LEED for People

USGBC Unveils LEED for People, Granola Hits Record Price.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) took another step toward complete monopolization of the green building rating system with the August release of the LEED for People pilot program. Building on the tremendous success of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) brand and identity, the USGBC hopes to take a quantum leap forward in the certification and evaluation of the green lifestyle.

“This is exciting, I’ve long wanted to know just how ‘green’ I was being but I had no subjective criteria to benchmark myself against,” exalts San Francisco resident John Edmundson. With the release of LEED for People, average citizens can “certify” their ability to live with a light imprint on the Earth. Craig Somersby from the USGBC describes, “It is one thing to say that you are living a sustainable lifestyle. It is quite another to create a prescriptive, quantification rubric to certify that it is so. THAT is the true basis for sustainability...by generating increased revenue for our organization.”

The LEED for People pilot uses the same well known system to label the levels of completion: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Certified. The level of completion is determined by a point scale with a total of 60 points available in 5 categories. The broad categories that cover the everyday lifestyle include Food and Waste, Energy Consumption, Hygiene, Clothing Materials, and Proselytizing.

Verification, a central tenant of the LEED system, is integral to the certification process. Once registering with the USGBC to begin the LEED for People program, one needs to hire a personal consultant known as a Provider. The Provider’s job is to explain how to live more green. This can be in the form of personal anecdotes or charming stories, as well as websites that they found and thought were “interesting.” The Provider will be involved from registration through certification at a typical cost of their annual salary based on their education (recent quote approximately $25,000). The Provider works hand in hand with a Certified Rater who will actually be following the registered individual around on a daily basis to confirm the compliance with the requirements. They keep with them a large tally sheet to check off the categories and the total number of points. The Rater will be involved once a preliminary checklist has been created and work with the individual until certification, if they approve. This cost can range anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 depending on the level of certification.

Critics of the LEED for People pilot point to the excessive fees and the reliance on two separate consultants for the purposes of verification. This process requires the individuals expend money up front with the hope of receiving credit upon completion. Jack Wilson of Boulder, Colorado complains, “I was pursuing LEED Platinum and in the process of gathering my fecal waste, but my Rater took off in his SUV to quickly drive-thru McDonald’s. Then, after I had buried my waste in recycled cedar mulch and spit, he told me that I shouldn't have used a plastic bag because it would not biodegrade and therefore I could not receive any points!”

While the new program will work through a study period of two years, the final program will be sure to incite anger, verbal abuse, and a new charge among the Liberal Left to prove the need for comprehensive sustainable lifestyle mandates from the government.