The LEED green building certification system doesn't ban clear-cut lumber or PVC, but you'd never know that from the money and energy the lumber and plastics industry is spending to gut LEED and to promote their own pet Green Globes alternative. It seems that every other week they are trying to slip in amendments to bills that would ban the use of LEED. The latest comes from Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, who adds this little nugget to both the Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation appropriation bills:
None of the funds made available by this act may be used to require the use of a green building certification system to construct or modify a building other than a green building certification system that-
1) is based on voluntary consensus standards that have an American National Standard Institute (ANSI) designation ore were developed by an ANSI- audited designator, and
2) only excludes a building material if the exclusion is based on robust scientific data and risk assessment principles.
The opposition to LEED keeps trying to imply that a standard that isn't ANSI isn't any good, but there are all kinds of standards that are not; this bill would make the use of Energy Star illegal too. With respect to "risk assessment principles, Paula Melton notes:
The "risk assessment" approach to chemical safety focuses on risk of exposure and of consequent health effects; the chemical industry typically argues that this is the only "science-based" way of making decisions about chemical hazards. Although useful, risk assessment is not the only "scientific" way to determine whether a chemical is potentially harmful, and its data outputs (much like those of LCA) have historically been easily manipulated. See the heading "CLAIM: Chemical credits are not science-based" in this blog post for context.
The alternative to LEED that happens to be based on an ANSI standard is, to put it mildly, industry-friendly; that's its raison d'être. Its board of directors and members reads like a plastic and lumber industry directory. These sneaky little amendments would essentially put the fox in charge of the green building henhouse.
Read more from Jason Grant here (PDF)