The head of the United States Green Building Council tore into critics of LEED this morning in his opening keynote to Greenbuild 2012. He rallied an army of architects, planners and builders with a battle cry of “we are right.”

San Francisco today welcomed an estimated 30,000 people in the green building industry to the 2012 Greenbuild Conference and Expo. Rick Fedrizzi, founding chairman and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, took the opportunity to lambast critics of green building and the standards known as LEED — short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Clips of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh played on screen behind Fedrizzi as he ripped into journalists, lobbyists, “prehistoric industry associations,” and “scoundrels” who campaign against environmentally responsible buildings.

Without making a direct reference to a recent USA Today article disparaging LEED, Fedrizzi told a packed auditorium that “our detractors are dead wrong, and we are right.” He said it is time for green building to succeed as a social movement, just as civil rights and women’s suffrage changed the world against strong opposition.

Greenbuild 2012 photo
Rick Fedrizzi, founding chairman and CEO of the United States Green Building Council, went beyond defending the LEED green building standard during the opening plenary of the Greenbuild 2012 conference in San Francisco.

Fedrizzi suggested that recent attacks are a sign of success. He expects more disinformation campaigns in the halls of Congress and more “hatchet jobs” in the press. “Bring it on, we’re ready for it. We’re ready for all of it,” he exclaimed.

The many examples of green building successes around the world are evidence that the USGBC’s values and goals are being accepted, he said. But “you don’t have to leave the country to find a better one.” He called for government leaders to “put the election behind them and get down to the business of governing.”

“In this country we have an addiction that threatens our very way of life,” Fedrizzi said. “The addiction is denial and the subject is climate change.” He decried the lack of discussion about global warming during the campaign and disparaged the recent general decline in news coverage about the subject. “In Hurricane Sandy’s case the tides will recede,” he said, “but one day they will not.”

Fedrizzi sent the audience off to the three days of conference sessions ahead with a simple battle cry, echoed back by enthusiastic attendees: “We are right!”

The Greenbuild 2012 Conference and Expo started Tuesday and continues through Friday at Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.