LEED Rating System Ballot Delayed Until June 2013

June 5th, 2012 by DWM Magazine

The LEED rating system that was scheduled to go to ballot this year, known as LEED 2012, was delayed yesterday, according to the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and many in the industry are applauding this decision.

The delay of the ballot came in response to concerns of USGBC members, which consist of “LEED users and stakeholders, and in an effort to provide the marketplace a view of the full LEED program” beforehand, according to USGBC. The ballot will be renamed Leed v4 and could be held June 1, 2013 or earlier if USGBC members and the market are prepared.

“LEED pushes the envelope to bring transformation to the market – that’s what we do,” says Scot Horst, senior vice president, LEED. “We remain committed to that, and to making sure that what we deliver is complete and can be successfully implemented.”

Many in the door and window industry disagreed with portions of the latest version, which says that new wood products must be certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) “or better.” Additionally, the latest draft has a section labeled, “Additional Chemical Avoidance” and one of the products on that list is PVC.

“WDMA continues to be concerned that several of the proposed LEED revisions will result in a suite of LEED rating systems that unduly limit building materials that can qualify,” says Window and Door Manufacturers Association president Michael O’Brien. “We are also very concerned that these same proposed revisions may improperly and irresponsibly imply that the use of many common and necessary building materials is detrimental to the environment or pose health hazards creating concern over the use of these materials when none is warranted. As such, we have strongly encouraged USGBC to fully reconsider provisions for these credits. We are hopeful the delay in balloting may result in a more positive and constructive end result.”

Other associations are also involved in efforts to ensure that some of the proposed changes do not get passed, including the Vinyl Institute (VI) and other industry companies are joining them in their efforts.

“We at Quanex are actively working with VI to engage our congressional delegates in the House and Senate to support our industry and apply pressure to the General Services Administration (GSA) to not endorse the most recent revision,” says Ric Jackson, director of external affairs, Quanex Building Products.

In May, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and David Vitter (R-La.) wrote a letter to GSA Administrator Daniel Tangherlini to express concern with the recently released LEED draft and subsequent adoption of these standards by the GSA.

“USGBC is planning to create two ‘Materials and Resources’ (MR) credits under LEED 2012, one for ’material ingredient reporting’ and one for ‘avoidance of chemicals of concern.’ The credits would affect hundreds of substances—many of which are key to helping building products achieve the desired properties, including energy efficiency,” wrote the Senators.

“If USGBC does not reconsider its anti-chemical proposals in LEED 2012, we respectfully request that GSA stop using the LEED rating system, in favor of more performance based standards,” they added. “As the largest federal government agency that has adopted LEED, GSA’s adherence to LEED 2012 would amount to a federal endorsement of efficiency standards which preclude the use of some of the most effective techniques and materials. We understand GSA’s interest in sustainability and energy efficiency throughout the federal building landscape. However, we believe that the federal government should not base its choices on arbitrary restrictions that may not allow for the use of the most effective materials, especially when the rejection of these materials would mean the loss of jobs and economic growth at a time our country can least afford it.”

The latest draft will be open  for public comment from October 2, 2012, through December 10, 2012.

“This is 100 percent in response to our members’ desire that we give them a bit more time to absorb the changes in this next version of the rating system,” says USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “We want to do everything we can to ensure that the market can fully embrace LEED v4 because it represents significant progress on carbon reduction and human health. Greenbuild will provide us the perfect venue to experience the look and feel of the new system as an integrated package. Then we can take the first part of 2013 to make sure the consensus body has everything it needs for a successful ballot.”

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