Henry Gifford, a mechanical systems designer and outspoken LEED naysayer filed a $100million class action lawsuit against the US Green Building Council (USGBC) on terms, that in my opinion, do not have a leg to stand on.
He argues that USGBC is fraudulently and intentionally misleading consumers and fraudulently misrepresenting energy performance of buildings certified under its LEED rating systems, and that LEED is harming the environment by leading consumers away from using proven energy-saving strategies.
Give me a break!
The New Buildings Institute (NBI) study he references was created with the intent to IMPROVE the LEED program, and was presented alongside USGBC staff at Greenbuild in 2008 and discussed that way since day 1 (full disclosure, I have worked professionally with the NBI primary author and USGBC staff in a past consultant role).
One of the most transformative aspects of the USGBC is the way that it was built upon the foundation of transparency and continuous improvement - and this particular study was offered up in good faith as a testament to both.
Further, when you dig into the numbers as studied by NBI, and the subsequent actions of the USGBC to commit to a better marriage of actual building performance and the shape of the rating system, it becomes clear what an outrageous slap in the face this is.
USGBC was built upon a foundation of collaboration among various organizations - governmental, for profit, not for profit, associations from a cross section of the sustainability community in the US, Canada and around the world.
USGBC strives for transparency and openness and it's ridiculous to think that Henry Gifford has not utilized his frustration and anger to get involved; making a positive change from the inside versus taking such an adversarial role.What do you think?