House Bill 628 , a bipartisan bill, if passed will bring some sensible thinking to the use of the “green” certification process known as LEED certification. The LEED process is controlled by a private corporation and can add greatly to the cost
of a building. It also can discriminate against locally sourced products in favor of products from other places. The LEED certification also judges buildings by such non-construction related aspects as wages paid to people providing materials and labor relations. It even uses how many bike racks you have outside the building and nearby housing density as criteria in some cases (the denser the better – suburbs are bad).
The key part of the bill that protects North Carolina is the new language which says:
To achieve sustainable building standards, 17 a construction project may utilize a nationally recognized high performance environmental 18 building rating system, provided that any such rating system (i) does not use a material or 19 product-based credit system disadvantaging materials or products manufactured or produced in 20 this State; (ii) gives certification credits equally to forest products grown, manufactured, and 21 certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the American Tree Farm System, and the 22 Forest Stewardship Council; (iii) must be developed in conformity with American National 23 Standards Institute procedures; and (iv) must either be approved as American National 24 Standards or developed by a designator audited by the American National Standards Institute.
This bill is not as the hysterical title of this Business Journal Article an “Anti-LEED bill…” It is a sensible bill to make sure North Carolina products and suppliers are not discriminated against when it comes to competing for projects financed by state taxpayers. Hopefully we will see more such sensible approaches to protecting the environment as we go forward.