The plastics industry has taken high-profile stance in the debate over green building standards. The result, today at least, is that it's getting some criticism.
The post is timed to coincide with the plastics industry's annual Washington fly-in, where member companies come to D.C. to meet with Congress, Administration officials and staffers about issues of interest.
Levine knows there's pressure from the plastics industry over which green building standard the federal government should prefer (if any). For background, read our stories about the debate between the Green Building Initiatives' Green Globes system and the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system.
He writes that "a vocal subset of the plastics industry ... has become a major critic of LEED — even falsely claiming that these LEED credits are not science-based nor representing consensus. The truth is that the U.S. Green Building Council has a rigorously inclusive process that seeks critical input from the nation’s top building science experts and leaders in all sectors of the building industry."
The plastics industry has been arguing for years that the process that USGBC used to come up with its new LEED v4 standards were not really consensus-based.
The debate may involve a subset of the plastics industry, but it's a pretty big subset. If the government gives a nod to LEED v4, it could have an impact on widely used plastic building materials, including PVC.
The plastics industry has been a strong supporter of the Green Globes standards instead of LEED's. Green Globes have a reputation for being faster, cheaper and more industry-friendly than LEED — an impression that was affirmed recently when Drexel University in Philadelphia reported that the cost of having a new five-story science building constructed on the Philadelphia campus qualify for both the LEED and Green Globes standards.
As PN's Catherine Kavanaugh reported, the internal staff costs to meet LEED requirements totaled $125,000 compared to $9,000 for Green Globes.
Levine won't have the last word on the debate, but I'll let him have it here. In his blog post for The Hill, he writes:
"There’s a reason nearly 9 billion square feet of building space globally participate in LEED rating systems. Because it works well. The plastics industry should join other industry leaders — even those in their sector — that are already promoting American innovations in green chemistry. We’re confident U.S. senators and congressmen would be excited to support greater exports while improving the health of our buildings for our workers, schoolchildren, and families. That’s something we can all get behind, because it is good for business."