LEED-bashing: War in the woods heats up in Southern states

Russ Bynum of Bloomberg Businessweek tries to explain why so many states are trying to ban LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

...The program is facing an outcry from a growing number of governors and legislatures who say LEED uses unfair standards that effectively keep their states' timber growers out of the booming green-building market.

The Sustainable Foresty Initiative says its wood is as green as that certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The groups that say they're being snubbed by LEED insist all three standards accomplish the same big-picture goals for ensuring sustainable timber growth — they require replanting after trees are removed by logging, they impose buffers next to rivers and streams to reduce pollution and they contain protections for habitat used by endangered animals.

There is a lot more to FSC certification than just that, including those kinds of things that grate in America, such as workers rights, employment conditions, gender equality and indigenous peoples' rights. What does that have to do with green building anyway? So instead of upgrading standards, SFI and the lumber industry are working to destroy LEED, state by state. They appear to be having some success.

In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal last year used an executive order to ban state government construction projects from seeking LEED certification. Alabama, Maine and Mississippi also enacted bans, while a similar measure has passed the North Carolina House and awaits a Senate vote.

More in Bloomberg Businessweek

Tags: Forestry | LEED


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