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. For these reasons, IPM is included in the US Green Building Council’s 2009 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 Review ProcessThis process was revised on September 11, 2013 (see the summary of changes). You may also consult the list of pesticides that San Francisco has reviewed for its own operations here

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 Review Process or the List of Reviewed Pesticides above instead.

Additional Information for Least-Toxic Pesticides for Green Buildings

LEED for Existing Buildings/Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EBOM)
Checklists and reference guides from the US Green Building Council.
PAN Pesticide Database
One of the most useful online databases for quickly looking up hazards of active ingredients or pesticide products.