Wednesday, December 12, 2012

USA Today exposes more LEED green waste

Yesterday I saw the lead story on the print edition of USA Today about the latest green failure-so called green schools. These schools make up nearly half of new school construction--which is up 30 percent from just four years ago, according to McGraw-Hill. By 2025, the same firm predicts all new schools will be green.

Is this a good return on our investment?

From USA Today:
States and districts are spending more to build green schools even as they slash academic and extracurricular programs and amass multibillion-dollar backlogs of schools needing repairs and replacement.

In Ohio, the state is cutting $1.8 billion in aid to schools in 2012 and 2013 while agreeing to pay builders and designers an extra $160 million from a tobacco settlement fund so that 300 new schools can get certified under LEED.

In Illinois, where public schools need $10 billion in construction work, the state Capital Development Board opted to pay districts up to 5% extra to make their new buildings LEED-certified, as state law requires. The board has paid $800,000 extra per school project so far. With more than 300 schools needing replacement or additions, the extra payments could exceed $250 million.

The green-school boom, a powerful and often costly phenomenon, is being driven largely by the Green Building Council, whose promise of student improvement and long-term cost savings has support from environmental and health advocates, teachers unions, school designers and the Department of Education.
LEED is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a building certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

These LEED schools cost two to three percent more to build--and up to 10 percent more in some instances.

What about energy savings? Data is hard to come by--but LEED schools are supposed to cut energy usage by 30 percent. It's safe to say that they are not doing that--if these savings were real, school districts and the Green Building Council would be boasting about it.

Advocates of green schools claim that student and teacher performances improve. Well, according to USA Today, that is a specious claim.

Over 200 municipalities, states and federal agencies require LEED certification for public buildings.

Never underestimate the ability of bureaucrats to find new ways to squander taxpayer money.

Related posts:

LEED's seal-of-approval forests have illusory benefits

Green energy waste: LEED's a loser

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