Projects Cut Out LEED Certification

Previously, Green Building Law Update wrote that the struggling financial sector may impact the number of projects seeking LEED certification. This past weekend, an article highlighting this point came across my desk that I had to share. Gazette.Net profiled numerous green building projects in Maryland that, despite initially incorporating numerous green building strategies, will not seek LEED certification:

Despite its bevy of energy-saving features, local construction material and preferred parking for hybrid vehicles, the latest office building by Matan Cos. of Frederick isn't receiving the green imprimatur of the U.S. Green Building Council.
 

Matan's RiversideFive office building — a 126,151-square-foot, four-story structure near the Monocacy River — meets the council's criteria for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification. But Matan is waiting until a tenant requests a LEED-certified building to actually complete the certification process, which can cost up to $2,250.
 

Matan Cos. went on to claim that LEED certification was not pursued because of owners “conscientious of savings.”  The article also highlights another development project that initially sought LEED certification and then abandoned green building strategies:

BP Solar, which is expanding its Frederick headquarters, originally sought LEED certification with a planned green roof, solar panels and energy-efficient design. Plans for going green changed when BP announced it would not complete the $97 million project to expand its manufacturing capacity, but finish only the $30 million addition for office space.
 

 
Obviously, this is just anecdotal evidence but these projects suggest that LEED certification will find itself on the chopping block as projects struggle to gain financing.  On Wednesday, we will discuss a Maryland public project that eliminated LEED certification.  State budgets, in particular, will feel a substantial impact from the financial downturn, and state green building efforts may pay the price. 

Photo Credit:  Matan Cos.

Related links: 

Developers cede LEED label for savings (Gazette.Net)

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Green Building Law Update - October 22, 2008 9:20 AM
As part of our review of the economic downturn's effect on green building, on Monday we looked at private projects that have cut LEED certification due to associated costs. Today, we move from private projects to public projects. Despite this...
Green Building Law Update - November 7, 2008 9:44 AM
As the economy continues to stumble along, the effects on the green building industry are starting to emerge. Green Building Law Update previously predicted that LEED certification would find itself on the chopping block and specific examples were dis...
Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
StrongWall Group - October 20, 2008 4:51 PM

It seems the cost of certification is becoming more of an issue. Developers seems to have less of a problem incorporating green building elements, however the time, cost and coordination that is necessary to get the certification is not welcome.

One thing I am hearing more often is "We didn't see the need to get certified, but this would be a Silver/Gold project." The problem with that reasoning is it does not take into account the more strict calculations the USGBC uses vs. the back of napkin "We'd be Silver" approach.

Chris Cheatham - October 21, 2008 8:54 PM

StrongWall Group -

I agree with your points. I am a strong supporter of green building, but I am concerned that the economic downturn is going to have an impact on the number of projects seeking certification. Maybe this isn't a big problem, particularly if projects are still incorporating green building strategies.

As a construction lawyer, my main concern is projects that promise green building certification but then forego the process due to the costs.

Chris

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