s claim that it verifies efficient design and construction is “false and intended to mislead the consumer and monopolize the market for energy-efficient building design.” To support this allegation Gifford relies heavily on his critique of a 2008 study from New Buildings Institute (NBI) and USGBC that is, to date, the most comprehensive look at the actual energy performance of buildings certified under LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED-NC). While the NBI study makes the case that LEED buildings are, on average, 25%–30% more efficient than the national average, Gifford published his own analysis in 2008 concluding that LEED buildings are, on average, 29% less efficient. A subsequent analysis of the NBI data by National Research Council Canada supported NBI’s findings, if not its methods. (Commentary questioning the respective statistical approaches of both the original study and Gifford’s analysis appears in this BuildingGreen.com blog post by Nadav Malin, president of EBN’s publisher BuildingGreen.)

Using that study and USGBC’s promotion of it, the suit alleges fraud under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, among other statutes. Gifford’s suit demands that USGBC cease deceptive practices and pay $100 million in compensation to victims, in addition to legal fees. Under the Lanham Act, the suit repeats the same concerns in alleging deceptive marketing and unfair competition. Other allegations include deceptive business practices and false advertising under New York State law, as well as wire fraud and unjust enrichment.

Class-action suit

By having his lawyer, Norah Hart of Treuhaft and Zakarin, file a class-action lawsuit, Gifford is not only claiming that he has been harmed by USGBC, but that he is one of a class of plaintiffs that have been harmed. According to the suit, those plaintiffs include owners who paid for LEED certification on false premises, professionals like Gifford whose livelihoods have allegedly been harmed by LEED, and taxpayers whose money has subsidized LEED buildings.

The class action approach may be technically difficult to pursue in this case, says lawyer Shari Shapiro in an article on her green building law blog. Among other things, Shapiro notes that in a class action suit it is relevant whether, among other things, “the plaintiffs are enough alike so that their claims can be adjudicated together” and “whether the lead plaintiffs adequately represent members of the class.” Given the variety of plaintiffs Gifford is trying to represent, that may be hard, she says.

Shapiro, assuming that Gifford has benefited from the green building wave, even questions whether Gifford has even been harmed, as he would have to be to take part in the lawsuit. However, Gifford told EBN that there’s no question about that. “Nobody hires me to fix their buildings,” he said. Though not an engineer, Gifford is respected in energy efficiency circles for his technical knowledge. He told EBN that he has lost out because owners are fixated on earning LEED points, and he doesn’t participate: “Unless you’re a LEED AP you’re not going to get work.” That’s unfair, he claims, because while USGBC says that its product saves energy, it doesn’t. Gifford says that his services actually save energy, and he’s prepared to prove it by sharing energy bills from buildings he has worked on.

Whether many other building professionals feel the way Gifford does, and whether they’re willing to go on the record, will be one aspect of this case to watch. Gifford indicated that the response so far has been mixed. As he told EBN, “Everybody has the same response: thank you, thank you… let me know how it goes.”

Was there fraud?

If the case does move ahead, Stephen Del Percio, a lawyer and author of the blog GreenRealEstateLaw.com, told EBN that it will be challenging to litigate. “You can’t prove fraud just by circumstantial evidence,” he said. Even if the NBI study is false, that may not be enough. “You have to intend to mislead people,” he said. Gifford told EBN that he doesn’t have evidence that anyone at USGBC tried to mislead the public, but if the suit proceeds the discovery process could, in theory, turn up emails or other communications that support Gifford’s case.

USGBC performance initatives

Gifford’s complaints focus on the 2008 study and how USGBC publicized it, but they don’t appear to account for other aspects of LEED. Gifford focuses on buildings certified under LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC), but the scope of LEED-NC and other LEED rating systems is clearly distinct. LEED for Existing Buildings, launched in 2004, looks at actual building performance, and in 2006, USGBC announced that buildings certified under LEED-NC would have the option of being enrolled at no charge in LEED for Existing Buildings. In 2007 USGBC launched LEED for Homes. While that system focuses on design and construction of new homes, it requires on-site verification including blower-door testing during construction, helping ensure that construction practices follow the design intent.

Although this final piece may be too late for Gifford and the contentions of his lawsuit, in 2009 USGBC began requiring reporting of energy and water data for new buildings certified under the newer LEED 2009, and it set up infrastructure to invite sharing of information from all LEED-certified buildings (see “USGBC Expands Data Collection from LEED Buildings,” EBN Aug. 2010).

Through this effort, the Building Performance Partnership, USGBC hopes to offer special help to LEED-certified buildings that are not living up to expected performance, according to Brendan Owens, P.E., vice president for LEED technical development at USGBC. Although USGBC has generally played down the possibility because it doesn’t want to discourage participation in LEED, and energy reporting, CEO Rick Fedrizzi has suggested that non-performing buildings may lose LEED certification in one form or another.

Despite these efforts, Gifford complained to EBN that “the green label gives the designer, the developer, the contractor and the owner the right to hold a press conference staying that their building is energy-efficient, while the LEED system guarantees anonymity” when it comes to reporting actual energy use.

Why sue?

Asked by EBN why he was motivated to go to court, Gifford said, “I’m afraid that in a few years somebody really evil will publicize the fact that green buildings don’t save energy and argue that the only solution [to resource constraints] is more guns to shoot at the people who have oil underneath their sand.” In other words, he says he’s hoping to make the green building movement more honest so that it’s not embarrassed down the road.

USGBC told EBN that it was reviewing the litigation and would respond in due course. In addition to USGBC, other named defendants are David Gottfried, a USGBC founder; Rob Watson, who helped start LEED in the 1990s while working for the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Rick Fedrizzi, a co-founder and currently CEO. Responding to EBN’s request for comment, Watson said, “I can’t comment on ongoing litigation except to say that USGBC is examining the complaint. USGBC has confidence in LEED and in our role in stimulating positive market change.”

Michael Italiano, the only key USGBC founder not named as a defendant, told EBN that while he hadn’t reviewed the case, “To me it sounds frivolous and it doesn’t have much chance.” He noted, “LEED doesn’t guarantee anything, and I think LEED gives people the tools to understand that.” Owners who want to verify performance can enroll in LEED for Existing Buildings, monitor their energy bills, and take other actions, he noted. A lawyer and currently CEO of Market Transformation to Sustainability, a nonprofit behind green standards, Italiano said that lawsuits targeting standards that have allegedly constrained trade typically focus on lack of a bona fide consensus process of standard-setting. In the case of LEED, he said, a broad array of stakeholders has been involved in writing and reviewing LEED standards.

Russell Perry, FAIA, of SmithGroup, agreed that if anyone thinks LEED for New Construction guarantees higher energy performance, they have the wrong idea. “LEED-NC is saying that a building has been designed to meet a certain standard, but there are many variables that go into the actual performance, only one of which is design.” Perry also noted that LEED includes a broad array of topics, only one of which is energy. Referring to climate change and other environmental and health issues, Perry added, “I don’t think that this kind of distraction helps us move the ball down the field.”

– Tristan Roberts

October 14, 2010