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Posted By ASC, Monday, October 16, 2017

BLOG:  Manufacturers and Supply Chain LEED and Green Building Rating Systems Reality Check
By Paul Bertram, Expert Blogger

How is the industry responding to information requests of various “Green Rating Systems and related product certifications?

Reflecting back
The US Green Building Council began its environmental movement in 1993.LEED – Leadership on Energy and Environmental Design – was introduced in 2000. LEED project certifications, USGBC membership and related designations managed by GBCI established as specifiable environmental criteria. Early adopters and market leaders led this movement with LEED in the lead.

The USGBC Greenbuild conference was founded in 2002 with the 2003 first major conference in Austin that reported 5,000 registrants. At the height of USGBC’s reign, Greenbuild attendance at the 2010 Chicago conference reported 27,000 attendees with 750 exhibitors. In contrast, the 2016 LEED Los Angeles conference reported 18,079 in attendance and 531 exhibiting companies.

Currently projects must register with LEEDv4 and includes greater emphasis on Water, Material Transparency/Disclosure within Materials & Resources. Energy Efficiency and IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) remain significant credits.

The Expansion of Materials & Resources Credits Sparked Much Controversy
Material & Resources specific to product Material Transparency/Disclosure credits remain a topic of discussion. Credits requiring manufacturers responses include: Building Life Cycle Impact reduction, Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: EPDs, Sourcing of Raw Materials, Multi-Attribute Optimization, Material Ingredients; Greenscreen, Cradle to Cradle, Supply Chain Optimization.

These new and updated M&R credit areas are intended to influence greater environmental evaluation of materials & resources. My concern is that focus on environmental attributes may be detracting from Functional Performance requirements. Functional Performance requires understanding building science and physics. The lack of sound building science has contributed to project latent defects. Understanding environmental attributes of products/systems plays into material evaluation/specification but has to be weighed against all of the evaluation criteria as cited in CSI’s Project Delivery Practice Guide.

Of note, few architects or specifiers actually know how to consider this new “Material Transparency/Disclosure” reporting in a comprehensive material evaluation/specification beyond checking the box for credit contributions. Some firms have hired or have relationships with Toxicologists and Chemists to help address the intent of the science of these credit


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