New LEED pilot spotlights impact of building materials
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced a new LEED pilot credit—building material human hazard and exposure assessment – which encourages project teams and manufacturers to assess human health related exposure scenarios for products during their installation and use phases.
“LEED v4, the latest version of the LEED green building system, has begun a shift in how we think about health and building materials,” said Scot Horst, chief product officer for the USGBC. “We have a focus on transparency and optimization so specifiers can know what they are using and can reward innovation. But understanding how a material impacts human health requires a full understanding of hazard and exposure. The new pilot credit is a first step toward evaluating exposure by encouraging product inventories in order to prioritize decision making.”
The pilot credit, according to the USGBC, seeks to reward manufacturers who perform hazard and exposure assessments that can serve as a basis for developing products designed to minimize human health impacts during installation and use of the products. The assessments can, in turn, be an important consideration for alternative assessment of building materials.
By requiring exposure to be considered during product development, the pilot begins to make linkages between the product’s ingredient inventory and hazard assessment required by the existing materials ingredients credit and performance testing required by LEED’s low-emitting materials credits.
The hazard and exposure pilot credit continues USGBC’s work to advance LEED users’ knowledge and understanding of the materials used to build and operate buildings, the organization said. USGBC’s ultimate aim is that project teams have a full and complete picture of building materials and products—all in one place—which will help enable transparent, informed decisions around important attributes of materials and products used in our offices, homes, schools and other structures.
The pilot credit was developed by USGBC in conjunction with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its members, as part of the partnership announced in 2014. The partnership was established to expand collaboration between suppliers and specifiers, leverage scientific expertise and make LEED a more effective tool to deliver positive economic, environmental and social outcomes.
All USGBC members are eligible to submit pilot credits for consideration; pilot credits are evaluated based on applicability to the goals of LEED, relative impact compared to other LEED credits or pilot credits, technical rigor and achievability.
To fulfill the credit requirements, LEED projects must submit product documentation from manufacturers, including calculations and assumptions, to GBCI, the third-party verification body for LEED. This information will be combined with data from other ongoing pilots and credits and synthesized by USGBC and GBCI to inform technical development of this pilot and other materials-related LEED credits.
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification system is the world’s most widely used program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. Today, there are nearly 75,000 commercial projects participating in LEED across the globe, with 1.85 million square feet of building space becoming LEED-certified every day.
For more information about the LEED credits, visit usgbc.org/LEED.
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Companies: U.S. Green Building Council