NEW YORK The North
Carolina House of Representatives has passed a bill that would
effectively block the use of Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) ratings for public projects, a move
that Nucor Corp. protested because it could hurt steel mills in
the region that sell construction-related products.
The LEED rating awards credits
or points to building projects based on energy efficiency,
water conservation and material sourcing. A number of major
steel industry playersincluding Charlotte, N.C.-based
Nucor; Steel Dynamics Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind.; and the American
Iron and Steel Institute, Washingtonare organizational
members of the U.S. Green Building Council, which established
the LEED rating.
The mills support LEED because
it encourages the use of recycled material in buildings, giving
mini-mills, which use recycled scrap, a leg up in sourcing
steel to building projects, sources said. LEED also gives
credits for buildings that use material sourced within 500
miles of the project, benefitting domestic producers.
"Steel companies are interested
in LEED because it encourages the use of recycled materials and
the use of local material," Lane Burt, policy director at the
building council, told AMM.
Though the recent legislation,
House Bill 628, doesnt mention LEED, it would effectively
ban its use. The bill requires state projects to use only
building rating systems that give credits equally to different
forestry systems for timber production. The council
doesnt give credits equally to all forestry systems and,
therefore, couldnt be allowed for use on public projects
in North Carolina.
"The bill is designed as a
Trojan horse attack on green building and LEED," Burt said.
State Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R.,
District 104), who represents the district where Nucor is
based, confirmed that the bill would ban LEED.
"It would in effect kill LEED
projects for North Carolina unless LEED agrees to accept a
broader definition," Samuelson said, adding that LEED
encourages construction contractors to use domestic steel over
"Its hard for (companies
in North Carolina) to compete on the steel side. Youve
got the cheap import steel from China or you have the
U.S.-based steel from Nucor. Id rather have that,"
A Nucor spokeswoman told
AMM that the LEED certification encourages businesses
and engineers to use local products, which benefits steel mills
in the region.
"Nucor believes the state must
not abandon its use of LEED certification, which promotes
energy efficiency (and) preservation of our natural resources
and encourages state projects funded by state taxpayers to use
locally sourced materials, thereby benefitting North
Carolina-based businesses," she said.
Georgia, Maine and Mississippi
have also moved to ban LEED for public projects, Burt said.
The bill, sponsored by North
Carolina Reps. Michele Presnell (R., District 118) and Rick
Caitlin (R., District 20), was passed in the states House
of Representatives May 13. It is now being reviewed in the