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City Council was correct

Posted: June 16, 2010 4:55 p.m.
Updated: June 17, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Lynne Plambeck’s column (“Tough love for efficiency standards,” May 6) chided the City Council for refusing a request to make LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification mandatory on construction projects in the Santa Clarita Valley.

When I was working, I had accreditation as a LEED accredited professional, and I can tell you that when the LEED program was developed, the goal was not for it to become a standard that would be a government requirement.

The LEED program was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council as a voluntary multitiered certification system that could be used to award environmental credits — which could be realized through tax credits or other incentives — to construction projects of a commercial, and later residential, nature in order to advance “environmental-friendly” design as defined by the LEED Council.

I find the idea of a city “requirement” for LEED certification to be repugnant on several levels.

First, it’s a standard defined outside the purview of a government body responsive to the voters. The Green Building Council is a private organization composed of members who are primarily construction professionals, including building-product manufacturers.

Second, over the years several of the criteria that were originally defined by the LEED Council to be worthy of credit have later been abandoned as they’ve proven impractical or of little or no benefit.

It was never the goal of LEED to replace state or local building codes, which is in effect exactly what Plambeck is calling for.

That’s inappropriate and unwarranted.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, LEED certification is an amorphous process through which a project can earn one of four levels of certification through the accumulation of “points.” The number of points and the method of achievement are left up to the design team. One project may try to earn credits that the design team of another project may be totally uninterested in. So what, exactly, is Plambeck calling for?

The City Council was absolutely correct in turning the idea down flat.


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