U.S. Green Building Council Announces LEED Pilot Credit: Building Material Human Hazard and Exposure Assessment

New credit continues push for better understanding and decision making around building materials & products

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 25, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced a new LEED pilot credit—Building Material Human Hazard & 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, 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 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. These assessments can, in turn, be an important consideration for alternative assessment of building materials. By requiring exposure to be considered during product development, this 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 & Exposure pilot credit continues USGBC’s work to advance LEED users’ knowledge and understanding of the materials used to build and operate buildings. 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.

This 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. This initiative acknowledges USGBC’s success in leading the transformation of the built environment and sets up a pathway to take advantage of the materials science expertise of ACC and its members.

“ACC welcomes the new pilot credit, which rewards products that have undergone rigorous and scientific hazard and exposure assessments,” says Debra M. Phillips, vice president, ACC. “Through Responsible Care, ACC members support scientific and systematic approaches to managing and continuously improving the safety of their products. ACC members also undertake third-party verification of their systems and approaches. This new credit brings such a scientific, systematic and third-party validated approach to the important issue of health.”

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.

“Today, exposure information and the assumptions that go into it aren’t required to be shared by manufacturers,” added Horst. “This new pilot credit will facilitate information sharing that will help us guide future credit writing.”

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.

Green construction is a large economic driver. According to the 2015 USGBC Green Building Economic Impact Study, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs—more than one-third of the entire U.S. construction sector—and generate $190.3 billion in labor earnings. The industry’s direct contribution to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is also expected to reach $303.5 billion from 2015–2018. For more information about the LEED credits, visit usgbc.org/LEED.

Marisa Long
Public Relations & Communications Director
U.S. Green Building Council

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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501 c3 non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings..

With a community comprising 78 local affiliates, more than 20,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 100,000 LEED Accredited Professionals, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to soar to $60 billion by 2010.  The USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.

Contact:

U.S. Green Building Council
2101 L Street, NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20037

Customer Service
Phone: 1-800-795-1747

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