Given current levels of concern about global warming, the worldwide push toward sustainable building and construction is hardly surprising.
It is also well recognised that,along with builders, engineers, architects and others associated with the building process, the scientific community has a role to play, and that standard-setting for building design and construction must be based on solid scientific principles.
This was the thinking last week, when 27 leading associations representing a range of interests in the building industry formed a coalition which aims to promote the development of sustainable building standards based on consensus building and scientific performance data.
Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, says the new coalition, the American High-Performance and Buildings Coalition, brings together industry leaders with expertise across manufacturing, material science and building performance, and will advocate for performance and consensus based standards for green building.
“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 stakeholders with relevant expertise,” Russell says.
He says the new coalition will guide green building standards and will support performance-based building codes, standards and rating systems developed in conformance with the American National Standards Institute.
The new body’s formation comes as the US General Service Administration is in the process of reviewing the use of green building standards by the federal government and also as the US Green Building Council (USGBC) revises its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.
With members including the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Supply Association, the Vinyl Institute, the Centre for Environmental Innovation in Roofing and others, the new coalition enjoys broad based support.
Perhaps sensing competition, the USGBC has been somewhat guarded about welcoming the new coalition.
While the Council says it is significant that representative groups are finally engaging in conversation about the sustainable building in the US, Roger Platt, the USGBC’s senior vice president of Global Policy and Law, stresses the Council’s emphasis on the voluntary nature of systems such as LEED.
“We welcome the announcement of the formation of the American High Performance Building Council,” Platt says. “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.”.