4 FM quick reads on Green Building
1. Does the New LEED Include a "Red List" of Chemicals?
Today's tip of the day looks at the new version of LEED and what it actually says about product selection criteria.
As you may know, the new LEEDv4 rating system is due out this full (assuming the rating system is approved by USGBC membership this summer), complete with new credits (MRc2 and MRc3) for "building product disclosure and optimization — sourcing of raw materials" and "building product disclosure and optimization — material ingredients." Each of these credits is intended "to encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts."
Does this mean that LEED is preventing project teams from using certain chemicals? No, of course not. But it does seem like a broad definition for product selection or for avoiding certain materials. When you get into the nitty-gritty, what it actually means was odious enough to several industry trade groups — including the American Chemistry Council — that they decided to start their own organization. The American High-Performance Building Coalition is dedicated to "the development of green building standards through consensus-based processes derived from data and performance-driven criteria." So far, however, there hasn't been much activity beyond the group's founding and initial PR push.
Each project team and facility management team should be responsible for defining its own product selection criteria. Sometimes that will include a red list — common in health care and schools. Sometimes it will not. It all depends on the priorities of the organization.
2. New State Laws Advance Green Building
Today's tip of the day about USGBC's list of new state laws that advance green building.
Earlier this year, USGBC released its list of Top 10 LEED States (rated per capita). Again, the District of Columbia won by a wide margin.
But a more interesting, and probably more meaningful, top 10 list is the top 10 new state laws that advance green building.
From California to Alabama to Florida to Oklahoma, from requirements that public buildings' energy use be benchmarked to legislation that allows PACE financing, these new laws represent a wide range of impactful and important strategies.
What's exciting about seeing this list of laws is realizing that green building legislation is no longer something only considered in states that vote blue. Indeed, green building in general and energy efficiency specifically are more and more being universally recognized not just as the right thing to do, but also as fiscally sound.
And what's more, several of these new laws (including in Illinois and the District of Columbia) aim to make school buildings more energy efficient and green. The District of Columbia law raises the bar of new school buildings from LEED Silver to LEED Gold. It's hard to disagree that showing children at an early age how important green is can have a huge impact on how they continue to learn and prioritize green.