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Reflections on Transparency — or Not

Penny Bonda, FASID, LEED Fellow, HBN Board Member | November 29, 2012 | Policies

December 10, 2012 marks the end of the latest public comment period for LEED v4, and in particular, for the proposed Materials and Resources credits that reward transparency in material specification and avoidance of chemicals of concern. These are the proposals that prompted the American Chemistry Council, a trade association that spends over $10...


Give Thanks: NSF Retracts Post-consumer Fly Ash Designation

James Vallette | November 20, 2012 | Policies

Late yesterday, NSF International issued a statement retracting its recent change in position on fly ash: “NSF International, an independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the building, food, water and consumer goods industries, has retracted verification of the claim that Boral Material Techno...


Greenbuild 2012: Rick Fedrizzi Brings It On

Bill Walsh | November 19, 2012 | Policies

In his Greenbuild 2012 Plenary Address, USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi spoke with passion to a cheering crowd about the need for transparency in the building industry, noting that "leadership companies are embracing health product declarations and green chemistry." Speaking to the opponents of the proposed chemical disclosure and a...


The Greenbuild EXPO 2012 Transparency Treasure Hunt

James Vallette | November 14, 2012 | Policies

Anyone missing the excitement of the presidential election can get a recharge by coming here, to the US Green Building Council’s Greenbuild EXPO 2012. A high-stakes political campaign rages around a modest proposal to incorporate a new materials credit in LEED® v4. The proposed Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credit would reward transparency through disclosure of material contents and the avoidance of chemicals of concern.


Greenbuild 2012: The New Normal - Transparency and Healthier Building Products

Bill Walsh | November 09, 2012 | Policies

Health Product Declaration Open Standard 1.0 Released Today a wide-ranging collaboration of green building industry leaders released Version 1.0 of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Open Standard Format. For the first time, manufacturers and their customers will have a standard format for the disclosure of contents and associated health informat...


Burying the LEED

Bill Walsh | October 25, 2012 | Policies

USA Today's two-part investigative report on the US Green Building Council documents the growing pains of an innovative experiment by American business, but stops short of shedding light on what is happening behind the scenes as the Council moves forward its most important innovation in a decade.

Despite cutthroat opposition from the chemica...


From The Smokestack To Your Floor – Post Consumer Fly Ash?

Tom Lent | October 24, 2012 | Policies

*** Nov. 20, 2012 update:  NSF International Retracts Post-Consumer Fly Ash Designation. Click here to read. *** Should fly ash from coal fired power plants be considered post-consumer recycled material?  Amazingly, NSF International, the certification and standards institution, thinks so.  Two recent decisions added fuel to the...


SEC conflict mineral rules hit building industry

James Vallette | August 30, 2012 | Policies

Some publicly traded building product manufacturers, beginning in 2013, will be required to report on the presence of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold in their products.   In a 3-2 vote last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules that implement disclosure requirements for “conflict minerals.” Th...


NY Times Op Eds Show Why LEED Chemical Credits Are Needed

Bill Walsh | August 28, 2012 | Policies

This past Sunday's New York Times Week In Review contained two important opinion editorials that underscore both the need for the proposed LEED credits on chemical disclosure and avoidance, and why these proposals have earned the US Green Building Council (USGBC) such vicious attacks from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the trade associat...


Senate Vote Builds Case Against Toxic Commerce

James Vallette | July 26, 2012 | Policies

Toxic commerce flourishes in the opaque US regulatory environment. For over thirty years, corporate members of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have enjoyed the confidentiality and toothless nature of the most important chemical regulation that applies to them: the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). But the days of secrecy and unregulated...