TPA Demands Answers from GSA about LEED
Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) intensified it’s investigation into the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification system by submitting three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests (click here, here, and here.) to see what kind of collaboration there was between the General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Green Building Council USGBC (USGBC). Since 2010, GSA has mandated LEED gold standards for all new federal buildings. TPA has been concerned about private, non-science based non-profit organizations like the USGBC being involved in creating environmental standards that are then relied upon to dictate government policies and in turn cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Last year, TPA highlighted the fundamental problems with LEED and the attempt to institute LEED v.4 (read here and here). In TPA’s public comment letter to the USGBC, TPA pointed out that products such as plastic insulation, vinyl roofing, and LED lighting are discouraged through the chemical avoidance credits in LEED v4, which uses the European Union’s REACH regulations as a benchmark. This is a standard that small and medium U.S. based manufacturers are unfamiliar with and will struggle to meet. Moreover, there are credits for certification in this new standard that could reward architects for rejecting modern technology and chose instead to use a thatched straw roof, yet the standards dissuade builders who use bullet resistant glass in federal courthouses. LEED v4 is filled with arbitrary and 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.