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Green Building Pioneer Joins Rival to LEED

In the story of green building, LEED ( Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) has always set the standard for which companies and corporations can become the posterchild for green. But industry groups have long objected to how strict LEED certification is to obtain. Rival Green Globes, an alternative to LEED launched by timber and plastic industry corporations, just announced they had hired industry pioneer Jerry Yudelson to help promote their cause.

Yudelson got his start in Portland by founding the Cascadia Green Building Council, then going on to write 13 books and producing the U.S. Green Building Council's annual trade show. But Yudelson has now taken a job with Green Globes, causing many industry insiders to speculate whether he is a turncoat to LEED or a wolf in sheep's clothing infiltrating the enemy.

Yudelson responded to critics saying, "LEED has certified less than 3 percent of the building area in the United States after 15 years, we were not meeting our objective of really changing lots of buildings." Green Globes is intending to broaden its market reach in a way that LEED has not been able to address. Their aim is to focus on green building standards that weigh both value and cost to building retrofits, hopefully broadening the reach of sustainable building practices.

Many wonder if Green Globes is just another greenwashing of sustainable building. Members of the Green Building Initiative are mostly from large corporations that pay dues from $15,000 to $45,000. With membership including the likes of Weyerhauser and the American Chemistry Council, there is fuel for the argument.