The US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) this week announced a new initiative designed to ensure the use of sustainable and environmentally protective products in buildings by applying technical and science-based approaches to the LEED green building program.
The somewhat surprising move follows years of ACC lobbying against LEED, claiming it was “becoming a tool to punish chemical companies”, and particularly against USGBC’s chemical avoidance credits, which it argued would in fact make buildings less energy efficient, counter to LEED’s goals.
But the apparent change of heart comes as the two look to take advantage of their combined strengths to further the green cause.
Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC, said: “USGBC and ACC share the goal of advancing sustainability in the built environment, and we will work together to take advantage of our collective strength and experience. The looming impacts of climate change and the possibilities of improving human health and wellbeing favour collaboration and engagement as key strategies. The goal is forward progress.”
ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley said: “Modern energy efficiency gains, building safety advances and carbon footprint reductions would not be possible without the products of chemistry. From windows to insulation, adhesives to flooring, chemistry provides solutions that enable the energy efficient and sustainable buildings that consumers expect in today’s world. By combining USGBC, a leader of the green building movement, with the scientific know-how of ACC, we can develop a path to stronger, science-based standards that achieve measurable progress in sustainability.”
LEED is regularly updated through a rigorous development process that includes public comments, technical review and balloting, and USGBC and ACC will work within that framework to incorporate state-of-the-art safety, sustainability and life-cycle based approaches to LEED, the Council said.
LEED has facilitated advances in building technologies, integrated design and operating practices, as well as the tremendous growth of the green building sector, which supports or creates 7.9 million jobs across all 50 states and contributes $554 billion to the US economy annually.