As an organization, we stand for leadership, and we know that fostering and protecting our country’s sustainability initiatives takes vigilance. Increasingly, the federal government’s green building leadership has come under attack by parochial, politically driven special interests. And now more than ever, that governmental leadership – your leadership – needs your support.
Last week, many of us expected the General Services Administration (GSA) to conclude its nearly two-year effort to make a final recommendation on a green building rating system for the federal government. Instead, GSA extended the process, issuing a request for information as to how the agency should approach green building. While many of us were surprised and disappointed with last week’s solicitation, I urge you to instead feel empowered and encouraged by this request for more information. It gives us another critical opportunity to make sure GSA gets it right. But for this effort to be successful, GSA once again needs to hear from all of us.
Throughout this multi-year process, USGBC’s community and members have rallied to urge GSA to remain a leader and continue using LEED. Last year, GSA’s use of LEED was the target of politically motivated attacks by shortsighted trade associations. In response, we sent a letter of support signed by 1,250 companies and organizations noting GSA’s impressive track record in green building and sustainability. What was clear then, as it is now, is that LEED has been a proven success story for the federal government. According to a recent report, GSA successfully reduced its energy use by almost 20 percent since 2003, and water use by almost 15 percent since 2007. GSA has shown similar success with its individual buildings. A study done by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that GSA’s LEED-certified buildings used 25 percent less energy than the national average and cost 19 percent less to operate.
But this new request for information has many wondering if GSA’s process for selecting a green building rating system for the federal government has been hijacked by the same ugly politics that have surfaced through the development of the next, more rigorous version of LEED. Some have gone so far as to suggest that green building opponents have successfully influenced GSA to delay a decision indefinitely.
We can’t let that happen. We are urging everyone to provide new comments to GSA in support of LEED by April 6th, 2013. In addition to providing our own comments, USGBC will be re–submitting our LEED support letter from last summer.
Again, we are deeply grateful for your commitment to this important cause – one that will affect the future of our buildings, our communities, and our country. For instructions on how to provide comments, scroll down to the “Addresses” section of the Federal Register publication. Additionally, we will follow up with more information and materials in the coming weeks.
Senior Vice President, Global Policy and Law