The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
June 2nd, 2014

Vinyl Industry Takes on LEED® v4 in Washington

The Vinyl Institute Fly In on May 21 might be better described as a ‘Swarm In’ with nearly 70 constituents from across the U.S. making the trip to Washington to make a case for “Fairness and Competition.”

The material biases included in the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® v4 continue to be a hot topic with stakeholders from the door and window, piping, roofing, flooring and wall coverings industries all united to defend the $54.5 billion vinyl industry and support more than 350,000 manufacturing jobs.

According to briefing documents from the VI Fly In “The federal government has relied almost exclusively on the USGBC LEED rating system for certifying “green” buildings.”

The document further notes that “LEED v4 picks winners and losers among materials based on considerations that have nothing to do with building performance.” As a result:

  • Energy-efficient vinyl roofing membranes could lose out to roofs with shorter service life and higher non-renewable energy content.
  • Energy-efficient vinyl window frames and siding could be replaced by alternatives that require frequent painting/staining or are less energy efficient.
  • Vinyl flooring and wall coverings, widely used in healthcare for their ease of cleaning, which reduces the spread of pathogens, might be skipped in favor of products harder to clean and maintain.
  • Non-corrosive PVC drain, waste and vent pipe could be replaced by pipe that rusts and corrodes.

These strong and compelling statements were the basis for 99 meetings held with members of Congress throughout the day, reiterating that vinyl is prepared to compete when given a chance. Several other key issues were also tackled including:

  • GSA – Followed up with the DOE on last year’s decision to accept Green Globes as an alternative to LEED. The GSA recently published its P100 manual Facilities standards for the Public Buildings Service, which exclusively requires LEED to be used. The ask was to revise P100 to include Green Globes.
  • Water Infrastructure – Asked that federally funded projects require language to ensure any technology meeting performance requirements is considered.
  • Chemical Regulation – TSCA reform is long overdue and some states are starting to develop their own guidelines and red lists, which fragment reporting requirements.
  • Freight Rail Rates – Excessive increases as a result of massive consolidation giving monopolistic advantages to freight carriers in some regions of the country. Rates being charged are as much as 300% of variable costs. This impacts RM costs for most manufacturers of building products

The view from here is …

Our key interest is in Green Building certification issues and completing the work done over the past two years so that we have fair and open competition on federal projects. Many issues facing our industry are also important to other associations—and working together emphasizes the importance of these issues to our members of Congress.

Check out and sign up for their mailing list to keep up to date on issues facing our industry.

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