A ban on Federal funds for LEED building has been inserted in a transportation funding bill by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Wicker's intent isn't to promote use of non-FSC lumber, but to restrict "what he sees as Federally funded "green washing."
After three years, six comment periods and plenty of robust debate, the members of the U.S. Green Building Council approved LEED v4 in earlier this month. But the approval process was frought, and in the lead-up to LEED v4, states with larger private forestry businesses - notably Maine, Georgia, and North Carolina - moved to ban LEED for state-funded projects. The reason: LEED gave short shrift to wood as a component in green building, and FSC-certified wood was the only approved definition of "green" wood.
The latest version of LEED opens the door to non-FSC certified wood, with a yet-to-be-determined equivalent standard.
"We look forward to working with USGBC and other stakeholders to define 'USGBC-approved equivalent,' in the months ahead," said FSC in a statement last month. "Ultimately there should be leadership standards for every major building material input, not only forest products."
Sen. Wicker's Amendment to Bill 1243
SA 1777. Mr. WICKER submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 1243, making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:
Sec. 4___. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to require the use of a green buildings certification system to construct or modify a building other than a green buildings certification system that:
(1) is based on voluntary consensus standards that have an American National Standard Institute (ANSI) designation or were developed by an ANSI-audited designator; and
(2) only excludes a building material if the exclusion is well-founded and based on robust scientific data and risk assessment principles.