A Jan. 22 article in the San Antonio Business Journal headlined “Risk of LEED Decertification Looms Large for Real Estate” contains “several inaccuracies, causing unnecessary anxiety in the marketplace,” says Ashley Katz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Green Building Council. The Washington, D.C.-based group developed LEED, a popular green-building rating system.
Bradley S. Carson’s article is based on a challenge, filed to USGBC last year, to the LEED-New Construction Gold certification awarded in 2007 to Northland Pines High School in Eagle River, Wis. The article said the school could be subject to decertification as a result of LEED 2009 provisions called “minimum program requirements,” or MPRs. A “little-known provision in LEED 2009, which allows LEED certifications to be challenged and removed at any time after they have been certified, presents a threat to all existing and future LEED-2009-certified projects,” says the article.
Not true, says USGBC. The MPR in question says owners must provide energy consumption data to USGBC on an ongoing basis as a stipulation for continued certification. MPRs were created for only research purposes, not as a way to strip certification, says Katz. In any case, LEED projects are held to only the requirements that existed on the day a project is registered. Last month, the USGBC issued LEED 2009 Supplemental Guidance to clear up any confusion.
The complaint is allowed under an appeal process begun in 2005, before the school was registered. USGBC expects to issue its ruling soon on the challenge to the first U.S. public high school to achieve LEED Gold. Both USGBC and the architect, Hoffman LLC, declined to offer more details.