Jerry Yudelson becomes President of the Green Building Initiative, an alternative to LEED certification

Jerry Yudelson
© Jerry Yudelson

Jerry Yudelson, a respected and well-known member of the green building community who has been called "the Godfather of Green Building", has become president of the Green Building Initiative, (GBI) which runs the Green Globes building certification system. For years I have been calling the GBI a sham, established by former Louisiana Pacific exec and pr guy Ward Hubbell for the sole purpose of being friendlier to the big American lumber industry and later, the giant and powerful plastics industry than LEED.

Now Ward Hubbell is gone, the GBI has moved out of his office building, and Jerry Yudelson is telling Paula Melton of LEEDuser that "It's a new beginning, We pushed the reset button." My first reaction was that Jerry had baked too long in the Arizona sun, but apparently the dream is alive in Portland as he makes all the right noises in Paula's article and in his interview in Building Design + Construction.

There is no question that the GBI has been on a roll this year. Green Globes got approved by the General Services Administration as an alternative to LEED, while in state after state, laws are being passed that essentially ban LEED in favour of certification systems that are "based on voluntary consensus standards that have an American National Standard Institute (ANSI) designation", which (Surprise!) is Green Globes' big claim to fame.

The backstory of the GBI, how it got founded by PR exec Ward Hubbell and operated out of his office had all become a big liability. Replacing him as president with Jerry Yudelson (and moving the office) sweeps that away and gives it a serious dose of front end credibility.

Jerry tells Paula that "My goal is to be in the marketplace with a good product, a good approach, and to get more people to do green building, I don’t really see us getting engaged in anti-LEED activity as an organization"

However if Jerry is going to be more than just a green figurehead and have any credibility, he is going to have to call off the dogs trying to make LEED illegal or get them off his board. He has to get his members at the American Chemistry Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to stop their state-by-state ban drives.

Members and Supporters of the GBI/Screen capture

Perhaps a board comprised almost entirely of plastic and wood industry representatives with what looks like only two licensed building professionals, and only one architect, needs a little more balance. (Although the board looks positively fair and balanced compared to the Members and Supporters list, which reads like a plastics industry lobbyist directory)

Members and Supporters of the GBI/Screen capture

Jerry says that Green Globes is about being better, faster and cheaper. Anyone looking at the board and the list of members and supporters can see that it is all about wood and plastic. How Jerry deals with that will determine whether GBI is a reputable green building certification or if it is still Ward Hubbell's grass-topping baby.

Tags: Green Building | LEED

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