Army not spending extra on LEED certifications, official says

Wednesday - 5/23/2012, 9:21am EDT

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House lawmakers are still skeptical about what they see as wasteful spending to build green buildings in the Defense Department. Language in the 2013 defense authorization bill the House passed last week continues a prohibition on using any budget money to certify a DoD building as LEED Gold or LEED Platinum. The highest level allowed would be LEED Silver.

Katherine Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, said she thinks Congress might be confused about the issue.

"We are not spending any extra money on LEED Gold or LEED Platinum certification," she said. "Our goal and our contracts are all asking for LEED Silver level certification. I think what confuses Congress at times is a project might achieve LEED Gold certification when it was driving toward LEED Silver."

Projects can earn extra points by going above and beyond the LEED program, Hammack added.

Terry Yonkers, the assistant secretary for installations, environment and logistics, said that while all the military services are building green buildings, they're not doing it just to be green.

"These are business decisions, and this is a business case," Yonkers said. "We're building to LEED Silver because it saves energy and it saves money."

Notwithstanding the Congressional prohibition, Hammack said the Army has never pursued anything above the LEED Silver level anyway, because it found there's no business case for the extra costs involved in going after LEED Gold or Platinum.

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