Pilot-Credits PC2: PBT Source Reduction: Dioxins and Halogenated Organic Compounds

  • Explore alternatives to harmful products

    Note: This pilot credit was closed for new registrations as of March 1, 2012.

    Vallejo hospitalThe Kaiser rehabilitation center in Vallejo, California, uses Nora rubber flooring, which Kaiser adopted as its standard in 2004, replacing VCT. Nora flooring contains no PVC, plasticizers, or halogenated compounds, requires no maintenance coatings, is Greenguard certified, and is less slippery than VCT, potentially reducing patient falls. Photo – Kaiser Permanente The PBT Source Reduction pilot credit encourages project teams to explore alternatives to building products and materials that may contain ingredients that have a harmful effect on human health.  The credit specifically promotes alternatives assessment and avoidance of building products which contain certain halogenated compounds.

    Chemicals of concern

    Most of the chemicals and compounds listed in the PBT Source Reduction pilot credit have been identified by the U.S. EPA as chemicals of concern.  Project teams are encouraged to evaluate product alternatives and request specific information regarding use of chemical compounds listed in the credit from manufacturers.

    D&C rating systems

    This pilot credit is open via IDc1 to all projects using these LEED 2009 rating systems: NC, CS, CI, and Schools.

    Credit Submittals

    General:

    1. Register for Pilot Credit(s) here
    2. Register a username at LEEDuser.com, and participate in online forum
    3. Submit feedback survey; supply PDF of your survey/confirmation of completion with credit documentation

    Credit Specific:

    For each product selected that complies with the credit requirements or is used to dem-onstrate compliance, conduct and submit a multi-parameter alternative product analysis that includes at a minimum one (1) other product that serves the same function. 

    The multi-parameter alternative product analysis must include at least 4 parameters (in addition to absence of halogenated materials) associated with the product manufacture or service life The assumed length of time that a building, product, or assembly will be operational for the purposes of a life-cycle assessment.(for example but not limited to – global warming potential, water use, point of manufacture, ozone depleting potential, nonrenewable resource consumption, use of renewable energy during manufacture, durability) used to assess suitability of the product selected.

    Additional Questions

    • What other dioxins and halogenated organic compounds need to be included in this credit, or should there be an additional credit?
  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED Pilot Credit Library

    Pilot Credit 2: PBT Source Reduction: Dioxins and Halogenated Organic Compounds

    Intent

    To reduce the release of persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBTs) associated with the life cycle of building materials.

    Requirements

    • Use materials manufactured without added halogenated organic compounds1 for at least 75% (by cost) of the material totals in a minimum of three of the following four groups:
      • Exterior components (including at a minimum, roof membranes, waterproofing membranes, window and door frames, siding).
      • Interior finishes (including at a minimum, flooring, base, ceiling tiles, wall cover- ings, and window treatments).
      • Piping, conduit and electrical boxes.
      • Building-installed electrical cable and wire jacketing.
    • Halogenated organic compounds covered in this credit include the following:
      • All plastics containing chlorine or fluorine including:
        • Chlorinated polyethylene (CPE)
        • Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC)
        • Chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE)
        • Polychloroprene (CR or chloroprene rubber, also brand name Neoprene)
        • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
        • Fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP)
      • All brominated or halogenated flame retardants (BFRs and HFRs) containing bromine, chlorine, or fluorine including:
        • PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ether), including Deca-BDE (Decabromodi-phenyl ether)
        • Tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA)
        • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)
        • Tris(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP)
        • Tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP)
        • Dechlorane Plus
    • Compounds that constitute less than five percent of the product by weight, are ex- empt from complying with the credit requirements, with the exception of halogenated flame retardants (HFRs), including, but not limited to, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) which have no minimum threshold.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    While compounds representing less than 5% of the product weight are not required to comply with the credit requirements (with the exception of HFRs), specification and pro- curement of halogen-free minor parts is encouraged when meet or exceed performance requirements.

    Consider materials free of added chlorine or other halogens in all applications which meet or exceed performance requirements. Options of materials with reduced PBTs include, but are not limited to, TPO, FPO, EPDM, and ABB or SBS modified bitumen for roof membranes; natural linoleum, rubber, or alternate polymers for flooring and surfacing; natural fibers, polyethylene, polyester and paint for wall covering; polyethylene for wire & cable jacketing; wood, fiberglass, HDPE, and aluminum with thermal breaks for windows; steel, HDPE and fiberglass for conduit; and copper, steel, concrete, clay, polypropylene and HDPE for piping. Cast iron pipe should be avoided based on air quality concerns associated with manufacturing practices (see TSAC PVC report).

    Confirm that halogenated flame retardants are not added to alternative plastic products. The fire retardant attributes of halogenated compounds should be replaced with inherently fire retardant design or alternative materials appropriate to the fire requirements of the product.

    FOOTNOTES

    1. Halogenated organic compounds (or halocarbons) addressed by this credit are made up of a halogen element (specifically chlorine, bromine or fluorine) and carbon. These compounds are targeted due to their persistence and propensity to dioxin formation. Halogen salts, such as sodium chloride, which are formed with metals instead of carbon have different environmental and health performance characteristics and are not under the purview of this credit.

Organizations

LEED Pilot Credit Library

The homepage for the LEED Pilot Credit Library. The LEED Pilot Credit Library is intended to facilitate the introduction of new prerequisites and credits to LEED. This process will allow USGBC to test and refine credits through LEED 2009 project evaluations before they are sent through the balloting process for introduction into LEED.

Articles

Foundations of LEED

Background for the LEED Pilot Credit Library is provided in this foundational document.

20 Comments

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Sarah Buffaloe Specialist, LEED US Green Building Council
Jan 04 2012
Guest
539 Thumbs Up

Webinar From USGBC

I wanted to let you all know the webinar "LEED Innovation & Pilot Credits: Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern" is being offered March 15 2102 at 1:00pm EST . You can find more information and register on the USGBC website page: http://usgbc.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=10496

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David Weimann Regional Sales Director Americas SCHOTT Glass
Oct 07 2011
Guest
321 Thumbs Up

Glass Piping

Dear Brendan,
note my comment from June of this year. When is the next review of the credit and when will it be updated to include glass piping? Thank you.

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 14 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Hi David,

Great suggestion to include that glass piping as a "Potential Technology and Strategy" item. I suspect that updating that section of the credit language is not a high priority for LEED staff (the list of tasks on their plate is truly daunting!), as it just advisory, and not part of the formal requirements. By posting the suggestion here you've pretty much done the job--project teams attempting this credit will now see it as a potential technology. 

I'd also suggest tracking the LEED 2012 drafts as they evolve, because those show how the LEED committees and staff see these Pilot credits moving into the core rating system (or not).

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David Weimann Regional Sales Director Americas SCHOTT Glass
Jun 24 2011
Guest
321 Thumbs Up

Additions to Credit Language

Hi Brendan,
pilot credit 2 obviously correlates with Green Guide for Healthcare EP Credit 3.1-3.5 "Toxic Chemicals Reduction". However, there is a glaring omission in your copy of the GGHC "Potential Technologies & Strategies" and that is the use of borosilicate glass as a piping material. It is one of the most commonly used (esp in chemical waste drainage systems) and sustainable options and has been around for well over 40 years. The GGHC has added borosilicate glass to their list of environmentally preferable materials, see page 298 here: http://www.gghc.org/documents/Version2.2/GGHC-v2-2-Ops-08Rev.pdf
We trust that the LEED credit language will be adopted accordingly to give users a full set of sustainable options. Thank you, Dave

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Jeff Gearhart Ecology Center
Mar 24 2011
Guest
77 Thumbs Up

Multi-parameter alternative product analysis

We are pursuing this credit for a CI project. Interested in any further guidance on "multi-parameter alternative product analysis". I have done and seen a variety of alternatives assessments, some of which are massive projects themselves. Can we find a happy medium in terms of the level of detail in the alternative assessment?

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Whit Faulconer Director – LEED Technical Development, USGBC Apr 01 2011 Guest 363 Thumbs Up

Jeff,
I'm thinking if you use an approach to evaluating product alternatives that is similar to how The Natural Step outlines their precautionary approach, that's going to exhibit the detail you need, maybe more.

http://www.naturalstep.org/en/abcd-process

This should not be confused with an alternatives assessment like CleanProduction.org's Green Screen. That's manufacturer level work that will make your head spin.

I think a reasonable effort to describe and evaluate the alternatives you have, and their advantages and disadvantages as you see them will suffice. We want to know the choices you are forced to consider. There are real world conditions that sometimes make the optimal choice problematic. We are interested in capturing that detail maybe even more than the technical or scientific comparisons.

I'll have a couple other people verify that what I'm saying to you is accurate. But I wanted to make we responded to you. Thanks -whit

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Alejandra Feliciano LEED AP BD+C Architects Smith Metzger
Jan 11 2011
Guest
594 Thumbs Up

Clarification

Hello! I just want a very general clarification on the submittal requirements for this credit. Specifically, I'd like clarificaiton on the meaning of 'multi-parameter alternative product analysis'. Does this mean you need to submit a matrix of your current project products that comply with this credit and compare them to a made up 'baseline' product that would not comply?

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Brendan Owens, LEED Fellow Chief of Engineering, USGBC Jan 11 2011 LEEDuser Expert 1151 Thumbs Up

Alejandra -

Not necessarily. In addition to understanding how project teams evaluate and select materials that comply with the requirements, we're also interested in the attributes that are being assessed to determine when a product that does not comply is, in the view of the project team members, deemed better on the whole. Basically, what are the attributes you use to select a product in addition to an assessment of its PBT content?

The development of a “made up” baseline is one way to do it but, in the interest of learning as much as we can from your expertise and experience, we’d much rather see a comprehensive and valid alternatives assessment of equally suitable materials. Ideally, the assessment would be consistent across the product alternatives and you would explain the rationale behind your decision and where you got the data from.

Does that help?

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Abena Darden Project Director, Thornton Tomasetti / Sustainability Jan 11 2011 LEEDuser Member 4641 Thumbs Up

Thanks Brendan. I've also been wondering about this also. Sounds like a simple matrix listing and comparing the products using four selected life cycle attributes (e.g., durability, ease of maintenance, low carbon impact, bio-based materials, etc.) would be enough to address the multi-parameter analysis. BG-Pharos would be an excellent resource. Anything else?

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Alejandra Feliciano LEED AP BD+C, Architects Smith Metzger Jan 11 2011 Guest 594 Thumbs Up

Thanks Brendan and Marian! Marian, could you post a link to this BG-Pharos resource?

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Abena Darden Project Director, Thornton Tomasetti / Sustainability Jan 11 2011 LEEDuser Member 4641 Thumbs Up

Here's the BG article:
http://www.buildinggreen.com/live/index.cfm/2010/11/30/Specifying-Green-...

And the website (It's actually GreenSpec-Pharos):
http://www.greenspecpharos.com/

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Brendan Owens, LEED Fellow Chief of Engineering USGBC
Aug 20 2010
LEEDuser Expert
1151 Thumbs Up

pilot credits - we need your help!

Hi LEEDusers -

The idea behind pilot credits is to get feedback from project team members on the concepts we're testing so that USGBC can learn from your experience and make these credits better (so that you can make your buildings better, so that we can learn from that, so that we can make LEED better, so that you can make your buildings better...).

We can't do it without you so get on with it already.

Spread the word to friends and colleagues and if we run in to each other at Greenbuild, I'll buy you a beer!

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Yong Lee Low ESD Consultancy ZEB-Technology Pte Ltd
Aug 04 2010
LEEDuser Member
2492 Thumbs Up

Pilot credit Availability

Currently, I am able to score 2 to 3 points under innovation through Exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. at possible places. Apart from that Under Path 1, I am aiming to claim a point for innovation in design by the use of Big Ass Fans in our design and corresponding computation of energy savings per annum to support my design. So out of maximum possible points of total 5, i would score 3 to 4 points via path 1 and 2. Can I still aim to score the rest of the points through Path 3, which is through one/ two of the pilot credit? Also, to the bottom of this page http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=2104 , i find that its specified as "Pilot Credits Closed for Project Use. The following credits have received sufficient project feedback and are no longer available for testing" .so, I would like to know, if still the pilot credits are open for claiming the points, if taken an effort to execute in the project. Thanks.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 05 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

There is a section of that page that is reserved for closed pilot credits, but it says "There are currently no pilot credits closed for project use." All of the pilot credits listed there and here on our site are available, and you can earn up to one point for your project pursuing one.

I am doubtful that you could earn a point through IDc1 for using a Big Ass Fan, though. Check out our guidance on the IDc1 page for more about this, but it doesn't seem like a comprehensive solution, and energy savings are already addressed through EAc1.

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Abena Darden Project Director Thornton Tomasetti / Sustainability
Jul 13 2010
LEEDuser Member
4641 Thumbs Up

Successful PBT avoidance

I would be interested in knowing if any LEEDUser out there has had a project successfully earn the PBT avoidance credit. What were the challenges and barriers? How knowledgeable were the reviewers? Given the energy with which manufacturers have long impeded the progress of such a credit, I can't see this credit ever getting successfully balloted. Also, you may have heard about the recent study showing the hefty weighting imbalance of energy efficiency strategies over human health protection: http://www.ehhi.org/reports/leed/LEED_report_0510.pdf
Thoughts? Marian

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, LEED Fellow, HOK Jul 14 2010 LEEDuser Member 9916 Thumbs Up

The pilot credits are relatively new, and the PBT credit is one that takes a lot of planning -- I would be surprised if any projects have gone through the full process on this one, unless they're really small. This credit grew out of Green Guide for Healthcare credit MRc4.1 PBT Elimination: Dioxins, for which many projects vetted the plastics issues. The biggest challenges I faced with the GGHC credit were the availability of acceptable, high performing alternatives and, where alternatives do exist, the added cost. (Of course, there are also many relatively easy, cost neutral alternatives that we should always consider.)

Unlike the GGHC credit, however, the LEED credit also includes flame retardants. I think this will be a farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). greater challenge than plastics, given the regulatory challenges (especially in California) and the need to avoid polystyrene insulation.

Also unlike the GGBC credit, the LEED credit requirement is based on a percentage of total material cost. This completely changes the all or nothing nature of the GGHC credit, and it puts emphasis on the relative costs of different types of building materials. For example, if PVC pipe is relatively cheap, then we're less likely to seek an alternative.

I see this as a very important, albeit difficult, credit and am looking forward to seeing its future direction. Unfortunately, though, I don't currently have a LEED 2009 project for which it's well suited.

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Abena Darden Project Director, Thornton Tomasetti / Sustainability Jul 14 2010 LEEDuser Member 4641 Thumbs Up

Yes, indeed it's a challenge; I've been involved with the PVC issue for many years now and would like to see some significant changes. As well, I am very aware of alternative materials, so that's not the main barrier from my perspective, I know the mechanics. I'd like to know what GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).'s responses to this credit submittal have been (see my previous post). I have to wonder how farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). the reach is of industry influence (controversial statement). PVC avoidance has been around, actually, for awhile and there are a couple of great international models for this type of credit we could mirror--Australia's GreenStar, for example. PBT avoidance, globally, has EU models, but these were generated by policy changes that would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to enact or adopt in the US. Sorry for the soapbox--fitting that this is Bastille Day, eh? Again, it would be great to hear of some projects, no matter how small (we have many) that have successfully maneuvered the GBCI review process for this pilot credit.

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, LEED Fellow, HOK Jul 14 2010 LEEDuser Member 9916 Thumbs Up

Agreed. I am especially interested in seeing how teams balance different material options for the cost calculation, especially with respect to fire retardants. (As you say, we know a lot more about PVC avoidance.)

Other than very small projects, I think it will be a while before we hear back from project teams who have fully completed this.

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Abena Darden Project Director, Thornton Tomasetti / Sustainability Jul 14 2010 LEEDuser Member 4641 Thumbs Up

Thanks Mara-I'll keep my eyes peeled......

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 20 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Marian, I carefully reviewed the EHHI study and talked with several of the players, and wrote an article, New Report Criticizes LEED on Public Health Issues, on BuildingGreen.com (a sister site to LEEDuser).

I think it puts the report in context. Please let me know if you have any thoughts.

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