Your blamed "bureaucrats" as being at fault for these ****-poor products, but the real fault would lie with the architect, designer or contractor who selected junk. Everything you mentioned has excellent quality counterparts.
I've worked with building codes for years (decades actually, I spent my career as a plans reviewer and inspector; certified or licensed in several states. Most actually.),
The high energy saving codes (you mentioned LEED) is actually an option, and not state mandated. And these codes are performance codes, and don't mandate exactly how the savings are to be obtained.
Based of what was selected, its obvious to me that whoever picked out these products is an amateur. A design professional would never pick products where the customer would not be completely satisified.
But I share your pain. Theres just so much crap on the shelves today, junk coming in from China that's not certified or listed, fakes and copies it's a real challenge just to know what's good and what's not. An example, a couple of years ago or so, we were notified that fake Square D circuit breakers were being sold in the US. And they were failing after a year. I myself found faucets being sold here that were clearly not designed for potable water but not labeled as such.
I agree with your assessment in full, but I know whereof I speak, being one of the bureaucrats that was working for the state. The rest of the story includes:
- The state architects bureau (ie bureaucrats) was charged with design and management of the construction. Montana is substantially below surrounding states for State employee salaries. Good folks frequently abandon Montana for better pay.
- They have been obsessed with money savings and cost cutting for my full 35 year career, usually at the cost of quality materials and design. While they are not amateurs as you suggest, their motivation is not customer satisfaction and quality, but least-cost and low-bid as mandated by state law. Some state rules have been adopted to allow for evaluating bids based on quality assurance, but they are largely ineffective or do not accomplish the intent with the evaluation criteria.
- In the old office basement, my desktop thermometer regularly showed 55 degrees in winter due to terrible "insulated" windows and installation, an example of many shortcuts taken in the design, materials and construction in the 1970's. (fortunately I had forestry field duties so could go outside and be warm)
- The new LEEDS office design was selected as a model demonstration of environmental responsibility by the natural resource agency and has a huge poster touting it as such.
- While the new design has many desirable features, like a window in every office (mine looked out at the electrical transformers), wood truss construction, recycled materials, efficient HVAC (maybe), the list I mentioned is just some of the many idiotic things done under the guise of environmental conservation.
My main observation and gripe here is that many things are being done that don't really further the cause of conservation that they promote, or they substitute other costs like manufacturing and materials that aren't compensated by energy usage savings. An example of this is CFL light bulbs that don't save a lot, have many poorly made versions where 7-year life is really 7-month life, and take several minutes to fully light up especially in cold environments.