In the latest volley in the debate over the evolution of the LEED green building rating system, the chemical industry and building-material manufacturers said they have launched a “coalition” to promote the development of sustainable-building standards based on “consensus and scientific performance data.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Chemistry Council (ACC) and American Coatings Association (ACA) announced that they and more than 24 other industry associations have united to form the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition (AHPBC).
Members said the coalition will work to promote the development of sustainable-building standards based on “consensus and scientific performance data.”
The announcement comes as the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is in the process of reviewing the use of green-building standards by the federal government, and as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) works to revise its LEED green building rating system. The debate over plans for an update to LEED has been the topic of a number of recent D+D News articles; see Dissenting Opinion: LEED v4’s ‘Chemicals of Concern’ Plan Defended, A REACH for LEED? and Delay of LEED Game.
Mission to Advocate
The business and industry coalition said it will focus on advocating and supporting performance- and consensus-based standards and rating systems developed in conformance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for green building.
ANSI-accredited organizations recognize transparency, balance of interests represented and consensus decision-making, the coalition said.
Also, the coalition said its members possess the “critical experience and expertise” deemed necessary for the development of those standards.
Said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the ACC: “This coalition brings together industry leaders with an incredible range relevant expertise in manufacturing, material science and building performance, who will work to bring needed perspectives to this important work.”
The coalition said it will advocate its position with the GSA, other federal agencies and in other venues where green building certifications are under consideration.
Stephen Eule, vice president for climate & technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said, “The business community is actively engaging to develop and support green building standards through transparent and consensus-based processes. We believe this is the best way to create high-performing buildings that are energy efficient and practical to implement.
“The U.S. Chamber is pleased to be part of this important coalition to advocate for sustainable building using science, performance and consensus-based standards.”
USGBG: ‘Welcome to the Conversation’
The USGBC expressed tempered enthusiasm about the creation of the coalition, but added that 20 years, the representative groups were “finally engaged in conversation about the critical importance of green, high-performance buildings for America.”
Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy and law at USGBC, issued the following statement:
“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.’
“Like the newly formed coalition, USGBC also supports the use of green building codes and standards, in addition to third-party rating systems like LEED, and has proudly worked with leading code development organizations to co-release the leading mandatory green building codes.
“In the voluntary world of rating systems, LEED is transforming America's commercial real estate market, providing immediate financial benefits to building owners, operators and some of America's most admired companies through a private, voluntary, transparent and democratic process governed by the 15,000 member organizations of the USGBC.
“USGBC knows just how crucial industry participation is to high-performance building success. The 1.5 million square feet per day of commercial space we certify would not be possible without the full active participation of leading architects, engineers, builders, contractors, and product manufacturers.
“If this coalition is sincere in its interest to advance high-performance buildings over the status quo, we welcome them to the table and sincerely look forward to engaging together to make green buildings more valuable to Americans.”
The members of the coalition include the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, American Chemistry Council, Adhesive and Sealant Council, American Coatings Association, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Supply Association, Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Chemical Fabrics and Film Association, EPDM Roofing Association, Expanded Polystyrene Industry Alliance, Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association, Flexible Vinyl Alliance, Industrial Minerals Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Hispanic Landscape Alliance, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, Plastic Pipe & Fittings Association, Polyisocyanurate Manufactures Association, Resilient Floor Covering Institute, Society of Plastic Industry, Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates, Southern Forest Products Association, Treated Wood Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Vinyl Institute, Vinyl Siding Institute, and Windows & Door Manufacturers Association.