6 changes in LEED and the future of green cleaning

Later this year, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) members will be voting on six changes to LEED cleaning credits.
Thursday, October 14, 2021

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is ready to revise its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System, which has served as the roadmap to a comprehensive green cleaning program since 2002.

Later this year, USGBC members will be voting on the following six changes to LEED cleaning credits: 

Increasing the points of cleaning

The pandemic has taught us that cleaning is an essential mitigation strategy to protect building occupant health. The LEED technical team increased the number of possible green cleaning points from one to three to ensure a focus is kept on effective products and services that further reduce negative impacts on both human health and the environment.

Using technology to measure performance

LEED developed a new protocol for the routine measuring of surface contamination that provides objective, quantitative, and reliable results. This will require verification that facilities have tested high-risk/high-use spaces and high-touch surfaces, and will identify cleaning performance and suggest corrective actions.

Defining green disinfectants

While all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectants have been proven efficacious against specified pathogens, for a disinfectant to meet the new LEED requirements, it will have to be formulated with active ingredients identified by EPA’s Design for the Environment Logo for Antimicrobial Pesticide Products (e.g., hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, L-lactic acid, ethanol, isopropanol, and peroxyacetic acid).

Implementing UV-C disinfection

Not only are UV-C devices effective and increasingly being used in hospitals, but they also have the ability to eliminate or at least minimize some of the health and environmental concerns associated with the use of current chemical disinfectants. LEED is creating an option for these UV-C devices, which in turn could spark further innovations.

Extending green materials beyond recycling

While encouraging the use of recycled materials to reduce environmental impacts, LEED revisions will include additional options and clarifications to create opportunities for innovation, such as an option for plastic can liners that include 30 per cent resin (by weight) made of inorganic minerals, and options for paper that include agricultural waste and rapidly renewable fibres.

Earning green building accreditation through GBAC STAR

LEED is expanding the options to meet its Green Cleaning Prerequisite through programs such as the GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation. GBAC has added new requirements to the accreditation to align its requirements for cleaning products and equipment with LEED.

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