Something very important popped out at me when I re-read the New York Times article about the green buildings not performing as anticipated. The green building highlighted for poor energy performance is a General Services Administration building:
"The building’s cooling system, a major gas guzzler, was one culprit. Another was its design: to get its LEED label, it racked up points for things like native landscaping rather than structural energy-saving features, according to a study by the General Services Administration, which owns the building."
Why would I bring up the New York Times article yet again to point out the GSA's ownership of the building? The GSA received $4.5 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for construction and renovation of federal buildings. The GSA also requires that all new projects be LEED Silver certified, with a preference for LEED Gold certification. That means $4.5 billion is being spent on new GSA projects that could fail in the same manner as the building in the New York Times article.
Next week we will look at why design professionals and contractors want to avoid ARRA green building project failures. My colleagues at Crowell & Moring have done a tremendous job analyzing the ARRA, including funding for the investigation of fraud, waste and abuse.
Photo: wilkins lee