House Bill 628 would insert new language in a section of state law that calls for energy- and water-use standards for major public facility construction and renovation projects. N.C. Reps. Michele Presnell (R-Haywood) and Rick Catlin (R-New Hanover) are the primary sponsors of the bill, filed April 9.
And the bill requires the rating program to award points to wood certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the American Tree Farm System.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system is considered the gold standard in green building. The third-party program, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, awards points only to projects that use wood that's certified under the Forest Stewardship Council. Both the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the American Tree Farm System have unsuccessfully fought for consideration in the LEED program.
“It’s not calling LEED by name,” Emily Scofield, USGBC-NC executive director, said after the bill was introduced. “But it’s anti-LEED.”
Scofield and the state USGBC chapter are tracking several bills moving through the N.C. General Assembly that could affect development and sustainability efforts in the Charlotte area. State chapter members have been writing, calling and meeting with House members in opposition of HB628.
“We support and encourage alternative wording to promote the use of NC materials without banning LEED and/or moving this to a study bill to encompass all N.C. building products not just timber,” Scofield says. “Regionally and responsibly produced N.C. products already benefit from the use of LEED through the “regional materials” credits so including language that prohibits the pursuit of LEED doesn’t make sense. If the goal is to increase the use of N.C. building products, then the bill language should or could state that without mentioning green building rating systems.”