Meeting the new LEED Pilot Library chemical avoidance credit

Tom Lent | November 16, 2010

The USGBC's new "Pilot Credit 11: Chemical Avoidance in Building Materials" is an important step forward for the LEED program in addressing human health and leading chemicals of concern. This new addition to the LEED Pilot Library basically requires project teams to do two things:

1) Product selection: specify interior finish materials that do not contain phthalates and halogenated flame retardants (HFRs).
2) Evaluation: Compare six high coverage area examples of those specified materials against an industry norm or firm standard spec material, with a focus on human heath impacts. Include evaluation of meeting EQ credit 4.

As with all Pilot Credits, the project receives an innovation point based upon making a good faith effort to fulfill the requirements and actively participating in the Pilot process, regardless of actual success at attaining the full requirements.

You can use Pharos now to help you with both product selection and evaluation of your sample products. The phthalate and HFR filters currently available in Pharos are aligned with the credit language. Select a product category from the building product library. Then on the right hand side under "Return products known not to contain or be treated with:" check off the both the "LEED Pilot Credit 11 Chemicals" filter and click on "Apply Filters."

The search results will display all of the products that are fully disclosed and do not have any phthalates or HFRs in their listed contents. The top of the page will also indicate how many products did not meet the screen because of known phthalate or HFR content, how many did not meet the screen due to unknown content and links to view those products. If you find products in either of those categories that you would like to specify, we encourage you to contact the manufacturer or your rep to push them to reformulate in the former case, or disclose to Pharos in the latter.

Use the 10 point Pharos scoring results to compare your selected products to other products in the category for the Pilot program evaluation needs as well.

Have a LEED project on the boards now? Register your project for this credit in the LEED Pilot Credit Library and participate in the discussions in BuildingGreen's LEEDuser to learn more and share lessons. This is an important opportunity to help shape the future of healthy buildings while getting innovation credit points just for trying.

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p.s. Going to GreenBuild? You can learn more about why halogenated flame retardants are targeted at Dr. Arlene Blum's Master Speaker talk on Nov 18 at 8:30. Missing her talk? Read the interview with Arlene Blum about HFRs in the HBN Newsletter.