Virginia county may leave LEED behind as it weighs costs
- Since 2008, Loudoun County, VA, has implemented a policy that requires new county buildings to meet LEED Silver standards. However, not everyone in the current group of supervisors was aware of it, and a recent project to build a sheriff's substation has several of them questioning its wisdom.
- In the substation's case, the county staff specified rooftop solar panels as a way to quality for LEED on that site, and one of the supervisors asked who had come up with that idea.
- When told it was county practice over the past five years, and the payback period for the up-front investment in the panels would be about 20 years, that did not sit well with their efforts to maximize what they can do with the capital budget available.
Politics plays some role in the supervisors' displeasure, apparently. The policy was implemented by a board on which Democrats held a majority of seats, a board that is now all-Republican, although that is not the whole reason. Supervisor Ralph Buona said in July that, "I don't think the goal is necessarily LEED. I know that's the policy, but I think the goal is energy efficiency, therefore cost savings."
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