An outspoken critic of the U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green-building rating system has lost his court challenge of USGBC.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed Henry Gifford’s lawsuit against USGBC “in its entirety.” The ruling holds that neither Gifford nor other plaintiffs in the case “had alleged or could allege any legal interest to be protected by their lawsuit.”
Photo by Travis Roozee
| Henry Gifford|
USGBC said the court dismissed federal false advertising claims, “with prejudice,” meaning the court’s decision is final and that the plaintiffs are barred from filing a new lawsuit based on the same claims. The court’s ruling simultaneously dismissed the plaintiffs’ false advertising claims under state law. The ruling can be read here.
The suit, filed in October 2010, alleged that USGBC has fraudulently misrepresented the energy performance of buildings certified under the LEED rating system. Joining Gifford as plaintiffs were Matthew Arnold, a licensed architect; Andrew Ask, an engineer specializing in heating and cooling systems; and Eliza Larkin, who specializes in moisture-barrier design and mold remediation, according to the order of dismissal issued by U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand.
Also listed as a plaintiff is Gifford Fuel Savings Inc.
Gifford did not immediately respond to a Durability + Design request for comment.
Gifford has been vocal in challenging the USGBC’s assertions that LEED-certified buildings are, on average, 25%-30% more efficient than the national average. He published his own analysis in 2008 that contends LEED buildings are actually, on average, 29% less efficient. The analysis is available on Gifford’s website, www.energysavingscience.com.
Gifford’s criticisms of USGBC and LEED have generated considerable attention in the media, particularly in publications and websites focusing on green building design and construction.
The court ruling was hailed by USGBC representatives as evidence that Gifford’s claims are unjustified attacks on LEED.
“This successful outcome is a testament to our process and to our commitment to do what is right,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president and CEO.
“Thousands of people around the world use LEED because it’s a proven tool for achieving our mission of transforming the built environment,” Fedrizzi said. ”We’re grateful that the court found in our favor so we can give our full attention to the important work before us.”