Sometimes I feel sorry for the US Green Building Council, they can't win for trying. On the one hand, the clearcut lumber barons and the entire chemical industry are pushing their congressional errand boys to delegitimize LEED; On the other hand, a lot of people in green building thinks that LEED doesn't go nearly far enough, isn't nearly green enough.
The Connecticut branch of the USGBC certainly gave a lot of ammunition to those who think LEED's green credentials are questionable when it gave an award last night to Nestle Waters' headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Nestle has been pushing their press release around the internet, which includes:
According to Connecticut Green Building Council, when reviewing nominations, the judges consider water conservation strategies, energy usage, site design, indoor air quality and overall building aesthetics. NWNA's Stamford, Conn., headquarters incorporate many sustainably focused features, including:
- A white roof to reduce use of heating and air conditioning;
- Low energy/high efficiency lighting system and low-flow water fixtures in bathrooms;
- Convenient recycling in logical locations, such as kitchens and coffee bars;
- Preferred parking spaces for low-emission vehicles; and
- High recycled content on furniture, fabrics, countertops, carpet and ceiling tiles.
So they are giving an award to the headquarters of a company whose business is " healthful hydration"- sucking water out of the ground while barely paying for it, pouring it into bottles made from fossil fuels, selling it for 10,000 times its real cost and either littering the countryside or having taxpayers pay to pretend to recycle them.
But hey, they have low flow water fixtures!
Then there is the matter of "Preferred parking spaces for low-emission vehicles." Wow. You can build an office building in the middle of the suburbs where probably every single employee has to drive, but hey, the Prius has preferred parking, probably a good thing because the black asphalt parking lot is three times the footprint of the building. What hypocrisy.
Really, Connecticut USGBC, if Nestle wants to greenwrap their buildings and apply for LEED certification, take their money, even if the use is laughably inappropriate. But you don't have to give them an award. What were you guys thinking?