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Sustainability

Are LEED buildings filled with toxic air?

June 10, 2010
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NEW YORK — A new report from the nonprofit group Environment & Human Health Inc. (EHHI) argues that the U.S. Green Building Council''s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, which is of course intended to promote energy efficiency, is in fact resulting in buildings filled with "unhealthy" air, according to The Infrastructuralist.
The reason, the study claims, is that the LEED system favors said energy efficiency over indoor air quality.
Many corporations and businesses have adopted LEED standards quickly and painlessly, without necessarily understanding that the tactics used for energy conservation have a side effect: They often reduce the exchange of indoor and outdoor air within a building, which can cause synthetic chemicals to become concentrated inside, the article stated.
According to an EHHI press release, EHHI is especially concerned that the LEED program is now providing the false impression that the buildings it certifies protect human health. LEED''s highest rating, Platinum, is attainable without earning any credits for indoor air quality protection.
"Although LEED has effectively encouraged energy efficiency in buildings, tighter buildings often concentrate chemicals released from building materials, cleaning supplies, fuel combustion, pesticides and other hazardous substances," said John Wargo and professor of Risk Analysis and Environmental Policy at Yale.
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