Volume 12, Issue 6 - July/August 2011

Energy and Environmental News


EPA Urges Caution on Tornado Renovation Activities Involving Lead Paint
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 7 office has issued a warning to those working on the post-tornado recovery effort in the Joplin, Mo., area to beware of lead paint issues, along with the rules related to emergency situations.

“As the Joplin, Mo., area continues to recover from the May 22 tornado, EPA Region 7 recommends children and pregnant women keep away from work that could disturb lead-based paint,” writes the EPA’s Region 7. “The agency also urges persons working on construction surfaces that may contain lead-based paint to take precautions to prevent the spread of lead-contaminated dust, which is the most significant source of lead exposure for children.”

In addition, EPA points out that because of the nature of the recovery work going on in Joplin, certain emergency provisions of the Renovation, Repair and Paining (RRP) rule may apply. Work covered under the rule’s provision for storm-damaged housing does not require advance notice or trained renovators to remove materials, including debris, from damaged homes, according the EPA. Also, emergency renovation activities are exempt from the rule’s warning sign, containment, waste-handling, training and certification requirements—but only to the extent necessary to respond to the emergency. However, EPA officials say the cleaning, cleaning verification and record-keeping requirements in the RRP rule still apply to emergency renovations.

Volunteers who do not receive compensation for work are not required to be trained and certified under the rule, according to EPA, though EPA officials recommend that volunteers educate themselves about lead-safe work practices to avoid causing health or safety hazards for themselves or others.


CSBR and Athena Sustainable Materials Institute End LCA Program Attempts to Promote Wood as Green Building Material
Officials from the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) at the University of Minnesota and the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute say they will no longer move forward with the development of the proposed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of North American Residential and Commercial Windows project, citing a lack of funding from the industry.

“With financial support from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Fenestration Rating Council we were able to develop a Life Cycle Goal and scope specification document, as well as a work plan and preliminary budget document,” says Kerry Haglund of the CSBR. “This was to be a phased project with Phase I essentially being the cradle-to-gate impacts and Phase II quantifying the cradle-to-grave impacts. Phase I and II would both need to be done for a complete LCA study. We were able to identify a cooperative effort with National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)/Four Elements, which would have resulted in up to a $72,500 overall project savings.”

Haglund explains that the DOE made a major contribution to launch this specific LCA program, but, for other building industry materials and assemblies, LCA work is funded completely by industry groups.

“We have had the benefit of governmental support to begin the process. DOE has made it very clear that it will financially support Phase II only if the industry financially supports the remainder of Phase I,” she says. “We have not had the commitment necessary from industry to support Phase I. Therefore we have missed the opportunity for the cooperative effort with NIST and will not have the financial support from DOE for Phase II.”

Several industry groups considered supporting program, including the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Glass Association of North America, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.

LCA is an analytical method used to comprehensively quantify and interpret the environmental flows to and from the environment (including emissions to air, land and water, as well as the consumption of energy and material resources), over the entire life cycle of a product (or process or service).


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