Tom Lent | December 02, 2012
The USGBC has taken a huge step forward to address toxics in building materials in the most recent draft LEED standard that is now in public comment. The credit called “MRc4 - Building product disclosure and optimization - material ingredients” rewards product transparency to inform product selection and encourages avoidance of toxics in building materials.
The credit rewards use of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) for product disclosure and avoidance of products containing GreenScreen Benchmark 1 chemicals. It also allows an alternative path that utilizes the Cradle to Cradle program. This credit is part of a suite of three new materials credits. The other two address use of EPDs and responsible sourcing.
DEADLINE: Comments must be submitted to the USGBC by Monday, Dec 10th. The full credit text for MRc4 and the place for submitting comments is at https://new.usgbc.org/node/2616399?return=/credits/new-construction/v4-draft . You do not need to be a USGBC member to comment
The credit is not perfect. The devil is in the details and there is plenty that needs to be focused to make it doable and a few loopholes to be closed, but this a good start. The USGBC needs encouragement to go forward with this credit and a firm push to continue down this path beyond this credit. This is particularly important in the light of recent ACC attacks aimed at trying to stop US federal government use of LEED for its buildings primarily because of this proposed credit.
We strongly support this approach to product improvement through encouraging product content transparency to inform product selection and avoidance of high hazard chemicals. This is just a first step to ridding our buildings of all toxic chemicals.
There are a few serious loopholes to be closed:
The credit also has some significant implementation challenges and as currently drafted appears unnecessarily complex and daunting. The compliance paths can be organized in a more straightforward and simplified way that will facilitate design team understanding & simple documentation.
We've prepared further comments aimed at streamlining implementation to make it practical for design teams. For a more full discussion of our comments on this credit and the other two material credits go to LEEDUser at http://www.leeduser.com/blogs/leed-v4-public-comment-forum-leed-takes-new-direction. Look for my more detailed assessment and proposals under the comments section at “Assessing the new MR credits - MRC4 - material ingredients”.