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USGBC, Kohler, KB Homes Urge GSA to Stick with LEED Rating System

The US Green Building Council, along with 1,200 businesses and organizations that include KB Home, Kohler, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Sherwin Williams and the cities of Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco, has sent a letter urging the General Services Administration to continue to use the LEED sustainable building rating system.

The USGBC and other signatories said deviating from LEED, a voluntary standard widely used in the US and required for new construction on all federal buildings, would add costs to projects.

The letter cited an Office of Management and Budget study showing that federal government investment in energy efficiency over the past four years is expected to save as much as $18 billion in lifecycle energy costs. The signatories also noted that the GSA earned the highest rating in all categories in the OMB’s 2011 sustainability scorecard, due to energy and environmental improvements across its federal building portfolio.

The letter follows the launch of the American High-Performance Building Coalition, an organization backed by 27 business associations and trade groups that support the development of a green building standard to challenge the LEED system. The formation of the coalition, which includes the US Chamber of Commerce, American Chemistry Council and the Vinyl Institute, comes as the GSA begins its review of LEED. The USGBC, which developed LEED, is currently revising the green building standard.

Twenty trade groups, which would later form the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition, lobbied to stop the GSA from considering adoption of the proposed LEED v4 construction standards. The groups says a chemical avoidance provision could eliminate the use of hundreds of products in construction projects. The group cited products such as heat-reflecting roofing membranes, PVC piping and foam insulation.

The coalition wants the GSA to switch its LEED requirement for federal buildings to another rating system, such as the Green Globes Standard.

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