USGBC named as defendant in lawsuit

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its founders have been named as defendants in a class action lawsuit filed in federal court involving the LEED® rating system.

The lawsuit, which alleges USGBC's claim it verifies efficient design and construction is "false and intended to mislead the consumer and monopolize the market for energy-efficient building design," was filed Oct. 8, 2010, on behalf of mechanical systems designer Henry Gifford, owner of Gifford Fuel Saving Inc., New York.

The lawsuit accuses USGBC of fraudulently misleading consumers and misrepresenting the energy performance of buildings certified under its LEED rating system and argues LEED is harming the environment by leading consumers away from proven energy-saving strategies. Other allegations include deceptive marketing, unfair competition, deceptive business practices and false advertising under New York State law, wire fraud and unjust enrichment.