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Response from Rick Fedrizzi to the Fourth USA Today Article Attacking Green Buildings

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Statement from Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC, Response to the Fourth USA Today Article Attacking Green Buildings

Washington, DC (Dec. 11, 2012) – USA Today has once again written an article attacking green building, deliberately ignoring information we provided and cherry picking data that misleads readers. The story is unbalanced and purposely attempts to impugn LEED despite the fact that it has helped lead quantified best practices in designing, constructing and operating all our buildings, including our nation’s schools.

Our kids deserve schools that enhance their ability to learn by providing more daylight, better acoustics and cleaner, fresher air. But too many of our schools are dark, dingy places filled with airborne toxins and worse. Our schools need improvement and green schools are the answer. Green schools emphasize high indoor air quality, remove toxic materials and products and reduce CO2 emissions. Green schools offer welcoming learning environments that lessen distractions and encourage student participation. On average, green schools use 33% less energy and 32% less water than conventionally constructed schools, significantly reducing utility costs. These are facts.

A LEED certification of new construction means that every aspect of the building design and the construction process was better than standard practice, better than minimum code requirements, and third party verified to be real. Building owners, be they private sector leaders like Starbucks, Target, Wells Fargo and PNC Bank or state, federal and local governments, find value in LEED certification because it validates that they got what they paid for through the design and construction process.

We have repeatedly explained to USA Today that USGBC is a 501c3 non-profit and we have a specific rating system for the on-going performance of buildings — LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance — that is not mentioned here or in any of the other articles. This is where and how true performance happens.

Although LEED is not the only way to improve or green a school, LEED is helping put money back into classrooms around the country and can make a tremendous impact on student health, school operational costs and the environment. Today, nearly 3,000 K-12 school projects participating in LEED are saving energy, water and precious resources, reducing waste and carbon emissions, creating jobs, saving money, driving innovation and providing healthier, more comfortable spaces for children to learn, play and grow.

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org and connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Executive Vice President, D. Stephenson Construction, Inc.

Since 2000 we have built 90 new and replacement schools in the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida. We recently compared the energy usage of our LEED schools to all of our schools as well as our most recently constructed non-LEED-certified schools. What we found was that our 6 LEED schools are 31% more energy efficient than the district average and 24% more energy efficient than our last 10 non-LEED schools. We are in design or construction for 5 new schools scheduled to open by between now and 2015. Because of our outstanding success with LEED schools all of them will at least be LEED Silver with one slated to be LEED Platinum.

Partner, Director of Sustainability , WRNS Studio

We just completed a Lower Middle School in California – 4 buildings and a new campus. All buildings to be certified – one likely Platinum and Net Zero Energy.

The project is a private school but the cost was below what is a standard cost for California schools. At $350/sf they got photovoltaic on a building, rainwater tank, greywater tank and other wonderful features including outdoor gardens for growing vegetables, outdoor kilns, an art area, etc. The Commissioning is done and our utility PGE is doing metering on the net zero project right now. The project is 85,000 sf of building and 6 acres of land.

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