skip to main content

→ Top Stories:
Clean Power plan
Safe Chemicals

Jennifer Sass’s Blog

Chemical industry and ACC attack LEED green building ratings

Jennifer Sass

Posted July 18, 2012

, , , , ,
Share | | |

A coalition of toxic chemical users and manufacturers launched their new "American High-Performance Buildings Coalition" to challenge the internationally renowned and respected voluntary LEED green building rating system that credits buildings with high energy efficiency and environmental sustainability design.

What don't the toxic chemical companies like about the proposed improvements to LEED? The new proposed LEED Version 4 standard will give credits for building teams that use materials that do not cause cancer, birth defects, and other health or environmental impairments.

Construction and interior finishing with non-toxic or less-toxic materials is good business and will create jobs and support businesses that supply safer materials and products. Architects and engineers like it, and so do builders, contractors, and building product manufacturers.

But, the American Chemistry Council, the trade organization that represents the corporations that make yesteryear's old dinosaur war-era toxic chemicals are so offended by the idea of including human health into a green building standard that they've decided to push the government to reject LEED for government buildings.

The chemical industry coalition includes the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Adhesives and Sealants Council and the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing.

Shame on ACC, its members, and the coalition! They need to catch up with the 21st century, or make way for the innovative new businesses that are supplying safer, healthier building materials.

Share | | |


anonymousJul 25 2012 06:12 PM

Shame on YOU Jennifer, for buying into the USGBC hype and helping to further line President Rick Fedrizzi's pockets with taxpayer's hard earned money:

The way I see it, the USGBC is in the business of green alright, but not in the environmental sense of the word. Or maybe you are unaware that recent congressional testimony by a college physics PhD definitively debunks the notion that LEED certified buildings are any better at saving energy than any other building built today:

AND, you are evidently unaware that the latest GSA report finds GBI Green Globes a BETTER rating system for new construction than LEED, a rating system that does not penalize building products and materials based on pseudo science (as LEED is proposing to do):

How about a little less bias and a little more factual reporting?

Ryan ColeJul 27 2012 11:35 AM

dear first commenter,

Attacking Jennifer or any USGBC supporter for their monetary success is a diversion from the truth of the matter. The matter is environmental sustainability. The truth of it is that the ACC, like so many companies in opposition to the next industrial revolution, is doing all it can to discredit the USGBC and maintain their market control over what will soon be obsolete products.

In order to make your argument credible, let us first discuss the same point. Second, cite your sources.

Jenn SassJul 27 2012 12:14 PM

Dear Anonymous, thanks for your comments. I did look up and read your links. Thanks for the information. Yes, I am very aware that there are stronger programs than LEEDS, including the Green Globes one that you identify. Moving the energy-efficiency and health-protective ball forward is what counts, and LEEDS does that.

Dear Ryan, thank you for your comments. I agree, of course.

My point of this blog is not to compare, contrast, or criticize sustainability standards. Rather it is to highlight the negative role that the ACC has chosen to play in thwarting the inclusion of toxic chemicals into LEEDS. "Green" should include healthy, and not just energy-efficient. I hope that is something we can all agree on.

Comments are closed for this post.


Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

Feeds: Jennifer Sass’s blog

Feeds: Stay Plugged In