Ohio Senate hearings on a non-binding resolution to ban the use of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design green building rating system on public projects will likely take place early next year. If passed by both houses of the Ohio General Assembly, the resolution would recommend to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission a ban on the use of LEED.
On Oct. 31, Ohio state Sens. Joe Uecker (R-Loveland) and Tim Shaffer (R-Lancaster) introduced Ohio State Concurrent Resolution 25, which recommends banning the new LEED Version 4; the resolution is currently before the Senate's energy and resources committee. "This is ... not a bill. [It's a] 'please take notice and listen to our concerns' kind of effort," says Uecker.
The senators' biggest concern involves a new credit that discourages use of products USGBC deems harmful to the environment.
The credit has plastics and chemical advocacy groups up in arms. Ohio, in particular, has several building-materials suppliers that produce plastic foam insulation, polyvinyl chloride and manufactured wood products.
"If there are accusations against certain chemicals, let's have an open and transparent discussion about them," says Uecker. A list of chemicals "to avoid" could have a negative impact on jobs and construction costs, he adds.
The trade groups, including the American Chemistry Council, also claim the USGBC closed them out of a truly open consensus process in the new LEED's development.
"If certain parties don't get exactly what they want, they take grievances to legislatures," says Lane Burt, USGBC policy director. "We've gotten threats: 'If you don't say what we're doing is green, we are going to petition elected officials to take LEED away.'"
Maine, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama have bans on LEED use on public projects.