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Breaking: USGBC Upholds LEED Gold Certification of Northland Pines High School

Northland Pines High SchoolAs you will likely recall, back in December of 2008 a group of Wisconsin residents filed a 125-page complaint with USGBC that challenged the award of LEED Gold certification to the Northland Pines High School, which was completed in the fall of 2006 and earned formal certification under LEED for New Construction Version 2.1 on May 10, 2007. The appellants challenged the certification on the basis that – among other alleged failures – the school’s design failed to satisfy certain Energy & Atmosphere prerequisites which – under LEED-NC Version 2.1 – would be a basis for USGBC to revoke the project’s LEED rating. However, on Wednesday, USGBC informed the appellants that their appeal has been denied; USGBC and its consultants have determined that all prerequisites and credits were properly awarded as claimed by the project team, and the school will retain its Gold rating. We will be following up on this critical story here at GRELJ as appropriate and as soon as possible, but I wanted to make sure that we provided this brief update as I know many of you have been interested in the status of this proceeding.

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3 Responses to Breaking: USGBC Upholds LEED Gold Certification of Northland Pines High School

  1. Stephen Del Percio May 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    Just a quick update to share with you – I received an email from Susan Dorn, General Counsel to USGBC, stating that “USGBC [has] concluded its review of a challenge to the certification of a Gold LEED for Schools, that of Northland Pines High School (NPHS) in Eagle River, Wisconsin. In the process of its review, USGBC engaged two extraordinarily qualified engineering consultants (Taylor Engineering and Horizon Engineering) to review the technical merits of the prerequisites and credits in question. Further, USGBC staff performed a site visit of the school. After an exhaustive review of the final engineering reports and documentation submitted by NPHS, USGBC concluded that there was sufficient evidence to show that the school’s perquisites and credits had been met. Thus, no adverse action will be taken as to the LEED certification of NPHS. Challenges to LEED certification advanced in the future will be undertaken by GBCI; the challenge to NPHS was reviewed by USGBC as a legacy project.”

  2. Brian Anderson May 10, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    When will the USGBC post these documents and make them publicly available? This was a public project, after all, correct? It would seem that the taxpayers of Wisconsin (or of this school district) who paid the certification fees and extra cash for their green building should be able to at least see these reports on their on own building.

    Recently (last month), Wisconsin passed a law mandating that all schools be LEED Silver + with Wisconsin state taxpayers on the hook for paying all certification costs. It’s a little troubling that a government-mandated certification is subject to an utterly opaque process of decertification.

    • Stephen Del Percio May 13, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

      I haven’t been ignoring your comment, Brian. I’m trying to get an answer on this and will follow up in this thread once I hear something. Thanks.

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