They are cracking open the champagne bottles at 2104 SE Morrison in Portland, Oregon tonight; that's the address of Hubbell Communications, a flack shop that " specializes in creating and managing advocacy coalitions around complex public policy issues." Oh, and it is also the address of the Green Building Initiative, which runs the Green Globes building certification system, imported by Ward Hubbell (who recently stepped down as President of the GBI) to act as an alternative to LEED, but one that is commonly described as more "friendly to industry", particularly plastics.
Agencies should choose between LEED and Green Globes (rather than using both) and achieve at least Silver or Two Globes, respectively. Higher levels of certification are encouraged “if cost-effective or necessary to allow the agency to continue its mission.”
The American High-Performance Building Coalition has scored. The lobby organization formed last year to kill LEED and counting among its members just about every toxic chemical manufacturer in the USA, is ecstatic, but pushing for more:
Today’s announcement by GSA is a step in the right direction however much more must be done to ensure that all green building codes, standards, rating systems and credits used by the federal government are developed through confirmed, true voluntary consensus processes that are steeped in science, technical rigor, full transparency, broad stakeholder input, and due process.
The US Green Building Council that runs the LEED program put on a brave face in a press release, saying "At this point, it is unassailable, LEED works. It has played a significant role in GSA’s achievement of its energy and sustainability goals."
Dream on. Green Globes is now recognized as legit and will eat your lunch; it's cheaper, it lets builders use all that plastic, and is friendlier to less rigorous lumber certification standards. In state after state, the politicians paid for by the plastics industry will insist upon it.
It is like that scene at the end of Miracle on 34th Street, when Santa Claus is recognized by an official branch of the United States Government, the Post Office. Christmas arrived for the Green Building Initiative today, courtesy of the GSA.
I have to congratulate Former GBI President Hubbell; from his former career as a Louisiana Pacific PR exec, he got funding from the lumber industry to set up a big-lumber-friendly certification system, bought it off the shelf in Canada, got the plastics and oil industry to buy in big-time, and now, just like Santa, the giant PR exercise is recognized by an official branch of the USA Government.
It is a terrific day for big lumber, big plastic and the public relations industry. For people who care about green building, it's not.