6 Changes in LEED and the Future of Green Cleaning

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) revises its Leadership in energy and environmental design Rating system (LEED). Since 2002, cleaning credits in LEED have served as a roadmap for a comprehensive green cleaning program, and the new revisions will continue to strengthen green building practices in the United States.

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

Increase the points (and value) of cleaning. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught that cleanup is a critical mitigation strategy to protect the health of building occupants, and the LEED tech team responded by increasing the number of possible green cleaning points from one to three. More points for greener products and services will lead to higher demand, as the focus remains on efficient products and services that further reduce negative impacts on human health and the environment.

Use technology to measure cleaning performance. The LEED Technical Committee has developed a new protocol for the routine measurement of surface contamination that provides objective, quantitative, reliable, reproducible and reportable results. The protocol will require verification that the facilities have tested high risk / high use spaces and high contact surfaces within these spaces. The protocol will also objectively identify cleaning performance and suggest corrective actions.
as justified.

Definition of green disinfectants. Obviously, disinfectants are important. All disinfectants registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been shown to be effective against specified pathogens. However, for a disinfectant to meet the new LEED requirements, it will need to be formulated with active ingredients identified by the EPA Design for the Environment logo for antimicrobial pesticide products (e.g., hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, L-lactic acid, ethanol, isopropanol and peroxyacetic acid).

Installation of ultraviolet C (UV-C) disinfection devices. UV-C devices are among the most interesting innovations in the cleaning industry. Not only are they effective and increasingly 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 spur other innovations, especially in smaller portable devices for disinfecting surfaces, such as electronics that could be damaged by disinfectants at water based.

Consider green materials beyond recycled content. While encouraging the use of recycled materials to reduce environmental impacts, LEED reviews will include additional options and clarifications to create opportunities for innovation. For example, they will detail an option for plastic can liners that include 30% resin (by weight) composed of inorganic minerals, and options for paper that include agricultural waste and rapidly renewable fibers.

Obtaining green building accreditation via GBAC STARMT. LEED is expanding options to meet its green cleaning prerequisites through programs such as the GBAC STAR ™ installations accreditation of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of the ISSA. The GBAC has added new accreditation requirements to align its cleaning product and equipment requirements with LEED.

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