Nigel Howard, the affable British chemist responsible for guiding the implementation of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, has quit his post as chief technology officer at the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council.
Howard handed his resignation in to USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi on December 17 and left for a planned family holiday in his native England. He could not be reached for comment. At this writing, the USGBC national office was closed for the holidays.
Howard joined the USGBC in 2001 as vice president for LEED and international programs, having gained an international reputation in green building circles as director of Britain’s Centre for Sustainable Construction at the U.K.’s Building Research Establishment. There, he helped develop the BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) green building rating tool, as well as a life cycle tool called Envest.
Howard’s resignation was not entirely unexpected. Several months ago, his direct responsibilities for LEED were assigned to Tom Hicks, formerly a program manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star label initiative. Hicks was named VP for LEED, and Howard was given the new title of CTO, but without portfolio. At the USGBC’s Greenbuild conference last November, Hicks was featured prominently in many of the public events, while Howard was kept in the background. Friends said he was noticeably disturbed about being snubbed.
Howard’s last act as CTO was to encourage the more than 100 “LCA into LEED” volunteers to continue their work to incorporate life cycle assessment criteria into the next version of LEED. His e-mails expressed concern that he had been unable to raise the $200,000 necessary to continue the LCA effort.
An email from USGBC headquarters to USGBC board members offered no information about Howard’s future plans, but one source said he may be taking a post with the Green Building Council of Australia, which sponsors the Green Star building rating program.
—Robert Cassidy, Editor-in-Chief, Building Design & Construction