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Gene S. Greene (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 12:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Peggy White, CSI, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: peggy

Post Number: 40
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 03:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Oh now... no need to be smug. The times they are a'changin'. Get used to it.

The chemical industry is in a dither about the new requirements in LEED for transparency in reporting the components and materials in building products. They would prefer that we didn't know about all the toxic chemicals in our homes and buildings. They have threatened the USGBC quite aggressively, and this is just one of their tactics: http://www.scribd.com/doc/93003545/LEED-Consensus-Ltr-for-Hearing-Broun

I wonder how much money they've contributed to Broun and his pals?
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 431
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 03:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Folks, let's not go down the same tiresome road we did with the "PVC Good or Bad" thread in 2008
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 1270
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 05:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I see this as USGBC trying to get on the "chemicals of concern" bandwagon that has been adopted by the Living Building Challenge. As with most LEED things, adopting a "red list" of chemicals doesn't make it law, and there is currently no way to build a commercial building and conform to the LBC "red list". (it can be done with residences). In addition, the red list issues appear to not be well thought out. Its clear that some of the concern has to do with "what happens to these products when they get in the waste stream" but that doesn't address what happens when a product stays in a buidling for 100 years and is inert.
Additionally, it is currently impossible to have a high performance window and meet any LBC criteria at all -- so the requirement for high performance glazing directly conflicts with several requirements for light and access to views. The "2012" LEED is trying too hard to "me too" the LBC, and many of us who reviewed the drafts were pretty insistent that it wasn't clearly thought out.
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 455
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 05:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I will have to confess that I have not kept up with all of the developments on LEED 2012 / LEED V4.0, but what I have been impressed with is an attempt to address the materials resource issues is a what that accounts for life-cycle costs, recycled content, local availability, and composition. This is a very tricky issue as anyone who has been around for any length of time well knows and is fraught with unintended consequences. Asbestos was taken off the market, but installing VCT with certain adhesives created air quality issues because VCT breathes less than VAT. Does this mean that we bring back VAT? No... But changing the composition of a material and prohibiting something else might not be a good idea. Kinda reminds me of what the Joker was doing in Batman 1986.

We want more recycled content, but do we ship it to San Diego CA from Providence RI because the demand is there? Or will it be less expensive and have less carbon footprint to use "virgin" material from a source closed to home? Or is it better to use the recycled product becasue it will last 7 years instead of 3? LEED V4.0 attempts to get at those types of issues. Is it complicated? Yes, but it does try to address such issues.

There are a couple of things that I like about LEED: (1) It isn't an all or nothing thing, except for a handful of prerequisites. You can contribute to a more sustainable built environment by doing some stuff without going crazy (and running up project costs). (2) There are credits available that really do add value to a building by reducing operating costs. (3) Third-party review means that I can't get away with claiming to have designed a green building "'cause I say so."

What I don't like about LEED are the somewhat meaningless credits that we get either because they are mandated in the project's location (sometimes higher threashold than LEED) or those we can buy that really won't add value or reduce operating costs.

Should the government (federal, state, or local) mandate LEED certification for all their buildings; absolutely not. Should each project be examined to see if LEED or Green Globes (or something else) would be a better rating system, probably. Should government set up their own rating system? Absolutely not. For all of its faults, USGBC is somewhat responsive to those of us who have invested in sustainable design. I cannot imagine that any GreenGovernment System is going to be better.
ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 263
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 08:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Actually, Baltimore City came up with a Green Building Code that is on par with LEED Silver, is enforced by the City Code officials which therefore raises a small amount of added revenue for the city, pays USGBC nothing, and is better thought out than LEED V3.

The developer community has barely pushed back, reasoning that they'd rather comply with this than with LEED.

As to LEED vs. Green Globes, I still think GG makes more sense in terms of focus on energy usage and life-cycle. I don't see why GSA has to go with just one. Why not opt to leave the choice open to all the various rating systems out there? LEED ain't all that.
Anon (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 - 04:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Yeah, ummm, not just the "chemical industry" concerned about the problems with LEED. Below is a letter from self-proclaimed "Sustainable Design Leaders" (such as HOK, Perkins Will, etc.) that was sent to the USGBC with similar concerns:

May 29, 2012
Rick Fedrizzi, President & CEO
Elizabeth Heider, Chairman of the Board
U.S. Green Building Council 2101 L Street, NW Suite 500 Washington, DC 20037
Re: LEED 2012
Concerns, a Proposal and an Offer
Dear Rick and Beth,
As sustainable design leaders in our respective firms, long-term supporters of the USGBC and champions for LEED through the years, we speak with a single voice in sharing our concern about LEED 2012, and in making a proposal to you.
In formal comments and consensus statements throughout the public comment period, in extensive discussions with staff and in informal communications with volunteer leadership, we have, individually and collectively, shared a multitude of concerns about specific elements of LEED 2012. Some of these communications seem to have contributed to the improvements we witnessed in the version that was released during the 4th public comment process.
However, we still find that the current version contains many elements that suggest a variety of consequences which are unpredictable, and which are punctuated by the significant variations we have observed between the four versions of the proposed changes released thus far. Furthermore, these numerous versions have continued to propose changes that are highly prone to have unintended consequences in the marketplace, credits that promote practices that are weak and not aligned with the overarching goal of transparency and performance, credits whose compliance paths include tools that are not yet in our firmsí practice toolkits or do not have clear consensus and as a result have not yet been adopted by industry, and credits for which the complexity of documentation is only adding to these challenges and therefore will diminish participation. In some cases, we fear that credits being proposed have already been proven as unachievable within the day-to-day reach of our practices. To the extent that this leads our clients to not pursue certain sustainable design strategies, our projects will be diminished in their environmental intelligence.
As long-term users of LEED rating systems and strong supporters of the organizationís work, it is our anticipation that while USGBC continues to raise the bar for performance and lead the needed market transformation to address the challenging issues, that the USGBC also strives to create a system that is more accessible for wider adoption and that is seen as an asset to the industry, rather than a liability.
We are concerned that the proposed changes do the opposite by increasing the complexity of compliance/documentation and potentially lose focus on advancing the green building movement.
In the spirit of partnership, with the common goal to advance the green building movement and the USGBC, we would like to propose a path that we believe will contribute towards making the next version of LEED rating system a robust and successful launch. We propose that the USGBC advance the time period for the LEED 2012 beta test period such that it precedes the LEED 2012 ballot, and that the beta period be for at least one year. We suggest that the LEED ballot only goes forward after the successful completion of the beta test period and after all the critical lessons learned from that effort have been incorporated. For this beta test process, the members of the various undersigned firms, representing the different market sectors, offer to participate such that the USGBC gains valuable insight and feedback to inform the changes that will truly be successful and transformational. Our firms are committing to support and work closely with the USGBC to identify projects of varying types and scales from within our practices to serve as subjects for this exploration.
We applaud the organizationís efforts to advance the green building dialogue to its next level and fully support and appreciate the efforts and leadership involved in making this possible. We hope that the USGBC will consider our offer of a combined effort to partner with the USGBC on this important endeavor.
Mara Baum, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Craig Briscoe, LEED AP BD+C
Clark Brockman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Craig Copeland, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Betsy del Monte, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C
The Beck Group
Martine Dion, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Symmes Maini, & McKee Associates
Meredith Elbaum, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Sasaki Associates
Brian Feagans, AIA, LEED AP
Anjali Grant, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Anne Hicks Harney, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Julie Hendricks, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Tamara Iwaseczko AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Brad Jacobson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Ilana Judah, Intíl Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Susan Kaplan, CSI, CCS, LEED AP BD+C
HLW, International
Megan Koehler, Architect, LEED AP BD+C
KMD Architects
Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C
Andrea Love, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Boora Architects
Greg Mella, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Robert Miller, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Sam Miller, AIA, LEED AP
Margaret Montgomery, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Jim Nicolow, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Lord, Aeck & Sargent
Russell Perry, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C
David Posada, LEED AP BD+C
GBD Architects Incorporated
Priya Premchandran, LEED AP BD+C
Lona Rerick, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Yost Grube Hall
Brad Schaap, PE, SE, LEED AP BD+C
Leo A Daly
Allen Schaeffer RA, LEED AP BD+C
Catherine Sheane, PE, LEED AP BD+C
Dee Spiro, LEED AP BD+C
Bergmeyer Associates, Inc.
Kirk Teske, AIA, LEED AP
Scott Thayer, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
Ankrom Moison Architects
Paula Vaughan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Perkins + Will
Alan Warner, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
GBBN Architects
CC: Brendan Owens
Scot Horst
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 461
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Friday, June 08, 2012 - 10:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Grasping, over reaching USGBC twits! Even their own have begun to turn on them!
Peggy White, CSI, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: peggy

Post Number: 41
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2012 - 10:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Mr. Greene, Gene S. (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2012 - 06:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Hmmm... The very end of the "article" posted by Peggy White says:

"Disclosure: BuildingGreen has collaborated with USGBC on several projects over the last two decades, and several of our staff have participated in USGBC committees and the board of directors."

Not a particularly fair and balanced slant on the topic. I mean, USGBC practically has Building Green on its payroll. The Building Green staff wears interchangeably its USGBC committee and board positions and "journalist" hats... The disclosure neglects to mention that many Building Green staff also teach courses for the USGBC - also paid positions. Building Green staff at least knows enough not to bite the hand that feeds it.

Wake up!
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 1272
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Friday, June 08, 2012 - 07:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

that's a pretty impressive list of folks... and I'm glad to see that sort of studied response from such a large and experienced group. I also like the beta testing idea. This "2012" version was too clearly a money grab to make a lot of sense.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 1403
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2012 - 11:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I will preface by saying that I'm a lukewarm supporter of LEED (and CHPS and its variants) because of the difficulties in rectifying it's goals with other building performance goals.


We as specifiers tend to focus on building performance, building operation, value (in the sense of ROI), and other technical aspects which appeal to the way we look at design. However, LEED has, since its beginings, been about improving the environment. Only insofar as a building's improved performance being good for the environment does it matter for LEED and similar certifications. This will necessarily create creative tension with the many other goals of design and construction.

As to the list of chemicals. I have no idea what LEED's inclusion of a list is attempting to do because I haven't looked into it. But I will say that western economies use tens of thousands of chemicals in products and industrial processes, many of which end up in our goods, environments and bodies. In the U.S. in particular, an extremely small proportion of them have ever been subjected to scientific scrutiny of their effects on human health, even in the face of evidence that there is a problem. This has to change. Whether LEED is the mechanism, I have my doubts, but it is a crisis.

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