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Coalition opposes LEED v4 standards INDUSTRY NEWS


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ore than 25 US trade groups have banded together against LEED


v4 and formed the American High- Performance Buildings Coalition. The AHPBC includes the American Chemistry Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Vinyl Institute, the Vinyl Siding Institute, the Flexible Vinyl Alliance, the Society of the Plastics Industry and 20 other industry associations. It is lobbying the US General Services Association (GSA), which requires the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard for all US federal buildings, to choose the Green Globes standard instead. The latest battle in a 20-year conflict to establish a dominant green ratings system


is over the chemical and plastics industries’ objection to LEED’s proposed fourth- generation standard.


Known as LEED v4 and administered by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), it originally allowed buildings to score points for avoiding certain chemicals, such as polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. The AHPBC is against what is sees as ‘arbitrary chemical restrictions’ and claims LEED is ‘becoming a tool to punish chemical companies’. LEED v4 has now been changed to award credit only for using ‘good’ materials, not avoiding ‘bad’ ones. However, the AHPBC also claims LEED v4 is not ‘science-based’ and does not use a ‘true consensus approach’ to development. Among its concerns is a proposed credit


that encourages the use of materials that disclose chemical ingredients, and encourages builders to use products that don’t exceed a certain level of lead, mercury, carcinogens and other toxic substances. The USGBC’s Roger Platt, senior vice president of Global Policy and Law, said, “We welcome the announcement of the formation of the American High- Performance Building Coalition, but as Ronald Reagan once said, we will ‘trust but verify’. “If this coalition is sincere in its interest


to advance high-performance buildings over the status quo, we welcome them to the table and sincerely look forward to engaging together to make green buildings more valuable to Americans.”


Europe’s tallest tower completed


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he completion of the exterior of Western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, has been announced. Designed by architect Renzo Piano and


developed by Sellar Property, London’s Shard now stands 310m tall, with 95 storeys. The UK’s £430 million (US$ 675 million) tower is a mixed-use development and includes office space, residences, restaurants and the five-star Shangri-La Hotel. The building will also house the capital’s highest


public-viewing gallery and will be open to the public from 2013.


External work on The Shard, which at 310m is the tallest building in Western Europe, has reached completion in London


Fire safety in timber buildings T


he first Europe-wide technical guidelines on the fire-safe use of wood in buildings have been published by the SP


Technical Research Institute of Sweden. Entitled Fire safety in timber buildings, they come at a time when the use of renewable material in construction is


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continually rising, and are intended for architects, engineers, educators, regulatory authorities and the building industry. Written by members of the WoodWisdom-Net research project FireIn Timber, the guidelines can be ordered via the institute’s website: www.sp.se


September / October 2012


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