LEED Certification and Freedom of Choice Preserved in Compromise HB 628 Bill


N.C. Senate members will vote on a compromise bill Monday, June 17 that overhauls proposed legislation that threatened to end the use of the widely used LEED program for state projects.  The Charlotte Business Journal reports the compromise legislation is effectively a new bill with a new title.  House Bill 628 has been renamed ‘Protect/Promote Locally Sourced Building Materials’ from ‘Protect/Promote NC Lumber.”

Also the new language of the allows the use of third-party programs such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. The compromise bill says the use of LEED or another rating system is permitted as long as it doesn’t disadvantage “building materials or furnishings, including masonry, concrete, steel, textiles or wood” that are manufactured or produced in North Carolina. The proposed legislation requires any rating system to provide certification credits, give preference to or promote materials and furnishings from the state.

The new bill also requires a public project using a sustainable rating program to factor in the cost of the third-party certification into its construction and operating expenses. And a project to be built under green-building standards must cost less and have lower operating costs than a standard structure.

The previous bill had been described by Rep. Ruth Samuelson) (R-Mecklenburg) as part of a national turf war between the national timber industry and USGBC.  The N.C. House approved 70-43 on May 13 the earlier version of HB628. On Tuesday, the senate’s agriculture, environment and natural resources committee OK’d the compromise version.  Emily Scofield, Executive Director of the USGBC NC Chapter, told North Carolina Construction News, “LEED and freedom of choice are preserved in the third edition of H628.  The compromise bill is great news for LEED practitioners and the North Carolina’s Responsible Building Industry Coalition.”  Read More.