U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), today, voted to continue a ban on Department of Defense (DOD) use of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Gold and Platinum certifications until the department issues a report on the cost benefits for energy-efficient building standards. The measure was part of the Conference Report to accompany the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which outlines defense spending priorities.
Wicker helped push for the ban to ensure military construction projects avoid unnecessary costs related to third party energy-efficient building standards. It prevents DOD from using flawed rating systems as it works to implement a building policy that improves energy use and lowers cost. Current LEED Gold and Platinum standards fail to assess the benefits of domestic U.S. wood products, adding to construction expenses.
"The Defense Department is responsible for billions of dollars of construction projects," said Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Achieving energy-efficiency will save taxpayers, but some so-called green building standards are faulty. A thorough study of energy-efficient standards is necessary to ensure DOD is relying on transparent and scientific-based systems."
Wicker included an amendment requiring a DOD study of its building standards in last year's Defense Authorization. The study's deadline of June 30, 2012 was not met, and a final report has not yet been issued.
A defense authorization bill must be passed annually to set priorities for funding and resources needed to support our troops. This measure gives both short and long-term direction to the Pentagon and U.S. military leaders operating around the world.