USGBC and the “public” review process

USGBC and the “public” review process

I’ve been involved this year with the “public” part of the process that supposedly gets the USGBC’s LEED rating points approved.  As a result I’m wondering if it’s only a good PR to make people feel they can have a saying in the process or a Kafkaesque bureaucratic process inspired by his novel The Castle.

First off, the process opens for “public review” for very short periods of time with very little if any warning.  This doesn’t let stakeholder groups organize to gather their collective thoughts on how to improve the document and ultimately the rating system. Assuming one has proposals to make, the submittal forms, on-line and supposedly easy to follow, group the reviewed documents in a non-intuitive way that requires some organizational homework to make it right the first time.  And the very first time you must make it since the filing system doesn’t provide a way to change or add proposals you might have missed.

The most unusual part of the process though follows.  No feedback on how your proposals have been treated, no indication that they were taken into consideration in any shape and form.  Recently the points system was exposed to a second public review for its 2012 edition and looking through the documents we couldn’t make heads or tails on how NEMA’s proposals submitted for the first round were treated. 

A recent USGBC announcement regarding substantive changes in the basic process that improve on the actual delivery of the designed performances that cumulate LEED points indicate that USGBC is occasionally listening to the voice of the “public”.  It seems though that in order to be successful the voice had to manifest itself in law suits. 

I believe that there could be better ways.  There are many organizations in US that produce high quality codes, standards and other types of documents through fair, transparent and balanced approval processes.  

Andrei Moldoveanu

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