Calling for green-building ratings, code, and standards development processes to be consensus-based and developed in conformance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or ISO-type processes, 27 organizations have come together to form the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition. Members include the Adhesive and Sealant Council, American Chemistry Council, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, National Association of Manufacturers, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, Vinyl Institute, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Our mission is to support and promote green-building codes, standards, rating systems, and credits and we believe the best systems will be developed in conformance with ANSI or ISO-type processes, and will be data-driven, supported by science, and performance based," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council on a conference call announcing the coalition.

“While over the years our building stock has gotten a lot better, there are still tremendous opportunities for improvements,” said Stephen Eule, vice president for climate and technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It’s important to have standards that are developed transparently and with input from a broad array of stakeholders.”

In announcing the formation of the coalition, several speakers emphasized that the mission of the organization was not to undermine the objectives of green construction or one specific system, such as the LEED rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and emphasized that the focus, rather, is on the importance of transparency and dialogue. Jared Blum, president of PIMA, specifically noted, “Let me be clear: PIMA has in the past and will continue to support strong codes and voluntary standards in a range of forums such as ASHRAE, IgCC, and LEED. The coalition being announced today will further those efforts and allow us to speak on critical issues with a unified voice with other manufacturers. This way we can continue to work toward a durable and long-lasting built environment that is reflective of truly green construction.”

However, during the conference call, several representatives went on to take specific issue with the USGBC, the LEED rating system development process, and the current changes under review for LEED v4 (most specifically the proposed changes to the Materials and Resources credits).

Mark Collatz, director of government relations for the Adhesives and Sealants Council (ASC) took specific issue with the changes proposed to the Materials and Resources credit in LEED v4. “Earlier this year, USGBC introduced a radically different approach to its LEED 2012 proposal that would link credits to the deselection of a wide range of chemicals,” he said. “In taking this approach there seems to have been no apparent consideration as to what qualities some of these chemicals provide to the efficacy of a given product or whether, in some cases, they contribute to the product’s energy efficiency.” He added “In developing this one-sided approach to deciding what types of products were environmentally preferable, it is clear that USGBC’s claim of consensus-based approach did not include the adhesive and sealant manufacturing community.”

Craig Silvertooth, president of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing said, “While we applaud the LEED program’s justifiable focus on protecting human health, we are deeply concerned that this proposal [LEED v4 and its proposed materials and resources restrictions] threatens to do precisely the opposite. The elimination of today’s most high-performing building materials not only threatens the American manufacturing industry, but also prohibits the design and construction of energy-efficiency, safe buildings.”

In response to the announcement of the coalition’s launch, the USGBC released the following statement from Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy and law:

“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.’

“Like the newly formed coalition, USGBC also supports the use of green building codes and standards, in addition to third party rating systems like LEED, and has proudly worked with leading code development organizations to co-release the leading mandatory green building codes." The statement also notes, “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.”

 The full AHPBC release can be downloaded here , while the USGBC statement is here . ECO-STRUCTURE most recently reported on specific industry concerns over the proposed changes in LEED v4 and the demands for changes to the system development process in June.