Poll Shows Bipartisan Support for LEED

WASHINGTON — A new poll released Feb. 25 found almost equal support from Republicans and Democrats of the LEED green building rating system.

Results from the nationwide poll released Feb. 25 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) found 79 percent of Republican Americans and 89 percent of Democrats support the use of LEED in buildings. A majority also supports the criteria LEED uses to rate a building’s sustainability, including saving money through energy and water efficiency.

With the help of Echelon Insights, a Washington-based opinion researcher, the USGBC surveyed 800 registered voters over the phone.

“Americans on both sides of the aisle strongly support the increased efficiency and cost savings that result from implementing LEED,” said Taryn Holowka, USGBC’s senior vice president, marketing communications and advocacy, in a statement. “This poll highlights the great public demand for the continued use of green building standards to cut costs, improve human health and reduce impacts on the environment.”

Although only 30 percent have heard of LEED by name, most — 83 percent — support using LEED to assess and encourage green building. Additionally, 77 percent believe that LEED buildings are healthier for the people who live, work, learn and play in them, and 74 percent believe LEED buildings can save people money through cost-effective energy and water use.

Voters from both parties generally favor green building, and that support increases when they learn about LEED’s job creation and cost-savings potential.

The poll also found that overall support was strong for government policies that encourage green building, with 73 percent of voters agreeing that the government should have some green building standard in place, and 36 percent of voters endorsing LEED as a leadership standard much more than a generic standard.

Currently, after evaluating sustainable building rating systems, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) endorses the LEED rating system as the most credible to meet the GSA’s needs.

Support for government using green building standards was stronger among Democrats (88 percent), though a majority of Republicans also supported government green building standards (64 percent support versus only 28 percent opposition to any government standards).