Not a good day for Green Building

Not a good day for Green Building in the USA.

Lloyd Alter on TreeHugger reports that the Green Building Initiative, which runs the Green Globes building certification system has been recognised as a LEED alternative by the federal General Services Administration

I feel sad for friends, colleagues, advocates in the US who are passionate in defending real green building and real building product transparency that will restore the damage done by the built environment.

Lloyd writes: The lobby organization formed last year to kill LEED and counting among its members just about every toxic chemical manufacturer in the USA, is ecstatic, but pushing for more …

The US Green Building Council that runs the LEED program put on a brave face in a press release, saying “At this point, it is unassailable, LEED works. It has played a significant role in GSA’s achievement of its energy and sustainability goals.”

Dream on. Green Globes is now recognized as legit and will eat your lunch; it’s cheaper, it lets builders use all that plastic, and doesn’t give points for FSC certified lumber. In state after state, the politicians paid for by the plastics industry will insist upon it.

Unfortunately I see this as a discussion, then argument and battle waiting to happen here in the UK and Europe. As we push for deeper green standards such as the Living Building Challenge, for deeper product transparency, as Google and other clients will undoubtedly push for non toxic red list materials in their buildings, we will see the push from the power of the petro-chemical, plastics  and big lumber organisations, resisting change for healthy products.

And unfortunately I see our UK Greenest Government Ever likely to side with these giants, removing as they already are in numerous areas, environmental protection so as not to damage industry and growth, headed by an Environmental Minister who is taking  green policy back to the 70s

The UK green build fraternity, advocates, green build councils and accreditation organisations needs to hold strong in the coming years.

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Homeowners Unlikely to Take Advantage of Green Deal, warns FMB

Press release received this am from the Federation of Master Builders claims that almost 44% thought homeowners were unlikely to take advantage of the Green Deal when it launches in autumn 2012, and may not be not be the green revolution the Government hopes it will be

Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the FMB said:

The Government is hoping that its Green Deal will persuade homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient but almost 44% of our members, small building firms that are in contact with homeowners on a daily basis, think homeowners are unlikely to take advantage of it. If the Government wants the Green Deal to be a success it should start by offering additional incentives. 70% of respondents to our survey believe that cutting VAT to 5% on all energy efficient materials and work would increase homeowner interest. More than a quarter also believe that council tax reductions would be the biggest incentive for homeowners.

“Small, local building companies should be the natural choice for homeowners wanting to retrofit their property or make it more energy efficient. However, nearly half of FMB members are worried that they will be squeezed out of the Green Deal market by the major energy companies and retailers and 58% felt that it was either very unlikely or unlikely that small and medium sized building companies would see their workloads increase as a result of the Green Deal. The FMB is therefore calling on the Government to help small building companies have equal access to the energy efficiency market by allowing an independent third party financial provider to handle Green Deal finance packages. This would help ensure that small building companies can compete fairly with the larger companies who will be offering ‘one–stop-shops’ to consumers.”

“The critical issue is encouraging consumers to take up the Green Deal. What is very concerning is that the Energy Bill, which is the legal basis of the Green Deal, is not ambitious enough. The Bill needs to set out a clearer plan to bring the UK’s homes up to standard if it is to succeed in making our homes greener and more energy efficient. To create consumer demand for the Green Deal additional incentives such a cut in VAT for energy efficient works and a reduction in council tax for retrofitted homes are also needed. These incentives would help ensure that the Green Deal is a success and that the Government can achieve its stated aim to be ‘the greenest government ever’.”

For more information please visit: www.fmb.org.uk