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Green: Red List Building Materials and Living Building Challenge

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Judhajit Chakraborty, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP WSP Built Ecology

First of all, I wish all the readers and members of AIA East Bay a very happy and prosperous 2016.

“Monumental Green,” the theme of Greenbuild 2015 held at Washington D.C. paid a lot of emphasis on the environmental impact of materials on buildings and building environmental standards like WELL, SITES, Living Building Challenge (LBC), PEER and I am going to write about Red List building materials and how LBC has been leading the way in material disclosure and transparency.

Red List Materials, as the name suggests, are materials that contain chemicals that have been labeled as harmful and detrimental to living creatures, including humans and/or the environment. These lists have primarily been developed by green building rating system developers and some big architecture firms like Perkins and Will. These lists are typically developed from chemical hazard lists published by several government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), European Union Commission on Environment, and the California Department of Toxic Substances 5 green 1

Of all the environmental building standards that prohibit red list materials in any building project, the LBC has been more rigorous in implementing this and has developed their own Living Building Challenge Red List. Following is the LBC’s Red List materials which are banned from any project adhering to LBC certification:

■ Alkylphenols
■ Asbestos
■ Bisphenol A
■ Cadmium
■ Chlorinated polyethylene and chlorosulfonated polyethlene (CSPE); HDPE and LDPE are
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
■ Chlorobenzenes
■ Chloroprene
■ Chromium VI
■ Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride
■ Formaldehyde (added)
■ halogenated flame retardants (HFRs)
■ Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
■ Lead (added)
■ Mercury
■ Polychlorinated biphenyls
■ Perfluorinated compound
■ Phthalates
■ Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
■ Polyvinylidene chloride
■ Short Chain Chlorinated paraffin
■ Wood treatments containing creosote, arsenic or pentachlorophenol
■ Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in wet applied products

Following the development of this list, LBC developed the DECLARE product labeling program and includes a database of materials which are LBC compliant. Here is the database.