Least-Toxic Pesticides for Green Buildings
Why Green Buildings?
Integrated Pest Management is an important component of green buildings. Inappropriate pest management approaches can degrade the indoor air quality and introduce asthma and other hazards, and may result in inadequate control of pests. In addition, there are pest preventive building elements that that can be included into designs or retrofits. These building elements can reduce pest pressures for the lifetime of the building. For these reasons, IPM is included in the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Existing Buildings/Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) certification.
San Francisco's pesticide criteria and LEED
Managers of LEED-EBOM certified green buildings are required to notify all building residents when pesticide applications are made. However, this “universal notification” is not required if only least-toxic products are used. The USGBC uses San Francisco’s hazard tier system to define “least-toxic products.” The Tier system denotes the level of hazard: Tier I = greatest hazard and Tier III = least hazard.
To find out if your pesticide is a Tier III product, you will need to review your product using the SF Pesticide Hazard Screening Protocol. The Pesticide Action Network database is particularly useful for this purpose. Some products have already been reviewed by SF Environment; these are listed in the SF Pesticide Hazard Screening List.
Important note for LEED practitioners
The LEED-EBOM 2009 Reference Manual, and the addenda to the manual, list incorrect web links for San Francisco's hazard screening protocol and the list of tier rankings for pesticides. The manual directed readers to San Francisco's Reduced-Risk Pesticide List, which is not appropropriate for this purpose. LEED professionals or building managers seeking information on pesticide tier rankings should consult the Hazard Screening Protocol or the Hazard Screening List above instead.
Additional Information for Least-Toxic Pesticides for Green Buildings
San Francisco is habitat for 800,000 people – meeting needs for space to work, play, and learn; for food, water, and air; for community with local flora and fauna. SF Environment provides support for urban agriculture and forestry and green buildings, helping residents and businesses harness environmental opportunities.