“The evidence indicates that a credit that rewards avoidance of PVC could steer decision makers toward using materials that are worse on most environment impacts.”
The USGBC must “develop guidelines for approval of innovation credits that move the industry forward,” the report advised. “Recognizing that there are many possible ways to address this challenge, the capabilities and motivation of the marketplace should be engaged as a resource.”
So much for that.
Yet some say the radical bent is not particularly surprising, considering the environment-as-religion disposition of LEED’s founder, Robert Watson.
Once the chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change until it was reported he began “advocating more openly for global climate change policy, rather than just assessing the science,” Watson famously said that “buildings are literally the worst thing that humans do to the planet.”
Others point to what they call an unseemly kinship with the federal government, which they say has largely preserved the certification program’s revered status globally.
Government officials in the U.S. General Services Administration, which manages the functioning of other federal agencies and bureaus, have mandated all federally-owned facilities be built to LEED’s Gold specifications, the second highest certification the USGBC offers. GSA officials announced earlier this year it had enrolled 50 additional existing properties in the program. (Nearly 19 million square feet is LEED-certified in the District of Columbia.)
Sometime later this year, the agency will begin considering adopting LEED 2012.
That the GSA, whose own judgment has been impeached in the wake of its lavish government-sponsored conference in Las Vegas, was tasked by the White House to consider implementing these new regulations is enough to give pause to sensible government-watchers.
If these high-roller bureaucrats apply the same poor judgement here, their decision will effectively ban American timber and PVC for the federal government. Private industry, of course, will take cold comfort in the knowledge that government bureaucrats will likewise be handicapped by terrible regulations.
John Ruberry edits the Illinois political blog Marathon Pundit.