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Military Should Use LEED Despite Political Pressure, Says Report

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Feb 22, 2013 01:01 AM
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by Paula Melton last modified Feb 15, 2013

Author name:  Paula Melton Blog Category:  On Our Radar In a long-awaited cost report, the National Research Council recommends LEED Silver or its equivalent as the preferred green building standard for the military. This BBL-designed Air Force Reserve center at camp Withycombe was certified LEED Gold in September 2011, just weeks before the congressional ban on LEED spending took effect. Photo Credit: BBL Architects In the ongoing battle between industry lobbyists and LEED, chalk one up for LEED. A long-awaited report from the National Research Council gives the nod to LEED Silver ratings "or equivalent" for military buildings. The report looked at a variety of methods of comparing costs and benefits and ultimately confirmed that LEED Silver certification is the preferred model for limiting costs and maximizing benefits. Why this is important The timber and plastics industries have been pressuring legislators and agency policymakers to shun LEED for years. (Lloyd Alter's fabulous ongoing coverage of that over at Treehugger is a must-read.) What's new is that they've started succeeding at both the state and federal levels —most recently with a renewed congressional moratium on military LEED spending above the Siver level . (See Title XXVIII, Subtitle C—Energy Security.) Takeaways from today's report The LEED Gold ban may come to an end now that the Department of Defense (DoD) has provided Congress with the required cost-benefit analysis on green building rating systems and codes. Made public this morning, the report recommends continued certification to the LEED Silver level "or equivalent" as the baseline, according to a National Academy of Sciences press release : The committee that wrote the report found that DOD's current policy is sound, although not every high-performance or green building will have significant energy and water savings -- even if it is certified at a LEED-Silver or equivalent rating. The research studies did not provide sufficient evidence to draw generalizations as to why, but building type as well as the specific technologies employed to reduce energy or water use were factors. It is not yet clear, though, whether LEED Gold or LEED Platinum ratings will be encouraged or even allowed. It's also unclear what might constitute an "equivalent" to LEED Silver. Other highlights: Flexibility to modify building standards should remain in place. There should be DoD policies related to measuring actual building performance. The report methodology should continue to be used by DoD to prioritize green building goals in terms of cost-effectiveness (using a cost-effectiveness analysis supported as needed by cost-benefit analysis). Facility managers need to be trained to ensure effective operation of high-performance buildings. read more






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