A new partnership between the USGBC and UL sheds light on product transparency.
By Daniel Overbey
|Mikhail Davis, director of restorative enterprise at Interface, explains it was not until the company adopted a life-cycle approach to sustainability that the true impacts of Interface’s products could be understood. Photo: Huntsman Architecture|
It has been 15 years since the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. That first year, 51 projects participated. Today, LEED is the most widely recognized green building program in the world, guiding the design, construction, operations, and maintenance of over 68,000 projects globally.
With the emergence of LEED, USGBC’s mission of market transformation took the first steps toward realization. Credits for single-attribute building products featuring recycled content, certified wood, or regional sourcing prompted manufacturers to not just divulge such characteristics about their products, but also to make the information easy to find. Today, manufacturers of building products routinely offer lists of green attributes through convenient resources.
As the market for green building products continues to evolve and improve, it is clear that LEED must continue to lead if it is to remain relevant. Enter the rating system’s latest update—version 4—where credits have been revised to ensure that they truly add quality to the utility of a project. In the case of building products, this means going beyond crediting single-attributes and toward an integrative life-cycle-based framework by encouraging manufacturers to disclose information about the materials that comprise their products—enabling practitioners to make better decisions.