New Shimmer is a floor wax

“New Shimmer is a floor wax!” Gilda Radner declares cheerfully to her Saturday Night Live hubby Dan Akroyd, who gently disagrees, “No, dear, new Shimmer is dessert topping.”

And so it goes with Baltimore City’s new LEED requirements described in your July 24 article “Legislating LEED.” The article does a good job of capturing how developers are struggling to integrate good intentions with the need to make the numbers work. Are the new green building standards a health and safety issue, for which the developer bears the cost on the same theory that he or she picks up the tab for indoor plumbing? Or is the government meddling in, and therefore likely distorting, a market driven trend that will find its own natural level of acceptance using return on investment principles?

Towards the end of the Shimmer skit, after the couple can’t agree and Akroyd calls Radnor a cow, Chevy Chase appears on screen and explains that they are both right. The piece ends with Chevy Chase smiling into the camera and declaring “New Shimmer, for the greatest shine you ever tasted!”

Perhaps the Daily Record could follow up with an article focused on the actual operating results from existing LEED compliant projects. It would also be interesting to learn about the extent to which LEED’s nonprofit sponsor, the U.S. Green Building Council, incorporates cost-benefit analysis in its thinking. We’ve all got the message that LEED is good for Mother Earth. Surely there is enough data out there at this point to determine whether, and when, the numbers work for the guys who have to tease the financing from skittish lenders. In other words, is LEED the greatest unfunded mandate developers ever made money on, or is it just that, an unfunded mandate?

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