Army Abandons LEED! (But Not Really)
Green Building Law Update Blogger Chris Cheatham created a bit of a stir recently when he proclaimed that the U.S. Army had abandoned using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system. The problem was compounded further when the story spread around the Internet like wildfire, appearing everywhere from Treehugger.com to ecogeek.org.
It turned out that the story was totally false, of course; as it happens, Cheatham had wildly misinterpreted the testimony of Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. In truth, the Army will now require not only adherence to LEED, but also to its own newly created green building code based on ASHRAE 189.1. Cheatham did post a correction at the beginning of his blog post, and made a second post later reporting the accurate story (sort of) but, as the saying goes, you can't unring the bell.
Commentary about the perils of believing everything you read on the Internet aside, however, the story really is fairly compelling in its actual, factual form. Rather than deciding to move away from the green building movement as Cheatham initially suggested, the opposite is true, and the Army is actually moving toward becoming far more green and sustainable than ever through the use of not one but two certification systems simultaneously. We'll have to wait and see exactly how much this code will affect the Army's medical facilities, but it is certainly fair to say that the Army is getting, ahem, greener. But the Department of Defense did state that this new code will apply to "all new construction, major renovations and leased space acquisition," so I will take them at their word, lest I get into misinterpretation trouble of my own.
As for Cheatham, I wouldn't feel too bad for him; after all, there is no such thing as bad publicity.