Below is an op-ed submitted to our local newspaper regarding our local Conference Center.  I wrote this in response to an article they published in today's paper, where city staff members and leaders are lamenting that the building they mortgaged our fire houses to build didn't receive a higher "LEED" rating.  The Conference Center project has been in the red since it opened—since conception, actually.  Now the thing on their minds is raising the "LEED" certification for this boondoggle?  Oh my....we have some seriously delusional people in government.  Anyway....read on....

The Gastonia Conference Center could be the poster child for using taxpayer money to chase rainbows.  If common sense were more common, we would not have city leaders and staff looking for "LEED" pots of gold at the end of rainbows.  In order to satisfy some idiocy of global warming (which is also a scam played on the public), a group of self-appointed, unelected, false experts set themselves up to "LEED" an entire nation to economic ruin using mumbo-jumbo and tax dollars.   

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) (a private non-profit dreamed up "LEED," a third party rating system for buildings) eventually became part of the World Green Building Council.   Ambition not lacking, USGBC and the World Green Building Council began to lobby the building industry, building trade organizations, architects, and governments, simultaneously, to adopt "LEED" certification for all new development and remodeling development.  At the same time, our government(s) began pushing the now trite and highly suspect word, "Sustainability."  What does this mean to you?  Hundreds of millions of tax dollars going straight into other people's pockets for chasing rainbows.

Speaking of pots of gold, USGBC states: "The USGBC advocates government incentives for green building practices. It states, "One of the most effective strategies to encourage green building is through financial or structural incentives. Rewarding developers or homeowners who adopt green building techniques spurs innovation and demand for green building technologies." It also states, "Financial incentives, including tax credits/ abatements and revolving loan funds, are a highly successful means of encouraging developers to follow green building practices."

The U.S. Green Building Council is a private organization that is, "committed to supporting federal, state and local governments in their pursuit and development of green building programs and initiatives." 

Does it work? "Bank of America's Toxic Tower, New York's 'greenest' skyscraper, is actually its biggest energy hog." "And it wasn't only the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification—the first ever for a skyscraper—and the $947,583 in incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority." "According to data released by New York City last fall, the Bank of America Tower produces more greenhouse gases and uses more energy per square foot than any comparably sized office building in Manhattan. It uses more than twice as much energy per square foot as the 80-year-old Empire State Building.

Is this really good for you?   Just like the government mandate taking lead from paint now results in mold all over the exterior of your house, the so-called green / sustainability building practices are resulting in bad health effects for humans in the built environment.  HVAC systems are now more expensive while tasked with replacing dead air in buildings built too tight to allow a reasonable transfer of fresh air, a situation that older buildings never had.  

According to another "sustainability" expert who is looking to cash in on another aspect of this insanity, "We're building projects that are progressively more energy efficient, and we're building tighter and tighter boxes. If we fill them up with materials that are toxic, we're creating the perfect gas chamber." 

Well, that sounds wonderful, doesn't it?  Can't wait to own, live and work in that gas chamber!  That hotel you stayed in last week that says they only wash the sheets and towels every other day?  You know, the one that has such horrible CFL light bulbs filled with mercury, so dim that you can't see what's in your suitcase?  They get "LEED" points for doing that.  "LEED" points lead to tax credits.  They pay less in taxes, while your taxes then go up to pay for "LEED" certified government buildings, costing you a bloody fortune and solving nothing, but making some very clever scammers a whole lot of your money.

Pots of gold at the ends of rainbows are for leprechauns.  Our city leadership and staff members need to get back into the real common sense world of reality.  In a perfect world, this type of scam would be prosecuted under RICO (racketeering) statutes.  But today, selling lies to the public for personal profit seems to be the order of the day.  Too many people are getting rich doing it. 

(Sources: here, here, and here)

Henry Gifford, author of "A Better Way to Rate Green Buildings," sums up the criticism of LEED: "Going to so much trouble and expense to end up with buildings that use more energy than comparable buildings is not only a tragedy, it is also a fraud perpetuated on US  consumers trying their best to achieve true environmental friendliness."

In testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, Dr. John H. Scofield of Oberlin College stated that "There then appears to be no scientific basis for institutions such as colleges, universities, or the Federal Government to require LEED certification as a GHG or energy reduction strategy for its buildings."

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