W. Elliot Horner, PhD, FAAAI, LEED AP -USGBC – Lawsuit Update

Air Date: 4-15-2011|Episode 205

This week Dr. Elliot Horner returns to IAQ Radio to help us as we update listeners and continue our discussion of lawsuit filed at the end of 2010 against the USGBC and their LEED program. ..

Full Description:

This week Dr. Elliot Horner returns to IAQ Radio to help us as we update listeners and continue our discussion of lawsuit filed at the end of 2010 against the USGBC and their LEED program. We had the driving force behind the lawsuit Mr. Henry Gifford on in November to present his reasons for filing the lawsuit and Dr. Horner has agreed to come on and continue the discussion. Dr. Horner is the laboratory director and a principle consultant for Air Quality Sciences. He has a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, an M.S. in mycology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse also a Fellow of the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Immunology and a LEED AP.


Z-Man’s Blog:

Elliot Steps Up

With the understanding that he was speaking for himself and not his firm (AQS), Dr. Elliot Horner agreed to take on the subject of USGBC’s LEED program and its critics on today’s episode of IAQradio. An advocate of the program, Elliot’s bio has the letters LEED AP after his name along with FAAAI and PhD. Elliot is a glass half full kind of guy, who feels that the LEED building has both warts and merit. Dr. Horner’s interest in LEED is in the IAQ aspects of the program, indoor emissions in particular.

Nuggets gleaned from today’s show:

· LEED “APs”, accredited professional that have demonstrated a level of understanding of building systems. APs will in the future be required to become practitioners. LEED seemingly provides economic opportunity by awarding LED points for projects coordinated by “APs”

· LEED awards points for on the following factors: energy, water, site, materials/resources and IAQ. Like most of the IAQradio audience, I was surprised to learn that competition for allowable points existed with the LEED point system. Elliot opined that IAQ isn’t getting the respect that it deserves and expressed disappointment that in the revision to the LEED rating system, points allowable for IAQ went down.

· LEED currently encourages between design and greater efficiency, in the future Dr. Horner wishes for more emphasis on IAQ

· On the challenges of obtaining consensus in LEED and standards writing activities, consensus is when the fewest number of people finding an issue to be highly objectionable.

· Point chasing- engineers are interested in activities or design functions that obtain LEED points, these design features and functions may be counterproductive not provide a benefit and even have adverse consequences and still qualify for points.

· In science there needs to be an agreement on terms. There is major inconsistency in the use of the term green. Sustainable is a less ambiguous than green. When there isn’t an agreement on terminology, the next best thing is for people to state what they mean by it when they use the term green.

· Great comment by a listener, who suggested that the Department of Energy and the EPA perform a baseline study on LEED buildings.

· IAQ award points on VOCs are for reducing the content of VOCs in building materials not emissions from materials. Reduction of VOC content in materials is beneficial to outdoor air, reduction in emissions is benefits indoor air.

· If it survives? Dr. Horner seemed genuinely concerned about the survivability of the program. LEED is a work in progress. Offered a wonderful analogy: “ there is a horse with a broken leg, Henry Gifford wants to get a rifle and I want to call a veterinarian.”

· Horner does agree with Gifford that direct measurements of energy consumption is preferred over estimated energy savings, that similar buildings should be pooled together for study, that comparison of median to average is fuzzy math.

“U.S. Green Building Council The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.” What’s this all about?

A Mini Z-Man Rant- I’m speaking for myself, not IAQradio and our sponsors. “MUS” is an acronym I coined for made up stuff and/or made up science. MUS irritates me. My definition of GREEN is the indication of spoilage and decay of our society. I know that along with opportunity comes opportunism. Something stinks and is rotten about tax breaks for energy efficiency buildings that may be energy efficient on paper but not in practice. Tax rebates for overpriced under efficient hybrid cars, when in 2009 and 2010 the most fuel efficient vehicles were turbo diesels. Financial incentives given for supposed energy efficiency design features that result in negative effects and consequences. Government mandated use of green products that cost too much and perform too little. A great minority of people in politics and government ever held a job or owned a business and yet they are confident that they somehow know what’s best for us? Look at CFL light bulbs, why can’t our government admit they don’t function well in many applications and reverse their decision? I opine and predict that LEED is considered by many, too big to allow to fail.

Dr. Horner handled the interview with a great deal of class and grace.

Today’s music: When I Get To The Green Building By Electric Six and a very cool new musical find– Green Song By Shawna Coronado with Ricky Rolon

Listeners of the Christian persuasion: our best wishes for a Glorious Easter or a Joyous Passover!

Z-Man Signing Off