Scent-free buildings earn
Green LEED Credits

UPdate Fall 2008

New buildings with effective scent-free programs are now eligible for an innovation credit under the Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Design (LEED) program.

“ This is a major breakthrough -- to have Canada’s leading organization in Green Building recognize the value of scent-free policies,” said Karen Robinson, President and CEO of Canadians for a Safe Learning Environment (CASLE). CASLE was instrumental in convincing Halifax schools to adopt scent-free programs, making Halifax a leader in Canada for the last decade.

Building on past success, Robinson worked with the LEED team designing two new schools in NS to apply for LEED points for scent free policies. LEED points were allowed for the new Citadel High School in Halifax, and the Green Building Council credit ruling followed.
Scent free programs fall under the LEED category of Indoor Environmental Quality. In granting credit for scent-free policies, the Council cited the following information from the Canadian Lung Association.

“Ninety-five percent of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxics and sensitizers - just one perfume can contain more than 500 chemicals. Another common ingredient in scents is toluene. Toluene triggers asthma attacks and is known to cause asthma in previously healthy people.”

The LEED ruling makes it clear that there has to be more than just a paper policy for a building to be awarded an Innovation credit. The policy must to be actively implemented, for example by posting comprehensive signage and implementing awareness activities.

Additional information is available by referring to the Canada Green Building Council’s Credit Interpretation Request (CIR) #139, ruling date June 20, 2007.

UPdate, Fall 2008, Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia