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4 Reasons the Battles Over LEED in the Military Are a Distraction

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Mar 07, 2013 01:01 AM
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by Paula Melton last modified Mar 05, 2013

Author name:  Paula Melton Blog Category:  BuildingGreen Sounds Off As DoD rethinks its green building needs, a recommendation to keep using LEED is just the tip of the iceberg. This post is the first in a series on the federal government’s use of green building certifications. Coming soon: What’s really up with LEED and the Federal Government? This shows the first few megabytes of the Unified Facilities Criteria documents found on the Whole Building Design Guide . The list goes on...but the standard still includes LEED, for now. Photo Credit: WBDG, screen capture Special-interest groups have been fighting the LEED rating systems on multiple fronts ever since LEED got a foothold in government policymaking. These groups (primarily chemical manufacturers and timber interests) are making headway . LEED still matters, for now Despite these pressures, along with LEED’s weakness as a policymaking tool (like all voluntary rating systems, it really doesn’t work as a mandate unless the government is explicit about credits and energy performance targets that must be achieved), a recent report recommended that the Department of Defense should continue with its current certification policy : LEED Silver or equivalent. DoD’s updated Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) , hot off the press, has stood by that recommendation for new construction: In accordance with OUSD AT&L Memorandum, “Department of Defense Sustainable Buildings Policy”, DoD Components will design and build all new construction and major renovations projects: 1) in compliance with the Guiding Principles, 2) third-party certified to the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver level (or approved equivalent rating), and 3) achieve no fewer than 40% of the certification points related to energy and water conservation. In addition, all repair and renovations projects must conform to the Guiding Principles where they apply. [emphasis added] How important is it for the military to keep using LEED? For the sake of public perception, it’s extremely important: if DoD thinks LEED is the best way to ensure green building design and construction quality, then a lot of other people will too. On the other hand, LEED does not—and was never meant to—meet all of the military’s building needs. They’ve got a lot of other things going on, from carbon requirements to energy performance reporting to enhanced security needs, and their UFC documents are a great demonstration of the difference between building codes or standards (like the IgCC and ASHRAE 189.1 —both of which USGBC helped develop) and building rating systems (like LEED). read more





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