Letters to the Editor

October 30, 2013

Debra M. Phillips of the American Chemistry Council Responds to “Making Sense of the New LEED”

In response to the piece by Nadav Malin (“Making Sense of the New LEED”) that recently ran in your publication, I am writing to make clear that the American Chemistry Council (ACC) strongly supports energy efficiency and green building. In fact, chemistry is responsible for many of the innovations and technologies that make energy efficiency and green building possible.

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ACC has historically been supportive of LEED. But we are concerned that LEED v.4 has strayed from its original mission of promoting energy efficiency and environmental performance, by adding new provisions that discourage the use of certain products and materials without a scientific basis for doing so. New credits in LEED v.4 that encourage the avoidance of products containing certain chemicals were developed without input from experts in toxicology or chemical safety. They are based on flawed opinions, and without regard to the availability, safety or effectiveness of alternatives. Ironically, many of the products that LEED v.4 seeks to eliminate actually enable the very efficiency enhancements, environmental performance and sustainability improvements that LEED purports to promote.

ACC strongly believes that green building ratings systems and standards — especially those paid for by American taxpayers — must be grounded in sound science and developed through true, voluntary consensus processes with technical rigor, full transparency, broad stakeholder input, and due process. This is the only approach in a space as complex as green building that will ensure sustainable outcomes with real performance results.

Debra M. Phillips
Managing Director of Responsible Care and Value Chain Outreach
American Chemistry Council (ACC)

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