Least-Toxic Pesticides for Green Buildings

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 buildingsare 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 US Green Building Council uses San Francisco’s hazard tier system to define “least-toxic products.” The Tier system denotes the level of hazard: greatest hazard (Tier I) to least hazard (Tier III).

To find out if your pesticide is a Tier III product, you will need to review your product using the SF Pesticide Hazard Review Process. This process was revised on September 11, 2013 (see the summary of changes). A subscription-based web service operated by the Pesticide Research Institute (not affiliated with the City of San Francisco) can provide instant evaluations for most products.

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 appropriate for this purpose. LEED professionals or building managers seeking information on pesticide tier rankings should consult the Hazard Review Process.