USGBC Files for ANSI Accreditation, Admits Professional and Trade Assns.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced on Aug. 9 that it has filed an application with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to become an ANSI-accredited national standards developer for standards related to green building practices.
“Since its beginnings more than a decade ago, USGBC has used a consensus process to develop the LEED Green Building Rating System,” commented USGBC president, CEO and founding chairman Rick Fedrizzi. “Becoming ANSI-accredited will underscore USGBC’s commitment to its core values, which include openness, inclusiveness and collaboration. It is also part of the continual improvement of USGBC.”
LEED, as most consulting engineers probably know by now, stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the USGBC’s chief program for accelerating the adoption of sustainable building practices.A voluntary, consensus-based rating system, LEED is intended to provided a certifiable basis for identifying buildings that represent leadership in the use of sustainable building practices and design. LEED aims to recognize the top 25% of building practices and reward those that are pushing the bar in the development of innovative and high-performing buildings.
In tandem with its ANSI filing, USGBC also announced an amendment to its bylaws to expand membership to include trade and professional associations.
“Opening our membership to professional and trade associations that represent different communities within our diverse industry will only strengthen our ability to lead the transformation of the built environment,” said Fedrizzi.“It allows us to more fully engage our long-time partners in green building, it gives us greater access to the knowledge and experience of those who make the materials used in buildings and it underscores our deep commitment to openness of new ideas, balance among interests and transparency in assessment and decision-making.”
The stakes are high, said Fedrizzi. For instance, in the U.S., buildings account for 36% of total annual energy use, 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, 30% of raw materials use and 12% of potable water consumption. Employing sustainable building practices can reduce the environmental impacts of buildings by conserving natural resources, reducing solid waste and improving air quality; provide economic benefits by reducing energy costs and water bills; and provide health and community benefits by improving productivity, enhancing comfort and health and reducing strain on local infrastructures.
“Americans spend 90% of our time indoors,” said Fedrizzi.“We should be doing all we can, as fast as we can, to make sure our interior environments are healthy places that enhance our own and our children’s ability to work, heal and learn. USGBC takes its leadership role in this effort seriously, and we feel these two initiatives will add to our momentum in moving the market forward.”