Coalition Forms to Challenge LEED Rating System

by | Jul 19, 2012

More than 27 business associations and trade groups have formed the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition, in a bid to support the development of a sustainable buildings standard that would challenge the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.

The formation of the coalition, which includes the US Chamber of Commerce, American Chemistry Council and the Vinyl Institute, comes as the federal General Services Administration begins its review of LEED, and as the USGBC revises the green building standard.

The LEED rating system is voluntary. However, it’s become the go-to environmental building standard throughout the US and is required for new construction on all federal buildings.

The coalition has argued that the USGBC developed the LEED rating system without involving the industry or using a consensus-based standards. The associations also say that the LEED rating system is becoming a tool to punish chemical companies and plastics makers and spread misinformation about materials that have been at the forefront of improving environmental performance – and even occupant safety – in buildings.

Last month, 20 trade groups, which would later form the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition, lobbied to stop the GSA from adopting the proposed LEED v4 construction standards.  The groups said a chemical avoidance provision could eliminate the use of hundreds of products in construction projects. The group cited products such as heat-reflecting roofing membranes, PVC piping and foam insulation.

The coalition has urged the GSA to switch its LEED requirement for all federal buildings to another standard such as the Green Globes Standard. The group also is lobbying for a new green building standard that supports performance-based building codes, standards and rating systems developed in conformance with the American National Standards Institute.

The USGBC gave tentative support to the new coalition.

“We welcome the announcement of the formation of the American High Performance Building Council, but as Ronald Reagan once said, we will ‘trust but verify,'” the USGBC said.

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