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Why Green Buildings Are Under Attack

shao, vic, green charge networksBuildings account for 40% of America’s energy use. With increased awareness of climate change, one would think that green buildings would be getting renewed support. Instead, the main proponent of green buildings, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) is coming under attack for their LEED certification.

The latest attack came from the head of the National Taxpayers Union who wrote an article for the US News & World Reportattacking LEED as a waste of taxpayer money. This attack follows decades of resistance to LEED from leaders in the plastics and lumber industries. In four states, lobbying from these industry groups was so successful that they banned the use of LEED in new public buildings.

As the founder of a technology used to achieve LEED points, energy storage, I’ve seen firsthand the power that LEED can bring to building owners who want to reduce their environmental footprint and save on their energy bills. We’ve worked closely with businesses, city governments and college campuses to help them improve their LEED ratings.

Buildings are complicated entities but LEED has simplified the rating process. LEED is a comprehensive system of interrelated standards that cover all aspects of the development and construction of a building. LEED standards have been applied to more than 7,000 projects in the United States and 30 countries.

Best of all, as technology has evolved, LEED is evolving with it. Members of USGBC review the standards multiple times per year with open Public Review hearings allowing comments and testimony from the general public. LEED even offers 5 points for “innovation” to building owners who achieve significant gains in environmental performance by using a strategy not addressed in the LEED green building system.

Committing to making building LEED isn’t just for the die-hard environmentalists. We’ve found that building owners who use energy storage for LEED achieve a return on their investment after only five years. When combined with solar, energy storage for commercial buildings can boost investor returns on solar projects by 12-15%.

It is my hope that as a community we can rally behind the powerful LEED standards set by the USGBC. We will not be able to significantly reduce America’s energy use without addressing the way that we design and operate our buildings. LEED is the right standard to help us tackle this challenge.

Vic is Chief Executive Officer of Green Charge Networks, an intelligent energy storage company based in Silicon Valley.  Since 2009, Vic led the company through its US $12 million smart grid project with Con Edison of New York, the US Department of Energy and Fortune 500 companies on a ROI-driven energy storage GreenStationTM with software intelligence to empower commercial and industrial customers to save on their energy bills. With more than 15 years experience in software development and complex system implementation, Vic is passionate in applying software to improve power efficiency.

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3 thoughts on “Why Green Buildings Are Under Attack

  1. It’s sad but you don’t hear more about so-called “green buildings” even among mainstream environmental groups seem to only be obsessed with climate change. Of course, the LEED certification program is designed for many reasons, but probably the most of which is to reduce carbon emissions so why these environmental groups don’t recognize this is inexcusable.

  2. I’m dismayed at the suppression of greebuilding news. My SE Michigan community is populated by educated people who seem to be blissfully unaware or uninterested in 21st century eco-building practices. A good example: A recent national building magazine’s top honor for energy efficiency went to a local home, the 1st Certified Passive Home in Michigan. To date, area media has had no press on this new build !

  3. I agree. What I’ve found in speaking with the public is that LEED is seen as an expensive process. It may be helpful for the US Green Building Council and its stakeholders to develop other, incremental certifications and standards, particularly for deep green retrofits. That way, people have a sense of budgetary control and there is a way for less comprehensive green building efforts to be recognized and rewarded in the marketplace.

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