Chemical groups confront USGBC on LEED draft’s ‘Avoidance’ section

Sources: American Chemistry Council (ACC), Washington, D.C.; CP staff

ACC is challenging “Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern,” a proposed section in the forthcoming version of the LEED green building rating system for commercial projects. A subject of voluntary credits, it is part of the current draft of LEED 2012, release of which the U.S. Green Building Council has rescheduled for next year, along with a rebranding as LEED v4.

“Avoidance of Chemicals” could eliminate the use of dozens of approved materials and hundreds of proven products specified for energy efficiency in LEED certification candidate projects, ACC contends. “I am dismayed by comments USGBC already made that it intends to steadfastly retain ill-conceived measures to force builders and architects away from proven building products,” said Council President Cal Dooley. “ACC and its members have considerable technical and practical expertise, and we are prepared to engage constructively to help USGBC develop science- and consensus-based performance standards that will advance the energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings.”

In addition to public critiques of the “Avoidance of Chemicals” section, ACC has enlisted the support of 18 bipartisan Senators, who have appealed to the General Services Administration regarding LEED certification for agency projects. In a letter last month to GSA Acting Administrator Daniel Tangherlini, the lawmakers outlined how proposed LEED changes have the potential to increase construction costs for taxpayers and decrease American chemical company payrolls.