Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

SPI Members’ Grassroots Activity Effective: Next LEED Version Deferred to Enable Further Input

Yesterday, the U.S. Green Building Council announced that in response to overwhelming feedback from its members and engaged stakeholders, it is delaying the ballot on LEED 2012, the proposed new version of its green building rating system, until June 1, 2013. The next version is now called LEED v4.

The new schedule, which provides for a fifth public comment period from

October 2, 2012 thru December 10, 2012, owes a great deal to the “engaged stakeholders.” Thanks are due in particular to members and staff of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, the Vinyl Institute, the American Chemistry Council and more than 20 other trade associations, who worked in concert to provide the feedback.

In an effort to rectify provisions of the latest draft of the LEED standard that included unsound science and inaccuracies concerning several plastic materials, SPI issued a grassroots alert to its member companies, including information on what was in the proposed version. Members then were encouraged by SPI to provide feedback to USGBC, and also to send messages to their members of Congress—and many of them did.

From within the association itself, SPI’s VP of science, technology and regulatory affairs Melissa Hockstad sent messages to USGBC detailing the issues needing correction before the standard went to a ballot. Concurrently, staff specialists from SPI’s government and regulatory affairs group, which is headed up by Sr. VP Jon Kurrle,  met with members of Congress in their Capitol Hill offices to make them aware of the issues.

SPI is thanking its members and staffers for a great job of stepping and voicing their collective concerns about the content of the proposed LEED standard, as well as with the process employed by USGBC to develop the next version of its green building standard. SPI provides its members with online software tools that make it easy for a member to initiate and continue their own grassroots activism.

The input from SPI and other industry groups takes on increasing importance because LEED standards are being used with increasing frequently by architects, builders, and rebuilding specialists, not only in the U.S. but also around the world. USGBC says that LEED certification of new or remodeled buildings is taking place daily.

In announcing the new schedule for LEED v4, USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi noted that the new time frame for comments includes the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (November 14-16 in San Francisco), which provides an additional opportunity to gather further input from stakeholders. SPI says it looks forward to working with its members to provide factual, science-based input from the plastics industry during the fifth comment period, and also for any corresponding or subsequent actions that are needed, as it has done over the past few months to achieve the current result.

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