For this week’s Guest Post Friday here at Construction Law Musings, we would like to welcome back (again) Sean Lintow Sr. (@SLSConstruction) of AlaGBS / SLS Construction. Sean has over 20 years in the construction and project management fields and is a proud member of NARI, NADRA, USGBC, and NAHB. While he still specializes in Residential Remodeling & Custom Decks, the focus of his business is shifting to the “green” / energy efficiency markets and helping other builders & trade professionals to improve their methods. Currently he is RESNET Rater, AEE CEA (Certified Energy Auditor), ENERGY STAR partner & verifier, EPA Indoor airPLUS verifier, Level 2 Infrared Thermographer, Volunteer Energy Rater for Habitat for Humanity, and Builders Challenge Partner & Verifier. You may also want to check out his great resources on the HTRC (Homeowners & Trades Resource Center).
Wow, it is amazing how much the world has changed. Now when some news breaks, most of us hear about it via social media and instead opening up the paper or turning on the TV / Radio to learn more… we simply pull a search on the internet. As these changes started coming about, we quickly learned that no, not everything one sees or reads on the internet is true. This was poignantly pointed out by Peter Steiner’s famous cartoon from 1993 “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”
Unfortunately these changes have also brought about a few unintended consequences that have already started to affect all of us. One of the biggest changes we have seen is a reduction on reporters leading to a big reliance on outside “fact checkers.” Another side effect is how investigative reporting now seems to read more like a gossip column instead of an actual reporting of the facts.
As an ex-racer, fan of cycling, supporter of Lance Armstrong & the LIVESTRONG organization he started you can imagine I was interested to see CNN’s piece on the recent USADA report. Granted I did not expect Lance to come out of it looking that good, but instead of just going after him based on the “facts,” established in said report, they decided to take it a little further & also insuate that the UCI could have cared less & turned a blind eye.
One of their biggest contentions (that didn’t rely on items that would normally be laughed or thrown out of court) was the results from the 1999 samples that were stored & run a few years later. Needless to say some of these samples were found to have EPO traces in them & traced back to Lance. Their case – well the UCI knew about these results and that these were Lance’s, but they didn’t do anything about it, thus turning a blind eye to the issue.
The fact of the matter – the UCI could not do anything about it even if they wanted to. One of the main reasons is because the regulations state that for any case to be made, both the A & B samples had to test positive. So why not run the other samples – well those were already destroyed as the only reason these were saved was for use vetting new testing procedures.
Wow, talk about stirring up a hornets nest when this piece came out in the USA Today on LEED & the Palazzo Hotel & Casino. Some even remarked about the black eye that was given to the USGBC, but one has to question whether it is legit or just a cheap shot.
- The story on the 7100 buildings that they studied started off with the most controversial one they could find (got to bring readers in right?)– in this case the Palazzo Casino & Resort which is one of the biggest LEED “certified” projects to date. While the majority of “commercial” projects may just be “certified,” this one received Silver which is not mentioned in the article.
- But certifying a casino with all its excesses & that allows smoking inside? Ah, but the “casino” itself wasn’t given the rating – only the resort portion which they don’t bother bringing up till the very end of the article.
- The Palazzo was certified in March 08 and started the certification process back in 2004 – yet they scoff at educational materials left for guests as being an industry norm. Ah but were these materials the norm back then, or did they become the norm because of LEED & others?
- Cheap & easy credits – why yes some are which is a good thing and just shows how easy building better, does not have to be hard or expensive. Of course I have to wonder just how easy it was for them to find low VOC products back then. I know in my neck of the woods it was still pretty difficult up until a year or so ago.
- As for the bike racks & showers – granted in Dubai they will probably not be used, but I know plenty of us that would have loved to have had these options where we worked. Who knows, maybe if that was coupled with bike lanes just how much healthier this country just might be…
Ah the joys of musing – sometimes one is just left to contemplate, while other times a clear path emerges. I guess the main point is that the times they are changing & we need to be careful of the information & the sources we might consider taking at face value. Welcome to a brave new world where “you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” Obi-Wan Kenobi