On Saturday, I was having a leisurely breakfast with my wife when I foolishly flipped on my blackberry, opened my email and stared at the following headline:
Breakfast was essentially over. Never before had I seen the potential for LEEDigation stated so clearly in a headline.
The Comox Recreation Centre is located in Comox, Canada. According to the story at Canada.com, the project was originally pitched to receive LEED Platinum certification:
"The expansion of the main entrance area and the older multi-purpose was expected to be built to the highest level of LEED certification, or LEED Platinum when it was awarded $950,000 in federal grants last fall.
But Comox Mayor Paul Ives says that certification was never realistic given the project’s smaller budget and that the retrofit had to be built on the existing footprint.
‘If we’d gone through LEED, we were going to be hard pressed to get LEED Silver, probably not Gold and definitely not Platinum because of the rating scale,’ said Ives."
Like many cities and towns in America, the Canadian town proclaimed its desire to build green through a resolution:
"Town council held in camera meetings March 23 and resolved to build ‘an environmentally responsible and as energy efficient building as the budget allows’, a downgrade of an earlier resolution that called for LEED platinum ‘or a similar standard with financial limits.’"
So we have a federally-funded project in a Canadian city that received funding because it unrealistically promised LEED Platinum certification? Could you imagine the consequences if this project was in the United States? The Department of Energy is distributing over $6 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for "green" projects. What would happen if a city receives funds for a green building project and then drops promised LEED certification? Such a result could lead to a GAO audits and negative press.
And what are the consequences if a Government in this scenario proceeds with the project and continues to demand LEED certification from a contractor or architect? I think I am losing my appetite again.
Comox Rec Centre Not LEED Anymore (Canada.com)
Photo credit: Antony Pranata