The USGBC’s Supply Chain Optimization Group is leaving many in our industry feeling optimistic. Finally, the USGBC seems to be opening its doors and seeking expertise from key groups, including the American Chemistry Council and the Vinyl Institute, as well as chemical suppliers, building product manufacturers, design teams, producers of raw materials, academics and government entities.

According to the Vinyl Institute news release dated October 22, “This new working relationship acknowledges USGBC’s success in leading the transformation of the built environment and takes advantage of the health and environmental lifecycle expertise of VI and its members.”

While some might say this is all “conveniently” happening on the heels of the DOE announcing that Green Globes Level 2 is the recommended green rating system for all federal buildings, I choose to be optimistic and encouraged by the formation of this working group.

In general, LEED® has been positive for our industry, but it has lacked explanation of the science behind its materials selection guidelines. I believe giving the Vinyl Institute and the American Chemistry Council a seat at the table will finally ensure that unwarranted biases are eliminated from LEED as supported by the Supply Chain Optimization Group’s charter, taken from the USGBC website:

The formal charter of the working group, as devised and approved by the LEED Steering Committee, focuses around development and optimization of the LEED v4 Materials and Resources (MR) credit 4, which:

The working group will focus on the following priorities, as outlined in the charter:

  • Explore new and innovative ideas to evolve existing options one (material ingredient reporting), two (material ingredient optimization), and three (product manufacturer supply chain optimization) in the LEED v4 MR credit focusing on enhancing feasibility in practice, in-building performance, and measurability.
  • For option three, further define the processes referenced and identify third-party programs that verify those processes and are easily specified by design teams and explore new and innovative ways to achieve the goals option three was created to deliver.
  • Develop and propose alternative and/or additional option(s) or approaches, in whole or part, for stakeholder consideration.

The View from Here is that the Supply Chain Optimization Group will hopefully herald much-needed cooperation between the USGBC and the vinyl industry. All we’ve ever asked is that the system, specifically material selection, be fair and based on actual science. Perhaps we are on our way to achieving that goal.


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