GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) joined the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) today as a signatory on a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) encouraging inclusion of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating Systems as an option for public building design and assessment.
LEED has been hugely successful in advancing sustainable principles and transforming the market using a voluntary, multi-attribute credit approach. It is the inherent flexibility of the multiple-credit, point-based structure that helps to make the rating system so effective.
Following the example of the LEED Rating Systems, various multi-attribute product standards have been created including the ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard and the associated level® Certification Program. The level® program is similar to LEED in awarding points for the identification, reduction and/or avoidance of acknowledged chemicals of concern, reductions in water and energy use, greenhouse gas generation, and advancements in many other sustainability attributes. While these voluntary programs need continuous improvement, they do provide a leadership approach to addressing the complexity of environmental impacts.
BIFMA strongly supports open, consensus standards development and favors the rigorous ANSI development criteria. While LEED standards are not ANSI approved, USGBC does utilize an open consensus process. To disregard LEED entirely due to criticism of single issues would sacrifice the benefits gained. BIFMA supports the inclusion of LEED as an option for public building design and assessment and we invite our members to adopt a similar position.
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