Category Archives: Green Building

Is the U.S. Green Building Council Becoming a Not-So-Jolly Green Giant?

Friday ForumAs folks who travel in sustainability circles know well, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green rating system, better known as LEED® certification, is far and away the industry leader when it comes to validating green construction projects.  Developed by the Washington, D.C. non-profit the U.S. Green Building Council (“USGBC”), LEED had been used to certify the green bona fides of more than 55,000 projects around the world as of October 2013; by way of comparison, a rival system, Green Globes, had been used for just 850.

My Twitter feed has featured a series of “good news” chirps for USGBC lately.  For example, about a month ago, the agency touted its release of the 2013 Top Ten States for LEED (North Carolina cracked the top ten at #7):

Locally, Barnhill Contracting promoted a Triangle Business Journal slideshow featuring some high-profile Triangle projects to obtain LEED certification recently:

But another series of tweets reveals that the USGBC is facing unprecedented challenges that call into question its continued dominance of the rating system marketplace.  As best as I can tell, these challenges fall into three categories: (1) its competitor, Green Globes, is starting to make inroads; (2) some state legislatures are seeking to ban use of LEED on public construction projects; and (3) the adoption of green building codes by state and local governments calls into question the value of voluntary rating systems like LEED and Green Globes altogether.

Continue reading


Filed under Green Building