New “Clean Construction” Pilot Credit Added to LEED Pilot Credit Library

Credit to Encourage Clean-up of Dangerous Diesel Emissions During Building Construction

Clean Air Task Force and United Rental today announced that their proposed “Clean Construction” pilot credit has been added into the US Green Building Council’s LEED Pilot Credit Library. The pilot credit aims to limit emissions from dirty diesel engines that are harmful to public health and the global climate, a first for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). In addition, this is the first pilot credit to be approved and posted through the USGBC’s member generated pilot credit process. The LEED Pilot Credit Library is an interactive mechanism for testing proposed credits in the marketplace before a credit is considered for inclusion into a future LEED rating system.

The pilot credit was the result of almost a year of public-private collaboration between United Rental, Clean Air Task Force (CATF) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to develop the appropriate language for USGBC to review. Each team member brought significant yet widely divergent expertise to the table, resulting in a broad-based consensus on the pilot credit language.

“By approving a Clean Construction pilot credit, USGBC has paved the way to reward projects that proactively use cleaner diesel equipment for the benefit of all,” said Heidi Rawe, Senior Director of Sustainability at United Rentals.

“LEED is now in step with growing interest to protect construction workers, staff and nearby residents from toxic diesel emissions during construction,” said Brooke Suter of the environmental NGO Clean Air Task Force and Coordinator of the Diesel Clean-up Campaign. “This is a win for health, climate and builders. On the heels of last week’s landmark report that black carbon is the second-leading cause of global climate change, the US Green Building Council has taken an important step towards limiting the black carbon emissions from older, dirty diesel engines during the construction of buildings.”

Fine particle pollution produced by diesel engines causes 21,000 deaths a year in the United States, according to a 2005 report by the Clean Air Task Force, Diesel and Health in America: The Lingering Threat. As a climate warming pollutant, black carbon in diesel pollution is about 2000 times more potent than CO2. Diesels account for over half of the U.S. black carbon emissions.

“Providing an opportunity to achieve credit toward LEED certification for use of clean diesel construction equipment during the construction phase makes perfect sense,“ said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Application of the Clean Construction pilot credit will help protect the health of workers and neighboring residents by reducing exposure to higher concentrations of particulate matter from older diesel equipment.”

“Optimizing human and environmental health are built into the fabric of LEED, and this pilot addresses air pollution head on by addressing the role construction equipment plays in toxic emissions,” said Brendan Owens, Vice President, LEED Technical Development, USGBC. “The Pilot Credit Library has been widely embraced by LEED users and has successfully created a proving ground for testing new and innovative credits and guiding the improvement of LEED.”

The Clean Construction Pilot Credit is available in the LEED Pilot Credit Library at  In order to use the Clean Construction pilot credit towards voluntary LEED certification for a building, during the construction phase the project must:

1) Limit particulate matter (PM) pollution from on-road vehicles and nonroad equipment;

2) Limit unnecessary idling;
3) Prevent indoor air pollution by keeping construction emissions away from air intakes and openings of adjacent buildings, and;

4) Provide data.

A three-year transition period allows for newer, cleaner equipment to penetrate the marketplace, providing an easy range of opportunities to rent or buy new equipment, or to retrofit old equipment to reduce PM pollution and achieve the credit.

“With as many as two million pieces of construction equipment in use in the U.S. today and many lacking modern particulate pollution controls, we support the leadership of LEED in encouraging the clean-up of this equipment,” concluded Suter.

As the most widely recognized and widely used green building program across the globe, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building program is transforming buildings, homes and communities in all 50 states and 135 countries. LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

The LEED Pilot Credit Library gathers real-time feedback on credit usability and ability to meet a credit’s intent. It was established to facilitate the introduction of new prerequisites and credits to LEED through stakeholder engagement and collaboration on the testing and analysis of proposed requirements. This process allows USGBC to refine credits through LEED project evaluations before being introduced into LEED. There are currently 46 credits in the Pilot Credit Library.

Clean Air Task Force is a non-profit environmental organization with offices throughout the United States and in China that works to protect the earth’s atmosphere by improving air quality and reducing global climate change through scientific research, public advocacy, technological innovation and private sector collaboration. For more information please visit


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.