Dueling construction standards offer opportunities for plastics

By Don Loepp
Editor

Published: November 15, 2013 2:41 pm ET
Updated: November 15, 2013 3:01 pm ET

Image By: Rich Williams

Related to this story

Topics Construction, Sustainability, Materials Suppliers, Government & Legislation, Building/construction, Government/defense

It looks like plastics can still have a starring role in sustainable construction. The General Service Administration is giving federal agencies a choice of green building certification systems, and that's good news for plastics. GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini recently endorsed the Green Building Initiatives' Green Globes 2010 system, in addition to the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2009.

You may recall LEED was in the news a few months ago, because a draft for the newest standards, called LEED v4, proposed giving builders credit for using "good" materials. That was a compromise choice — the original plan was to give builders credit for avoiding "bad" materials. But either way, some within the plastics and construction industries were concerned about how that would affect some widely used building materials, including PVC.

Green Globes has a reputation for being faster, cheaper and more industry-friendly than LEED.

Federal backing for Green Globes is likely to have an impact on the private construction market, too. Before, LEED had a virtual monopoly on determining if a project could be considered sustainable. Now, there's competition. That won't sit well with everyone.

Also, Jason Grant, who sits on the Sierra Club's Forest Certification and Green Building Team, told Plastics News' Catherine Kavanaugh that Green Globes "goes easy" on industry critics of LEED, including the plastics, chemicals and timber industries. Those groups joined forces to lobby against LEED 18 months ago when they formed the American High-Performance Building Coalition.

It's tempting to say GSA's decision in favor of Green Globes is a victory for plastics. But it's too soon to make that call. Green Globes will have to prove its value in the marketplace in order to be taken seriously by architects, builders and consumers.

How can that happen? Here's a suggestion — highlight the advantages of using materials like plastics. There are plenty, after all: energy efficiency, cost savings, carbon footprint.

GSA itself says both systems have won the debate. But it's important to note that GSA endorsed both Green Globes and LEED 2009 — but not LEED v4, which is the version that had upset groups like the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.

Loepp is editor of Plastics News and author of "The Plastics Blog."


Comments

Dueling construction standards offer opportunities for plastics

By Don Loepp
Editor

Published: November 15, 2013 2:41 pm ET
Updated: November 15, 2013 3:01 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

The milk man will be toting plastic bottles to UK homes in the future

September 22, 2014 11:17 am ET

The United Kingdom's largest dairy company is about to replace its final glass bottles with plastic.    More

Image

Poland's Boryszew to work with Mitsui on lightweight auto parts

September 22, 2014 10:12 am ET

European plastics car parts maker Boryszew Group has signed a letter of intent to work with the Japanese investment and trading conglomerate Mitsui & ...    More

Image

Dunkin' Donuts looking at PP to replace foam cups

September 19, 2014 3:22 pm ET

Dunkin' Donuts is testing a new polypropylene coffee cup that the company believes could help boost recycling.    More

Image

Foster building medical polymers plant

September 19, 2014 1:39 pm ET

Foster Delivery Science is investing $8 million in a new plant in Putnam, Conn., for production of medical polymer blends, as well as rods, film or...    More

Image

BP to restart damaged PTA unit in limited capacity by November

September 19, 2014 10:27 am ET

British Petroleum plc may restart its fire-damaged purified terephthalic acid (PTA) feedstock unit in South Carolina in late October or early November...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events