Stephen DeMaura

President Barack Obama has shown that he is willing to ignore reason and logic time and time again in order to further to his philosophical agenda. This has been evident in the predictably failed rollout of healthcare reform, but it is also seen in the president’s inexplicable and constant support of so-called “green energy” – at the expense of consumers and without any evidence of success.

The Washington Examiner conducted an analysis of the tangible impact of LEED standards in New York City, asking the one question that matters: do LEED certified buildings use less energy on a relative basis than non-LEED certified buildings? The answer: No. The Examiner analysis found that buildings with LEED certifications use more energy per square foot than buildings without the certification.

LEED certification was developed and championed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) – which is not a government entity, but a private group – which profits from this faux certification boom and describes themselves as being "committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings."

In fact, I would have no problem with LEED standards if they were completely voluntary within the private sector – that is, if those builders that wanted LEED certifications were able to get them and those that didn't were not forced to comply.

But the USGBC managed a coup - somehow convincing (or bullying) the federal government, as well as more than 400 state and local communities that LEED standards were in the public's interest. Such is not the case. First, the National Research Council estimates that this green building mandate adds 8 percent to design and construction costs.

But, beyond strict costs, LEED standards have two main flaws: they are impractical and ineffective.

On the impractical front, LEED standards prevent buildings from using certain safety materials, including bulletproof glass, in courthouses, prisons and other government buildings. LEED standards don't account for the fact that government buildings are high-profile targets, and safety measures should be determined by public safety professionals not by environmental profiteers like those at the USGBC.


Stephen DeMaura

Stephen DeMaura is president of Americans for Job Security.