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Upcoming IgCC Final Action Hearings proposals in Chapter 5 relating to materials address an approach called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
October 31, 2011
11:55 pm
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robert emery
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Conarb,

Welcome to the green room.

Conarb is one of the most knowledgeable and well read persons your going to meet conserning these Chemical company products.  He has posted numerous articles and links to world wide information on these products; in the archives here and many other forums.

The Chemical companies helped form and provide financial backing to many of these so called green and/or energy "non-profit" organizations and PACs (political action committees).  It is the Chemical product producers who are pushing the passage of IgCC; not the vast majority of Code Professionals; and unfortunately they will get what they paid for.

Uncle Bob 

October 31, 2011
10:52 pm
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richard seibert
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Linda Kinkaid is an Industrial Hygeniest who I use to test materials for toxic vhemicals before I incorporate them into buildings:

People assume that green buildings are safe homes. However, a report just released finds many deficiencies in the LEED program. The greatest failings are in the area of protecting the health of occupants.

The report states:  The rise in childhood asthma, beginning in the early 1980s, has paralleled an increase in energy efficiency of buildings, and data suggest that increased chemical exposure in indoor environments may be the reason. Greater insulation, less ventilation, and a huge increase in new chemicals and products, within new buildings, collectively induce chemical exposures and potential health effects never previously experienced in human history.

LEED Certification: Where Energy Efficiency Collides with Human Health was just released by Connecticut-based Environment & Human Health, Inc. Not only does the report find that LEED does not guarantee a healthy building, but LEED buildings may be less healthy than conventional buildings.

Quoting from the report:  Thus, only 7 out of a possible 110 points have the primary intent to limit hazardous chemicals within the built environment. Since the highest building rating possible only requires a total score of 80 points, LEED certification is possible, even at the highest “platinum” level, without earning credits in the indoor air category, the category most likely to protect human health.

In the Bay Area, we see the same issue with GreenPoint Rated homes. Just like LEED, GreenPoint Rated fails to adequately address chemical exposures in homes. GreenPoint Rated homes in the Bay Area tend to have higher formaldehyde concentration than conventional homes. People living in those homes will likely experience more respiratory illnesses.

Unfortunately, many cities now require GreenPoint Rated. Los Altos was the first, and all new Los Altos homes are GreenPoint Rated. Data show those homes have elevated formaldehyde.

San Jose followed with its own green building ordinance, against the recommendations of numerous indoor air quality professionals. Starting this year, new San Jose homes can be expected to have dramatically elevated formaldehyde, as is found in Los Altos.

Our local governments need to carefully examine the merits of the private certification programs they require. Without proper caution, “green homes” can easily be “sick homes”.


Continue reading on Examiner.com New report finds LEED buildings can be unhealthy - San Jose Environmental Health | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/enviro.....z1cPuJqfcw
¹

The California Green Code now has a 14-day air purging requirement prior to final inspection, all it clears out are the toxic gasses from the paints, the chemicals embedded in caulkings, foams, OSB, particleboard etc. take years, if ever, to clear out.  The air exchange systems are so expensive to run that people are disconnecting them exposing themselves to the toxic chemicals. 

Here is a case I had several months ago where a contractor installed windpows in 2 of the 5 apartment units, the windows were installed with caulking and styrofoam, when I got there mushrooms were growing out of the styrofoam around the windows, the case settled last week for $37,500 + costs, no personal injuries to go for the millions since I immediately had the tenants relocated.

http://www.dickseibert.com/rrp.....index.html

Codes are supposed to be about protecting the health and safety of the public, not advancing social agenda or selling and/or mandating building products.

 

 

 

 

 

¹ http://www.examiner.com/enviro.....-unhealthy

 

 

October 31, 2011
9:39 pm
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robert emery
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Rob,

Save energy by manufacturing toxic, hazardous materials and force us to allow their use through Federal Government mandated "green energy" code requirements.

I'm game; from one your "Green Building" friends, Alex Wilson;

Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. He also writes the weekly Energy Solutions blog and contributes to the weekly blog BuildingGreen's Product of the Week, which profiles interesting new green building products.

"Extruded polystyrene, such as this Owens Corning Foamular, is widely used as foundation insulation. The flame retardant (HBCD) used in all polystyrene building insulation is being banned by the European Union.  HBCD is used in all polystyrene building insulation--both extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS).

(click this link for the full story)  

http://www.buildinggreen.com/l.....nned-by-EU 

Chemist and EBN Advisory Board member Arlene Blum, Ph.D., a leading expert on health and environmental hazards of halogenated flame retardants, is pleased with the ruling. “HBCD is clearly a bad actor chemical and the EU ban should contribute to its being phased out in the U.S.

Cities across the U. S. (too numerous to list here); just google "Polystyrene banned"; are banning Polystyrene packaging and other products like cups.  Landfills are also banning Polystyrene.  And, the polystyrene building materials will be next; but, too late; because millions of homes and commercial buildings will already be filled with the toxic carcinogens.

Chemical corporations are using the "green energy" frenzy to sell harmful, hazardous products; that we will have to deal with "later".  Ok, we are losing cool cup sells and poly packaging products; lets form it into bigger sheets and sell it as building materials.  It should take the U. S. about 15 to 20 years to get around to banning it here.

These products are not being banned because they safe energy; they are being banned because they are harmful to humans, animals, and the envorionment.

They are not banning real wood products.  Here's a different idea; take all the millions of phone books that are produced and dropped on our doorstep several times a year; and stack them in the exterior walls of all new buildings.  Not only good insulation; but, also bullet proof.

Uncle Bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 31, 2011
5:37 pm
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rob krebs
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If we are publshing websites for our code officials to review, let's look as some that might be more concensus sources: like URLs with .gov in them, like http://www.nrel.gov/lci/.

he information you want, Uncle Bob, is right there on the page referenced in our first post, which of course was reviewed with an open mind (http://www.greenbuildingsoluti.....ns.org/lca).

 

Specifically see this link, Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory of Nine Plastic Resins and Two Polyurethane Precursors. There you will find the Life Cycle Inventory Data (LCI) for PVC, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), Polypropylene (PP), and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS), High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), and data on polyurethanes. This data is key to completing the full LCA of products.

 

You asked for scientific objective, publicly accessible, reviewed Life Cycle Data…you got it.

 

Plus Uncle Bob, the data is available within the U.S. Life Cycle Assessment Database assembled by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (http://www.nrel.gov/lci/). It’s a help to not get side-tracked and understand how efficient building materials can be and how much additional energy they can save during the life of a building, because of corrosion resistance and the thermal break they provide, and, plus, then at the end-of-life how much energy they embody to generate additional energy in waste to recovery.

 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL http://www.nrel.gov/overview) is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development (R&D). NREL states: “We make decisions concerning the environment every day, and many of these decisions are based on incomplete, inconsistent, and flawed information. LCA provides a holistic evaluation methodology and a consistent framework for making better-informed decisions. Life cycle inventory (LCI) data are the primary inputs for conducting LCA studies. Studies based on high-quality data that are consistent, accurate, and relevant allow for robust, defensible, and meaningful results.” National Renewable Energy Laboratory. That is from an American National Laboratory, not a site with a one-sided slant.

 

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation can return up to 200 times the amount of energy required to produce it, and reduce emissions by up to 100 times the volume produced during the manufacturing process.  The environmental profile summarizing this life cycle report can be found on the Expanded Polystyrene Molders Association (EPSMA) website – link is  http://www.epsmolders.org/PDF_.....ochure.pdf.

 

This data is public, accessible and robust, high-quality, peer examined environmental data collected under the ISO 14040 standards for LCA and can be very helpful to builders, engineers and designers compare real industry data and assess real impacts of their materials on the environment. This is not an NGO website link this is US laboratory life cycle data.

 

This effort compiles environmental impacts in a standards regulated format, so objective comparisons can be facilitated. It is welcomed, thoughtful, information for today’s buildings and our children’s-children’s buildings.

 

D'Lane Wisner

American Chemistry Council

Building and Construction Team

 

October 25, 2011
3:34 pm
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robert emery
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Dear Rita,

Thanks for the wonderful letter.  I believe everyone would love to see an example of your organization's work.

Could you post your organization's Life Cycle Assessment for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastic pipe used in plumbing throughout the United States?

and, your Life Cycle Assessment of Styrofoam (Polystyrene) used in construction of homes and commercial buildings?

Looking forward to reading your report,

Uncle Bob

October 25, 2011
12:49 pm
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rob krebs
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Dear Code Officials:

I am the Secretary for the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment, the professional society for Life cycle Assessment in the U.S.

 

Life Cycle Assessment is the science of measuring the environmental impact of products and services. The first LCA was published in 1969, and LCA degrees are now available in universities around the world. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of LCA studies have been performed in the last 40 years, with the annual number increasing every year. ACLCA provides a certification for LCA professionals, similar to the PE certification. LCA is imbedded in many environmental laws and regulations around the world. LCA practice is standardized through ISO standards (the ISO 14040 series) and there are also many other LCA standards to be found in both European (CEN) and American (ASTM) standardization bodies. Standardization around buildings and construction especially provides a rich documentation of LCA practice.

 

The value of life cycle assessment is that it is a systems analysis tool that covers the full range of environmental impacts over the life cycle of the product, from cradle to grave. There is no other environmental assessment tool that has this broad scope: it permits one to assure that improving environmental performance in one part of the product life cycle does not cause environmental degradation elsewhere.

 

Recently, the use of LCA for ecolabels has become quite popular. For example, product carbon footprints are becoming commonplace. A carbon footprint is an LCA that only looks at climate change issues. More generally, environmental product declarations (EPDs) are LCA based ecolabels that cover the full range of relevant environmental issues. The French government has passed a law that will require EPDs on every consumer product sold in France. The European Commission shows every intention of following the French approach. Literally millions of LCAs will need to be performed to meet these legal requirements. EPDs provide purchasers with the information they need to make an informed, holistic environmental choice.

 

In summary, LCA is an environmental systems analysis tool that has been developed over decades. The level of professionalism in the field is rising, and the use of LCA in ecolabeling programs is becoming commonplace.

 

Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

 

Regards,

 

 

Rita Schenck, Ph.D. LCACP

Secretary, ACLCA

American Center for Life Cycle Assessment

Institute for Environmental Research and Education

PO Box 2449 Vashon WA 98070

 Phone: 206-463-7430

lcacenter.org

 

 

 

 

 

October 21, 2011
11:31 am
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richard seibert
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It seems to me that any life-cycle or "sustainability" issues should be more concerned about the sustainability of the buildings themselves instead of some misguided "save the planet" BS.  An example is buildings made from "modern materials" rotting out in a few years.

Alkasabi paid $1.6 million for one Seahaus in 2005 and $1.567 million for another in 2006. He planned to sell the second, or rent it out. But he'd have to tell buyers and tenants that he's seen cracks and slumping patios, that the extent of the wood beam damage is unknown but could be reaching throughout the entire complex, he said.

Not exactly the kind of detail that instills confidence and security into the hearts of wary buyers in this market.

It's not unusual for new condo owners to sue their developers for construction defects like leaky windows and electrical wiring issues. Seahaus owners make those allegations here, too. But what makes this litigation unusual is that these homeowners are talking about the safety and soundness of their homes' skeleton.

And the questions about that safety and soundness aren't easily answered. Finding the answers involves opening the walls of the complex.

Instead of sawn wood or steel beams, Seahaus's skeleton is made of "parallel strand lumber" beams -- long strands of wood from small trees glued together to make beams. The homeowners' lawsuits allege that the developers knew the rainy winter of 2005 was exposing the buildings' frames to rain, that they knew the beams could become an unglued mushy mess.

"They told me everything was going to be top-of-the-line, it was going to be nice, it was going to be great," Alkasabi said. "But this place is full of nightmares."

Alkasabi said he was told before he bought that the structure would be framed with steel beams, not the strand lumber. The condos would be soundproof and top-of-the-line, he said.

Alkasabi said he's seen mushrooms grow out of stucco because of moisture inside. He refuses to walk under certain corridors. Inspectors found three colors of mold growing in his living room wall, he said.

When he complained about a construction issue in one of his units, he said, the developers quickly planted a palm tree squarely in front of his view.¹

Moderator:  When are we going to be able to utilize UBB Code here? It looks terrible above not to be able to embed quotations.

 

 

¹ http://www.voiceofsandiego.org.....xam-oregon rticle_8a26ee30-7da9-11df-9cd4-001cc4c03286.html

 

 

October 21, 2011
10:06 am
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sam francis
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The American Wood Council, an association of producers of wood and wood products for construction believes LCA affords a good option to the prescriptive requirements of Chapter 5 in the IgCC.  Concepts like Recycled, Regional (called indigenous in the IgCC), Renewable (called biobased in the IgCC) and Reused (called salvaged in the IgCC) exist because it is assumed that they result in more efficient use of energy and resources.  For any material other than wood, there is no correlation between compliance and sustainability.  Wood has a requirement to conform to one of several internationally recognized  standards regarding sustainable forestry practices.

So how does LCA produce better results?  It involves examining the expenditures of energy and resources to aquire, transform, deliver and install a material or product.  See this link for more information: 

http://heating-oil-tank-hot-exam-oregon wc.org/pdf/support_gg400.pdf

 

Sam Francis

October 21, 2011
9:29 am
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robert emery
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Just so you know,

The American Chemical Coucil; which is the sponser of the above proposals; is an organization of chemical manufacturers who are using the government (Department of Energy), the ICC and the IgCC; to sell and force people to buy their products.

When you go to the linked webpage; scroll to the bottom and click on American Chemistry Council Inc.; at the top right put mouse pointer over ABOUT, and click on MEMBERS LIST; and make up your own mind.

How many millions of dollars do the these huge corporations have, to "encourage" the ICC to promote and to force us to buy their products through requirements in the IgCC and IECC?

As a plumber for over 30 years; I've worked in a lot of sewage; but, ------ no I won't say it.

Uncle Bob

October 19, 2011
5:04 pm
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rob krebs
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At the upcoming International Green Construction Code (IgCC) Final Action Hearings (Phoenix, November 2-6), a number of proposals in Chapter 5 relating to materials will address an important approach called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). We would like to provide you with some information about this concept and ask you to support the use of Life Cycle Assessment in construction codes.

A Life Cycle Assessment provides comprehensive, balanced, quantified data about a product’s environmental impacts.

 

 

A Life Cycle Assessment is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate a product's environmental attributes based on comprehensive analysis of life cycle impacts and transparent data.

 

Clear, credible information on environmental impacts of materials is critical for enabling decision makers to make the best possible decisions. For more information, please visit: http://www.greenbuildingsoluti.....ns.org/lca, or contact me for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rita Schenck

Executive Director

Institute for Environmental Research and Education

(206) 463-7430

rita@iere.org

 

 

 

 

Keith Christman

Managing Director of Plastics Markets

American Chemistry Council

(202) 249-6610

keith_christman@americanchemistry.com