Decoding Design

What does the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition stand for?

What does the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition stand for?

Posting in Architecture

The APHBC claims to be an organization committed to promoting performance-based energy efficiency and sustainable building standards. Is it really?

Last week a new green building organization was formed. You might have missed the announcement, which is fine, because the general public isn't really the target audience. So whom or what is the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition (AHPBC) trying to reach?

According to their website, the APHBC

is composed of leading organizations representing a range of products and materials relevant to the building and construction industry who are committed to promoting performance-based energy efficiency and sustainable building standards. We support the development of green building standards through consensus-based processes derived from data and performance-driven criteria.

It's a fairly innocuous, possibly admirable mission statement. But Lloyd Alter of Treehugger points out that the "leading organizations of the building and construction industry" include many plastics and chemical companies. Some of those companies wrote and delivered letters questioning the new LEED rating system (LEED v4) to the U.S. Congress. Why? Maybe because the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is the country's largest user of the LEED system.

Better green building standards, the companies say, should be science and consensus based. However, the real objection might be over the addition of the "Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern Credit" and Paula Melton for BuildingGreen does a nice job of dissecting the arguments.

Of the many criticisms, (e.g. that the credit will hurt the economy and kill jobs, that the credit will eliminate certain materials from LEED buildings) the most ridiculous is that the credit will reduce energy efficiency. LEED may be imperfect as a rating system, but it is based on rewarding the use of energy efficient and sustainable materials, not banning harmful ones. If anything, LEED should be banning harmful materials to be more performance based.

Is the AHPBC anything more than a lobbying group hiding behind greenwash?

Via: Treehugger, BuildingGreen

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure