The Issues

SCR25’s sponsoring Senators, Uecker (District 14) and Schaffer (District 31), and the industry groups working against healthy, sustainable schools for Ohio have made a number of false or unsubstantiated claims about LEED v4.  Below are facts and quotes provided to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee through SCR25 Opponent Testimony. This information is also available in our LEED v4 and SCR25 Summary Document.

Claim: Even if LEED v4 is banned, buildings can still be built using previous LEED standards.

Fact: Banning LEED v4 means banning LEED altogether. 

Currently, project teams desiring LEED certifications have the option to register and use either the portfolio of LEED 2009 rating systems, OR the LEED v4 systems. However after June of next year, just 15 months away, there will no longer be an option to choose the current 2009 systems.

“To ban LEED v4 would be a ban on LEED altogether. It would be saying to the public, ‘No, we don’t want the best buildings for our kids anymore.’  It would an incredible disservice to our students and our constituents to take away such a strong, effective, and proven program.”

—Dan Roberts, Retired Superintendent, Miami-Trace School District

“In Ohio, Owens Corning employs over 2,200 and Ohio is home to nearly 1,900 retirees and 11 facilities, including the first fiberglass insulation plant in the world in Newark. Owens Corning has experienced positive advantages to our business of green and high performance building and we are opposed to Senate Concurrent Resolution 25.”

—Jay Murdoch, Director of Government and Public Affairs, Owens Corning

Claim: USGBC does not use a consensus-based process to develop standards.

Fact: An independent, multi-year study commissioned by the United States General Services Administration and prepared by division of Battelle, confirms that LEED is indeed a “consensus” standard. 

In fact, LEED v4 was approved only after an unprecedented six comment periods resulting in over 22,000 public comments, with 86% of overall membership in favor of adoption, including majority approval from each major stakeholder group (89% of producers/contractors/builders, 90% of users, and 77% in the general interest category of utilities, manufacturers and organizations).

Claim: LEED v4 will eliminate certain materials from LEED buildings.

Fact: There is no list of materials that are banned from LEED projects. 

Early draft credits proposed a variety of avoidance or chemicals of concern restrictions, but these were all completely removed during the open and transparent LEED standards development process. This was due to great extent by the USGBC desire to implement only a rating system that is feasible, does not penalize industries, and still pushes the marketplace to innovate and solve tough problems.

Instead, there are 1-2 optional points—out of 110—available for documenting what ingredients are contained in 20 building products—out of the hundreds of products in an entire project. This can be as simple as providing the Material Safety Data Sheets that have already been required and produced for decades for products used in construction, operations, cleaning, and similar activities to disclose potential human health hazards and recommend proper handling, transport, and use.

LEED continually creates space for innovation, competition and growth of so many American industries.  Cleveland’s own Sherwin-Williams is a great example of a company that found an opportunity for innovation available in LEED’s voluntary credits and has emerged as a market leader in the production of low-emitting paints and coatings.

“If I were designing a project to be certified under LEED V4, I would be free to choose the best available products to fit the owner’s needs and budget. If vinyl flooring and windows are the best option to meet the owner’s needs then that is what we specify… There is no mandate or prohibition for any product. Installing specific products does not prevent a building from achieving LEED certification.”

— Michael Huff, Architect, Ruetschle Architects

Claim: LEED v4 will hurt Ohio jobs.

Fact: LEED v4 continues to promote use of regionally-sourced materials to support the local economy.

LEED has been great for Ohio.  In addition to energy and water savings, and diversion of waste from landfills, Ohio’s LEED schools have obtained 35% of material from regional sources, benefitting the local economy while curbing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

“The LEED consulting work my company does has been a key contributor to tripling our mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering staff in Ohio between 2008 and the end of 2013…notice those were recession years for our industry, but green building fueled growth in this area of our business even then. Sustainable buildings make clear sense from an economic, social and environmental standpoint. Government leadership and policy initiatives should encourage, not discourage, continued green building in Ohio and leave all sustainable design tools, including LEED, on the table for our owners, architects, engineers and building operators.”

— Nadja Turek, Director of Sustainable Design Services, Woolpert, Inc.

“I know that the language in LEED v4 will not cause me to avoid any specific chemicals or materials that I believe are well suited for the project I am working on. LEED v4, like previous versions of LEED, does, however, still encourage the use of locally sourced and manufactured materials. Most of the LEED projects that I have worked on have been able to document that roughly 30% of the materials used in the construction of the building were produced regionally. This is a trend I expect to continue, resulting in the maintenance or even addition of Ohio jobs.”

—Allison McKenzie, Architect, SHP

Claim: Adopting green building standards that have American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval will level the playing field for all green building rating systems. USGBC could take LEED through the full ANSI consensus process at any time and meet the requirement of the resolution.

Fact: ANSI has not approved any current green building standards, effectively leaving Ohio with no updated green building standards to choose from with LEED off the table. In addition, ANSI’s “Essential Requirements” include non-duplication of existing standards so LEED could not compete.

The 2010 version of Green Globes, an alternative third-party green rating system, went through the ANSI process and was determined to be an ANSI rating system (GBI/ANSI 01-2010). However, the newer 2013 Green Globes rating tool has not been taken through the ANSI standards process and cannot be until 2015 at the mandated review interval. Thus, requiring Ohio to use only an ANSI standard leaves the state with a monopoly on one out-dated system and no alternatives.