HCR25, which would ban the use of LEED v4 in Ohio was heard January 28 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Sen. Uecker gave sponsor testimony and told the committee that the resolution “urges state agencies to use only green building rating systems, codes and standards developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) when implementing state energy efficiency and environmental performance objectives.”
He also explained that the resolution is in response to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) fourth version of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, LEED v4, which “eliminates the use of a number of safe and effective building materials, impacting numerous industries in Ohio.”
There were no questions for the sponsor as he said there were several proponents who could speak to the specifics and details of the resolution better than he.
Josh Young of the American Chemical Council was the first of the proponents to testify. He said his organization and its members are supporters of energy efficiency, and that until LEED v4 came out, their products have been the building materials for all LEED-certified buildings.
He called the new LEED standards “ironic,” and said LEED v4 stepped into “chemical regulation” and created credits for “chemicals of avoidance” that target products made in Ohio, and therefore threatens jobs in the very industry LEED was created to support.
Regarding the process USGBC uses to produce LEED standards, Young said it is not an open one and allows “six or eight folks in Washington, D.C.” to tell Ohio how to build its public schools and to “cherry-picking” what materials make or don’t make their list.
He told Sen. Kearney that once the standards are put into place, schools in Ohio must conform to become LEED- certified, and the standards encourage builders to “de-select” proven, safe products.
Young also made the point that Ohio should have more than just one “eco-labling” system, and others like Green Globe and Energy Star are other “tools” used to measure efficiency standards.
“We have a one-pony situation here in Ohio,” he said.
Rich Walker of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), who said his organization’s certification labels ensure consumers of rigorous performance and safety standards of windows, doors, lights, skylights, etc., agreed with Young’s point about having manufacturing stakeholders at the USGBC table when it decides on LEED-approved materials.
Walker agreed with Sen. Ecklund’s point that if the state of Ohio dictates the standard to which a public building must be built, as it has for LEED-certified school buildings, then the state should retain the responsibility to watch that standard.
Also testifying was Allen Blakely of The Vinyl Institute, who buttressed the testimony of the others and said, “Unfortunately, we have seen discriminatory and disparaging treatment of vinyl in LEED credits, even after the (USGBC) conducted its own study showing vinyl’s health and environmental impacts were in line with the impacts of competing materials, and could be lower than alternatives.”
There were no questions for Blakely, and Chairman Balderson noted written proponent testimony also was submitted by the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council and the Ohio Coal Association.