Pearland goes sustainable, but not LEED

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City facilities should be energy-efficient and sustainable, but don’t necessarily need to be officially certified as such, Pearland City Council decided.

Council on Monday modified its policy to use “sustainable practices” instead of a prior and more costly “LEED” certification mandate. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a points-based and widely accepted and used certification system through the U.S. Green Building Council.

“There seems to be a pretty strong council consensus for not necessarily putting out those formal LEED certifications,” City Manager Clay Pearson said, “but instead go for practices and standards that make sense and are sustainable, but not necessary go through all that paperwork.”

The LEED requirement was passed by council several years ago.

“I’ve yet to find a benefit,” said Councilman Trent Perez. “I know a lot of developers who pride themselves on LEED developments, but mostly they do it from a marketing standpoint.”

In addition, some of the LEED requirements to gain “points” for the city’s new John Hargrove Environmental Complex could be earned by methods such as removing parking spots.

“People want to drive there; this is still Texas,” Councilman Greg Hill said. “It’s almost like they tie your hands behind your back and make you spend money.”

The (building) codes have basically brought you up to an Energy Star level, and that will continue,” Keith Ordeneaux said.

“What you can do in California or Montana is totally different from what the Gulf Coast environment leads us to,” he added. “Let’s do things that are practical, hit the bottom line and make a difference instead of just get a plaque to hang on the wall or a certificate.”

“I still think we’re moving forward and we’re as green as we can be,” Mayor Tom Reid said. “I think we’ll be alright.”

Story by Nicole Jones

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