Skanska Protests Anti-LEED Initiative
July 10, 2013
July 10, 2013
This week, SM& client Skanska USA announced its resignation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to protest the Chamber's support of a chemical industry-led initiative that would effectively ban the future use of LEED for government buildings. The initiative is linked to lobbying efforts by the chemical industry related to the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill (S. 761), and, if successful, threatens to halt years of progress in environmentally responsible construction. The American High-Performance Building Coalition (AHPBC), a lobbying organization that harbors the American Chemistry Council, is leading the initiative. The group opposes the implementation of a new, stronger LEED certification program, dubbed LEEDv4 -and the Chamber supports that stance. The LEEDv4 program was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. Green Building Council and its 13,000 member companies on July 2. It requires greater transparency in reporting the chemical composition of building materials, which could hurt the bottom lines of some firms in the chemical industry. Sustainability is a core value of Skanska USA, and the company has been committed to building in a healthier, more efficient manner. Skanska USA President and CEO Mike McNally wrote about the importance of maintaining strong LEED standards in the Washington Post back in June, citing the huge impact of LEED and the green building industry on the nation's economy-about $554 billion annually-and the fact that a separate standard for government buildings will cripple both innovation and progress, while adding cost in the process. Read more about Skanska USA's decision to resign from the Chamber on the company's blog.