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Congressional letter to GSA over LEED

Congressional letter to GSA over LEED

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Published by 23098adlgkj023t8
Bipartisan group of House lawmakers tell federal bureaucrats to drop green building program.
Bipartisan group of House lawmakers tell federal bureaucrats to drop green building program.

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Published by: 23098adlgkj023t8 on May 30, 2012
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05/30/2012

 
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May18,2012ActingAdministratorDanielM.TangherliniU.S.GeneralServicesAdministrationGSAOfficeoftheAdministrator1800FStreet,NWWashington,DC20405DearAdministratorTangherlini:WearewritingtodaytoexpressourconcernwiththerecentlyreleasedLEED2012standardssetforthbytheU.S.GreenBuildingCouncil's(USGBC)andsubsequentadoptionofthesestandardsbyTheGeneralServicesAdministration(GSA).Previously,GSAhasadoptedtheLEEDprogramtohelpthefederalgovernmentachieveenergyefficiencyrequirementsforbuildings,asmandatedbytheEnergyIndependenceandSecurityActof2007.However,wearedeeplyconcernedaboutproposedchangestotheLEEDprogramthatcreatethepotentialforsignificantjoblossesandincreasedbuildingcostsatatimewhenoureconomycanleastaffordit.TheproposedLEED2012ratingsystemisasignificantdeparturefromthepreviousversionandwilleliminatetheuseofdozensofmaterialsandhundredsofprovenbuildingproducts,allwhiledrivingupbuildingcoststothetaxpayerandthreateningemploymentinourdistricts.USGBCisplanningtocreatetwo"MaterialsandResources"creditsunderLEED2012:oneformaterialingredientreporting"andonefor"avoidanceofchemicalsofconcern."Thecreditswouldaffecthundredsofsubstances-manyofwhicharekeytohelpingbuildingmaterialsachievetheirdesiredproperties,includingenergyefficiency.WearedeeplyconcernedthattheLEEDratingsystemisbecomingatooltopunishchemicalcompaniesandplasticsmakersandspreadmisinformationaboutmaterialsthathavebeenattheforefrontofimprovingenvironmentalperforrnance-I-andevenoccupantsafety-andinbuildings.Thistransformationintoananti-chemicalsystemrunscountertothegovernment'sobjectivesofincreasingenergyefficiencyandutilizesaEuropeanstandardcalledREACH.USmanufacturershavenoabilitytoparticipateinthedevelopment.LEED2012notonlythreatensjobs,
it
willalmostcertainlycosttaxpayersmoney.Thearbitrarychemicalrestrictionsinthetwoproposedcreditscouldaffectmanyenergy-efficientconstructionproducts,suchasinsulation,roofing,wiringandenergy-efficientwindows,puttingafurtherstrainonalreadytightfederalbudgets.
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Mostlikelyaffectedbythenewstandardsarevinyl-basedbuildingandconstructionproducts.Theseproductsincludevinylflooring,roofing,wire,andothercriticalmaterials.Theseproductsareuniversallyconsideredthemostdurable,sustainable,andenergyefficientbytheconstructionindustry.Whetherintendedorunintended,theeffectsofthesenewprovisionswouldnotonlyseverelyharmmanufacturinginthiscountry,butwouldalsobecounter-productiveinthemissiontodevelopmoresustainableandenergyefficientbuildingcodes.Moreover,USGBChasnotanalyzedwhetheralternativematerialswouldbeabletoperformatthesamelevel,norhasitprovidedanyevidencethatavoidingexistingmaterialswillresultinimprovedenergyefficiency.IfUSGBCdoesnotreconsidertheseharmfulprovisionsinLEED2012,werespectfullyrequestthatGSAstopusingtheLEEDratingsystem.GSA'sadoptionofLEED2012,infact,wouldamounttothefederalgovernmentsanctioninganunscientific,arbitrary,anddiscriminatoryprogramofmaterialsselection.WeunderstandGSA'sinterest
in
sustainabilityandenergyefficiencythroughoutthefederalbuildinglandscape.However,thefederalgovernmentshouldnotbasethesedecisionssolelyonaprogramwhosereachhasgrowntobecounterintuitivetothismission,andwillcostnumerousAmericanjobs,whilewastingtaxpayerdollars.Thankyouforyourconsiderationofthisimportantmatterandwelookforwardtoyourresponse.Sincerely,
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