Army to Congress: LEED Doesn't Cost More
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The Army is still going for Gold and Platinum despite recent legislation calling a halt to LEED spending. Fort Carson is piloting net-zero energy, water, and waste--and expects to meet that target by 2020. The federal government has... On the warpath for LEED Will the Army then be submitting cost-benefit analyses for each project, as the legislation seems to require? Hammack said no. "The challenge right now is one of education," she explained. "If a building got a Gold-level certification and we were striving for Silver, that does not mean there was an incremental cost. We're working to help prepare a report for Congress so they understand the benefit of high-performance buildings." Hammack clearly views these benefits as, at least in part, financial. Can they do this? The legislation in question does have a loophole for LEED Gold and Platinum projects as long as they don't cost more. As we reported at the time, "Exceptions may also be made without a special waiver if achieving Gold or Platinum 'imposes no additional cost'." That loophole is big enough to blithely drive a tank through without bothering to show ID at the checkpoint. You apparently don't have to prove that it didn't cost more--or the Army is interpreting it that way, at any rate, while working closely with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on "educating" Congress. Build to the standard but don't certify? Another reporter asked if you could bypass the requirements by building to LEED standards but not bothering with certification. Hammack wasn't warm to that idea. "We like the LEED program because it gives another set of eyes on the construction details and helps guide the direction of architects and engineers," Hammack replied. "The cost of LEED certification is very minimal in comparison to the benefits of LEED certification and the recognition that the building has achieved certain goals." Zero energy wasted on dithering "With a limited amount of water, a limited amount of resources, and an increasing world population," Hammack said, "we need to improve our stewardship over the resources we have." Most of the call with Hammack was devoted to the progress on net-zero pilot projects. She and the rest of the Army clearly are not wasting time on questions of whether to LEED or not to LEED.