Most would agree that the policy goal of reducing our energy consumption is good, if not necessary, for society, but importing a third party rating system from abroad, untailored to the specific needs and restraints of Hawaii's unique market and environment would miss the mark and add to housing costs.
If LEED is imposed, it should be tailored to Hawaii with the input of stakeholders and the community and with incentives to help defray implementation costs. But more importantly, policymakers should consider incorporating other green building programs or other energy saving measures unique to Hawaii.
In the following quote from KHNL News, John Bendon of Green Building LLC talks about a home on Maui that is LEED Gold certified:
Yes, this is a $2.4 million home but Bendon says it's not that costly for an average home to go just as green.Source: Mari-ela David, Green Maui Home Gets National Attention, May 14, 2008, available at http://www.khnl.com/Global/story.asp?S=8319959.
He says to get a solar water heater, use energy efficient appliances and lighting and reduce your need for air conditioning.
"You can plant trees in the proper place. You can put a radiant barrier on your roof and reduce the heat gain in the attic," said Bendon.
Project leaders say they are simple concepts that, like the Good Home, can show what can be done today, and what may be done tomorrow.
There are two other green ratings systems in Hawaii - Energy Star and Hawaii BuiltGreen. LEED is the most stringent and is affiliated with the United States Green Building Council.