The Spokane City Council is considering ignoring science, economics, and the failures of “green” buildings by now mandating certain new public buildings in the city meet failed “green” standards. A new resolution is not bothered by the fact that mandated “green” buildings cost more to build and actually increase energy use — not to mention the fact that officials across the country are now rejecting the standards (the so-called LEED Silver Certification).
The resolution supporting the new requirement is filled with misinformation. For example, it notes that the cities like Bellingham, Everett, and Seattle require that many new public buildings meet LEED standards and point to vague accomplishments. The problem is, the resolution leaves out some important information. The Washington Policy Center:
“First, Seattle City Hall was built to LEED Gold standards, and promised significant energy savings over the aging and inefficient old building. The new city hall is even smaller than the previous building. Yet, despite predictions, the energy use is actually higher in the new building.
“Second, Washington state’s analysis shows the same trend for public school buildings. Statewide, the Legislature’s auditing agency, known as JLARC, found that most schools built to LEED performed worse than the average school in the same district. These are new schools which are less efficient than the average school in the same area, which is often decades old.”
It’s not just that these buildings — ironically enough — perform worse when it comes to energy standards. It’s that they are very costly, especially considering their stunning failures. What’s more interesting is that the Spokane City Council has an example of costliness right in front of them. The Washington Policy Center:
“As The Spokesman-Review noted, “Lincoln Heights Elementary cost an extra $458,826 for all ‘high performance features’ in its design,” noting that without special state subsides – which are no longer available – “the savings on energy bills wouldn’t cover the extra construction costs for almost 30 years,” longer than the likely lifespan of the building.”
This is a clear example of liberals pushing a pricey policy not because of the benefits that policy has to offer, but because of the “green” ideology behind it.