LEED’s Attack Against Chemicals of Concern
USGBC has announced the availability of a new pilot credit: Chemical Avoidance in Building Materials. This is big and important news. For the first time LEED acknowledges the health dangers of certain chemicals - phthalates and flame-retardants - and rewards their avoidance in projects.
(Pilot credits are, as explained by USGBC, a rating system development tool that "allows project teams to test new credits and innovative strategies as soon as they are proposed, and before they are incorporated into the member-balloted collection of LEED Rating System credits...Project teams with active LEED projects may attempt any applicable credits for Innovation and Design credit. Credit is earned by providing USGBC with valuable feedback on the efficacy and achievability of the pilot credit being tested.") Check out the Pilot Credit Library for the full list.
I first learned of the new credit through the Healthy Building Network newsletter. Here's what executive director Bill Walsh had to say:
"This credit along with an earlier credit for "PBT Source Reduction: Dioxins and Halogenated Organic Compounds" marks the beginning of a three step approach the USGBC is developing to address "chemicals of concern" in building materials. LEED project teams will play a critical role in the success of this process, which is likely to be aggressively resisted by the chemicals and plastics industries, and some product manufacturers."
Worried about not being able to find compliant products? As Bill reports, HBN's on-line materials evaluation system, Pharos "has always allowed its users to screen products for phthalates and flame retardants. Thus, we can report with confidence that there are many building products that do qualify for this new credit."
Register for and use the Pharos Building Materials Library to find products that qualify for this new credit, as well as to avoid these chemicals in other products.
We are making progress!