Perkins+Will Researchers Call for Higher USGBC Transparency Standards

Perkins+Will Senior Associate Douglas Pierce, AIA, LEED Fellow and the AREA Research team recently issued a call to action for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to increase their requirements for product transparency. In a white paper entitled, “LEED V4 Should Lead On Material Health Transparency By Accepting Only Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) That Comply With the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Truth in Advertising Law”, Pierce sheds light on the fact that LEED V4 and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) have a large loophole related to toxicity that many designers and green professionals are unaware of.

The paper encourages the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to lead Material Health Transparency by issuing a technical correction to LEED V4. This correction would include toxicity in EPD and Life Cycle Assessment requirements, enforcing the council’s priority of addressing toxicity in products and amending the conflict with the FTC law. Research into EPD standards has shown that manufacturers are not required to publish a product’s impact on human health or its impact on ecological toxicity.

The white paper argues that toxicity must be detailed in order to inform the public and not violate Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Environmental Marketing Guides. The research team’s rationale, conclusions, and action plan strongly advocate raising USGBC standards for reporting toxicity. Pierce states that the USGBC can easily fix these loopholes by adding human health and ecological toxicity to its EPD impact list.

Download 'Expanding LEED V4 Material Health Transparency.'

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