At last week’s GreenBuild 2013 in Philadelphia, the US Green Building Council focused on the need for greater disclosure and removal of hazardous chemicals from building materials. For the first time, the USGBC is including the toxicity of chemicals in materials as part of their LEED certification, and is offering credits in its LEED v.4 standard for the GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals. Companies that disclose and screen out hazardous chemicals using the GreenScreen can earn points under their Materials and Resources credits.
“We welcome the adoption of GreenScreen into LEED v.4,” said Lauren Heine, director of the GreenScreen program. “GreenScreen is becoming a global standard for chemical hazard assessment, and its use in the building sector will help drive green chemistry innovation in this sector.”
“We spend up to 90% of our lives in the indoor environment so it is essential that we are not surrounded by hazardous chemicals,” said Bev Thorpe, consulting co-director of Clean Production Action. “Our session at GreenBuild about how to apply GreenScreen to screen out highly hazardous chemicals in building materials was packed with designers, architects and manufacturers and I was deeply inspired by the real commitment in the room to ensure disclosure of all chemical ingredients and move to safer chemicals in building materials.”
Under LEED v.4, manufacturers can acquire two credits – one through disclosure and the other through the elimination of highly hazardous chemical ingredients. Companies can earn the disclosure credit by identifying ingredients in building products using the Health Product Declaration. For manufacturers who do not wish to disclose certain chemicals in their products, they can do a full GreenScreen assessment of those chemicals and report, according to the LEED credit.
Manufacturers can qualify for a second LEED credit if their products do not contain GreenScreen Benchmark 1 chemicals. This can be determined by using the GreenScreen List Translator, a compilation of authoritative and well-vetted lists of hazardous chemicals, or the full GreenScreen assessment for increased value. In addition, GreenScreen assessments can now be used towards Cradle to Cradle certification which provides another pathway to the LEED credits. Read More.