LEED, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), and Pesticides
John Wargo, professor of environmental policy, risk analysis, and political science at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, makes a good point with relation to IAQ:
“One of LEED’s major accomplishments — saving energy by making buildings more airtight — has had the paradoxical effect of more effectively trapping the gases emitted by the unprecedented number of chemicals used in today’s building materials and furnishings…..”
Wargo, J., environment 360 Opinion, 16 Aug 2010, http://e360.yale.edu/feature/leed_building_standards_fail_to_protect_human_health/2306
Dr. Wargo is talking about building materials and furnishings, but the point made also applies to pesticides applied around and within the structure during its lifetime. Minimizing the need for, and the usage of, pesticides is behind the appearance of LEED prerequisites and credits relating to Integrated Pest Management, or IPM. The intent of IPM, as expressed by the LEED authors is “to minimize pest problems and exposure to pesticides”. http://www.usgbc.org/credits/existing-buildings-schools-existing-buildings-retail-existing-buildings-hospitality-exist-26
In addition to downgrading the comfort and livability of a structure, the health risk from pests themselves is well documented. www.epa.gov/pesticides/pesticides-and-public-health#public-health.
Health risks of eliminating pests by using pesticides are also well documented. www.epa.gov/pesticides.
It is now possible to address pest and pesticide problems by upgrading the building envelope using TERM® non-chemical pest barriers. This is the portion of Integrated Pest Management where both designers and builders can reach for a new level of sustainability.