Sunday, November 28, 2010

Guest commentary on LEED certification for schools

On October 13, 2009, Superintendent Jerry Weast recognized Francis Scott Key Middle School for attaining Leed Gold Level Certification. However, is the certification really “gold” and what does it mean.

The following is a disclaimer published by the USGBC:
DisclaimerNone of the parties involved in the funding or creation of the LEED Rating System, including the USGBC, its members, its members, volunteers, or contractors, assume any liability or responsibility to the user or any third parties for the accuracy, completeness, or use of or reliance on any information contained in the LEED Rating System, or for any injuries, losses, or damages (including, without limitation, equitable relief ) arising from such use or reliance. Although the information contained in the LEED Rating System is believed to be reliable and accurate, all materials set forth within are provided without warranties of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of the accuracy or completeness of information or the suitability of the information for any particular purpose. As a condition of use, the user covenants not to sue and agrees to waive and release the U.S. Green Building Council, its members, volunteers, and contractors from any and all claims, demands, and causes of action for any injuries, losses, or damages (including, without limitation, equitable relief ) that the user may now or hereafter have a right to assert against such parties as a result of the use of, or reliance on, the LEED Rating System. U.S. Green Building Council 2101 L Street, NW Suite 500 Washington, DC 20037

Not only does the disclaimer say that the LEED Rating System is worthless, its use may invalidate warranties of other products and manufacturers.

From a review of the preceding disclaimer, it appears that the Francis Scott Key Middle School Leed Gold Level Certification is “Fool’s Gold.”


  1. While the LEED system has its flaws (for example some have claimed points for artificial turf based on its "recycled" content and supposd water saving properties)it has some merit and is the most widely used certification system for "green" building right now. It is commendable that MCPS is going beyond silver to gold. The devil is in the details of course as always. so much more constructive to ask how they have met LEED, give kudos where they are due and push for changes where they may be deficient or wrong.

  2. Oh no, it is far more constructive, I think, to sling inflammatory and misleading accusations like this. Be sure to drag Jerry Weast's name in as well for bonus points.

    Potentially one might ask whether MCPS or the County should pay for the LEED certification, but that is in fact a different, useful question, not a silly, pointless one. Too bad, because this site focuses on so many things that actually do deserve scrutiny and attention. The LEED disclaimer is almost certainly not one of those things.

    More to the point, the disclaimer neither (1) says the rating system is worthless, nor (2) invalidates other warranties. It's annoying legalese that limits USGBC's liability.

  3. Yes, this blog allows other opinions. The writer of this post sent it to us as their opinion. This post allows this issue to be discussed. The writer has one opinion, you - another anonymous person @ 1:14 pm - have another.


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