More than 27 leading associations representing a wide range of interests in the building and construction industry announced the formation of the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition (AHPBC). These organizations have come together to promote and support the development of sustainable building standards, which are based on consensus and scientific performance data.
“As energy efficiency and building performance become increasingly important priorities for the public and private sectors, green building standards and rating systems should be based on the best available data, gathered from a range of stakeholder with relevant expertise. This coalition brings together industry leaders with an incredible range relevant expertise in manufacturing, material science and building performance, who will work to bring needed perspectives to this important work. The coalition will advocate for performance- and consensus-based standards for green building, which are the best way to achieve exceptional energy-efficiency,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
The coalition will provide critical experience and expertise to the development of green building standards, and will support performance-based building codes, standards and rating systems developed in conformance with the American National Standards Institute(ANSI), the established voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system. ANSI-accredited organizations recognize transparency, balance of interests represented and consensus decision-making.
The coalition announcement comes as the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is in the process of reviewing the use of green building standards by the federal government and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) revises its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.
The AHPBC supports certification systems based on sound data, scientific methodology and developed using a consensus process. The coalition will advocate that position with GSA, other federal agencies and in other venues where green building certifications are under consideration.
Stephen Eule, vice president for climate & technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy said, “The business community is actively engaging to develop and support green building standards through transparent and consensus-based processes. We believe this is the best way to create high-performing buildings that are energy efficient and practical to implement. The U.S. Chamber is pleased to be part of this important coalition to advocate for sustainable building using science, performance and consensus-based standards.”
Chip Yost, National Association of Manufacturers assistant vice president of energy and resources policy said, “Manufacturers have led the way in innovating technologies and solutions to improve energy efficiency and keep energy affordable. With buildings using approximately 40 percent of the energy in the United States, green standards play an important role in the manufacturing of energy-efficient products. It is important that organizations setting the standards use a consensus-based and transparent process, grounded in good science.”
Greg Zimmerman, editor, GreenTech wrote: The AHPBC, according to its website, endeavors to “support the development of green building standards through consensus-based processes derived from data and performance-driven criteria.” It doesn’t take a careful, between-the-lines read to understand that what this amounts to is a shot across the bow of the U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED rating system.
According to reports, coalition members — a long list of industry associations, from the American Chemistry Council to the Center for Environmental in Roofing — are upset about new credits in the LEEDv4 rating system (due out next year) that would award points for avoiding certain types of products.
USGBC responded with a press release titled “LEED Is Private, Voluntary, Transparent and Democratic.” The release continues “We welcome the announcement of the formation of the American High Performance Building Council, but as Ronald Reagan once said, we will ‘trust but verify.’ … If this coalition is sincere in its interest to advance high-performance buildings over the status quo, we welcome them to the table and sincerely look forward to engaging together to make green buildings more valuable to Americans.”