If salvaged materials are appropriate for your project, this credit should be easy enough to achieve. But you have to use a lot of salvaged materials to reach the threshold, so it's most feasible for small projects that target sources of salvaged materials early in the design process. Even then, it can be tricky because these are not the sort of things you can specify and count on being able to order from a supplier--the contractor or owner usually has to procure and stockpile salvaged items when they become available. That has to happen early enough that they can be included in the design, which is often long before they are needed on the job site.
Some projects also run into trouble with the fact that salvaged items aren't rated for structural strength or flame resistance. Wood timbers often have to be graded based on a visual inspection by a licensed lumber grader, and samples of other products may have to be tested. If you can overcome all those hurdles, however, the results are often very rewarding, as salvaged items add character and instant charisma to a project.
It’s not unusual to have some confusion about the difference between “reused” and “recycled”—often the terms are (incorrectly) used interchangeably—but there is a distinct difference, especially for the purposes of LEED.
Recycled refers to anything that contains recycled materials as a result of the manufacturing process—carpet that contains recycled material, for example, could be made from post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. recycled plastic bottles.
Reused material is something that has been reused or repurposed from another location or a different role—like antique doors salvaged from an old church, raised floor pedestals saved from one office project and sold to another, or office partitions relocated from a previous office to a new one.
There may be instances where a product is processed in such a way that it could be considered as under either attribute, but if that's the case you should still choose one; these credits are not meant to overlap.
When you’re trying to determine the cost value of reused, salvaged, or donated materials, you may run into some difficulties, especially in finding replacement costs for comparable new products. It’s helpful to work with a construction pricing expert who may already have cost estimates on hand.
Reclaimed wood from a barn was refinished and reused for this interior at the Audubon Society headquarters. Photo – YRG SustainabilityAnother choice you will need to make is whether to value reused items at their actual cost or at the replacement cost. In some cases, it may not make much of a difference—the reused materials may be of similar value to the price of a comparable new item. But in other cases—for example, if you’ve purchased antique woodwork—the cost of the salvaged item may actually be significantly higher than the replacement cost of a comparable new item. Make sure to examine the actual and replacement cost of each item so that you know which will be most advantageous to your earning the credit.
In most cases, materials that have multiple environmental attributes can be applied to as many of the MR credits as they relate to. That is still true in most cases, but for this credit, there are limitations. Materials that apply to this credit cannot be applied toward:
On the other hand, reused materials often contribute to MRc5 in addition to MRc3:
Salvaging a building element and using it in a different function, like this window turned office partition, qualifies it as materials reuse, not building reuse. Photo – YRG Sustainability
There is also frequent confusion between MRc3: Materials Reuse and MRc1.1–1.2 and MRc1.3: Building Reuse whenever salvaged materials are recovered from the demolition of a project site. It’s an important distinction:
There is a large and thriving market for reused furniture—often of very high quality. If you decide to include your furniture in the calculations for this credit (or, if you are a LEED-CI project and are thus required to do so), you might be able to earn the credit simply by specifying salvaged furniture. But take care—if you include furniture in this credit, you must also include it in all credits MRc3–7. Be sure to analyze how including or excluding furniture will affect other MR credits.
Yes, if furniture is being included consistently across MRc3–7. (For CI projects, furniture must be included.)
No, this would be only counted under MRc3. Material reuse is the relevant environmental attribute in this case.
No. Consistent with other MR credits, MEP equipment should not be counted here.
No, as the material is being "re-manufactured' into something else, it is different than reuse, where products and materials are used intact, but in different applications or locations. The primary environmental attributes for this case are construction waste management (MRc2), and potentially recycled content (MRc4), and regionality (MRc5). The intent of this credit is to extend the life of existing building materials.
Probably not. LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #2501 made on 03/20/2009 emphasizes previous use of building materials as a key consideration for this credit, with reference to structural steel.
No. According to the LEED glossary, these materials are considered remanufactured, and therefore do not qualify as reuse. Under the Related Credits section in the LEED Reference Guide, it states that “Remanufactured materials are not considered a reuse of the material and do not contribute toward this credit. However, these materials can contribute toward MR Credit 2: Construction Waste Management, or MR Credit 4: Recycled Content."
Evaluate what materials the project will use that might be targeted for reuse. Set goals in the owner’s project requirements regarding salvaged materials. This can include material recovered from demolition, materials that can be reused as part of a relocation, or materials that are acquired from architectural salvage vendors, donations, or other projects.
Research the availability of appropriate salvaged materials for your project. See the Resources section for sites that can help with this.
While salvaged materials—such as a reclaimed raised-floor frame—may be hidden from the end user’s view, other salvaged materials can add historic character to a space when displayed prominently, such as reclaimed wood flooring. Both types of reuse offer environmental benefits.
Begin creating a baseline materials budget. Even if you don’t know the actual material costs, it will be helpful to establish estimates at this stage. You can use a spreadsheet to help create the baseline budget and track its environmental benefits, such as the one offered in the Documentation Toolkit.
Your baseline material budget assumptions and material costs should be consistent across MRc3–7. The LEED Online credit form helps ensure this, as you only enter the information once for multiple MR credits.
Include in your materials budget the cost (excluding labor) of all construction items. Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and equipment costs are excluded. Furniture is also excluded, as it is dealt with in a separate credit, MRc3.2. (See the Resource tab for a breakdown of CSI divisons.)
You can use the guidance from LEED-NC MRc3 to help determine construction items as defined in CSI MasterSpec Format, Divisions 3-10, Sections 31.60: Foundations, 32.10: Paving, 32.30: Site Improvements, and 32.90: Planting.
For the baseline material budget, you must use the actual value of all materials purchased in the above applicable CSI categories (sustainable and non-sustainable). The default 45% materials budget option available for other rating systems is not available for CI projects.
Analyze the initial cost budget to know what materials the project can target and incorporate the LEED requirements accordingly into construction specs for the specific materials. The contractor will appreciate not filling out forms for materials that are not reused, or that have so little cost value that it is a waste of time.
Look at your baseline materials budget to determine how much reused material you need to incorporate into your project. Decide how much you want to spend on reused materials, and establish what reused materials are available. To gain one point, devote 5% of the materials budget to reused materials; for two points, allocate 10%. Identify donated, reused, or purchased items in the project’s preliminary budget that could be salvaged materials. Do these items add up to the amount needed to get one or two points?
It is optional for projects to value reused or salvaged materials at their replacement cost for the LEED calculation. For example, whether a project purchased or received a donation of decorative ceiling tiles, the material value would be the same as what it would cost to replace the donated materials with something new. Of course, it may also be beneficial to use the actual salvage price, when it is higher than the new material replacement cost; a good example is antique woodwork.
Determining the cost of a replacement item leaves some room for interpretation, but the replacement must be a comparable product. For example, you cannot value the replacement of standard acoustic ceiling tile at the cost of a hand-painted, gold-encrusted ceiling tile.
Reused materials may require refurbishing and, in turn, add costs to the owner. Include refurbishing costs in the total cost or value of the material.
Include a cushion for this credit, in case of changes in design and purchasing. For example, if you are counting on points for using 5% reused materials, plan for 10% of your budget to be spent on reused materials to avoid coming up short.
Using an estimated budget to integrate reused or salvaged materials into the design and specs early on can help prevent costly change orders during construction.
Use your estimated budget as a guide throughout the project. You don’t want to fail to earn this credit because you waited until after purchasing materials before calculating whether you have enough reused and salvaged materials to gain the LEED credit.
Focus on “big ticket” items when seeking reused materials for the LEED credit. High-priced materials like flooring that meet the reuse requirement may represent enough value to earn the credit. This approach allows you to Iimit the overall number of items you need to track and document, while reducing contractor headaches. If big-ticket items are not enough, target a medium-priced item next, and so on, until you reach your goal.
A single product or material can contribute to multiple credits. For example, wood flooring salvaged locally contributes to MRc3: Material Reuse as well as MRc5: Regional Material. Focusing on products and materials with multiple environmental attributes also can limit the overall number of items that you need to track.
Onsite salvaged materials automatically contribute to both MRc5: Regional Material and MRc2: Construction Waste Management.
Research the availability of salvaged items to serve the project’s needs.
Don’t confuse “recycled content material” with “material reuse”; the two terms have very different meanings:
MRc3: Material Reuse and MRc1: Building Reuse are often confused when salvaged materials are recovered from the demolition of a project site.
Salvaged items may not come with product warranties.
If using salvaged materials, make sure the durability of the product has not been compromised and material contains no harmful contaminants, or you may have to replace the salvaged item with a new product all too soon.
When a product is made of multiple components that may or may not be all reused, use the following special considerations.
The cost value for LEED calculation is determined by separating each component by weight as a percentage of the total. For example, if a $100 piece of built-in casework contains 80% (by weight) salvaged wood and 20% (by weight) new marble, $80 worth (80%) of casework would contribute to this credit, because that is the only component part that is reused. (See the Documentation Toolkit for a reuse assembly calculator.)
Request that manufacturers provide assembly information broken down by weight.
Revisit your baseline materials budget as the design evolves to make sure that the numbers remain accurate and that you’re on track to achieve your goal for the credit.
Research specific products. Incorporate reused materials requirements into individual construction specifications.
MasterSpec and the federal Whole Building Design Guide (see Resources) offer guidance and sample specification language on how to incorporate LEED specifications in construction documents.
Incorporating the LEED requirements directly into the drawings and specs is a good way to remind the contractor and subcontractors of the requirements.
Whenever possible, designate in the construction specifications that contractors use specific sources you have verified as suppliers of reused items. This will help save research time for the contractors.
Include submittal requirements within each targeted construction spec section and add general requirements to the division 1 bid package. Include a copy of any submittal documents that the contractor may need to fill out.
The general contractor (GC) should be oriented to all LEED construction-related issues, such as IAQ management, low-emitting materials, environmental materials tracking tools, and construction waste management.
LEED documentation and materials tracking are usually the GC’s responsibility even though specific materials selection may have been already determined by the architect or designer.
The GC should hold an orientation meeting with the subcontractors to review the LEED responsibilities related specifically to their trades. This exercise helps to build trust and is crucial for obtaining buy-in from all participants in the process.
Give the GC and subcontractors the following tools to help them track materials data for all MR and IEQ credits. (See the Documentation Toolkit for access.)
Enabling coordination and communication among the GC, subcontractors and design team early in the process can minimize scheduling delays and pushback from subcontractors.
Before construction begins, research the availability of any additional reused and salvage materials that you may not have found during the design phase. If product decisions are made after construction begins, there may be less time to carefully review data sheets and much greater risk of using a noncompliant product.
The contractor starts gathering and environmental data and cut sheets from subcontractors for approval.
The GC functions as the overall quality assurance provider for this credit. Responsibilities include conducting weekly reviews of subcontractor product submittals and tracking forms.
Review subcontractor product suggestions ahead of time to avoid the purchase of inappropriate materials and eliminate the need for costly change orders.
Streamline documentation and research by taking data gathered from subs via the Environmental Materials Reporting Form and transfer it into a master spreadsheet for all the items being tracked for each product across MR and IEQ credits. For example, you may need to ask the millworker for regional information for MRc5, certified wood information for MRc7, and information about adhesives installed on site for IEQc4.1. If one spreadsheet collects all the data, it can streamline your documentation, associated research, and help with quality control. Use the Materials Calculator spreadsheet in the Documentation Toolkit.
A master spreadsheet facilitates information collection for subcontractors, giving them a road map of exactly what types of information to collect for each product.
Assign a responsible party to input the subcontractors’ tracking forms into the Materials Calculator (see Documentation Toolkit). A LEED consultant or an administrative assistant in the GC’s office may be the best choice for this role.
Breaking out specific materials costs (excluding labor) for construction materials that contribute to LEED credits is a requirement for LEED MR credits. Some subcontractors prefer not to do this because there are always hidden markups in the materials that subcontractors purchase at wholesale. However, you can simply include the product markup when breaking out a product’s material cost from installation and labor costs.
Transfer all the data collected in the Materials Calculator spreadsheet (see Documentation Toolkit) to the LEED Online form and upload the product cut sheets.
Only a random 20% sampling of product cut sheets need to be uploaded to LEED Online to document this credit.
Even though LEED Online only asks for 20% of the cut sheets to be uploaded, all material cut sheets should be saved as backup data and may be requested of the project during the USGBC’s credit reviews.
Keep a list of reused and salvaged materials so that O&M staff can use these products and supply sources for future renovations.
Develop salvaged material procurement recommendations into a purchasing policy. If pursuing LEED-EBOM certification, this will contribute to MRp1: Sustainable Purchasing Policy.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors
To reuse building materials and products to reduce demand for virgin materials and reduce waste, thereby lessening impacts associated with the extraction and processing of virgin resources.
Use salvaged, refurbished or reused materials, the sum of which constitutes at least 5% or 10%, based on cost, of building (construction) materials, excluding furniture and furnishings The minimum percentage materials reused for each point threshold is as follows:
Identify opportunities to incorporate salvaged materials into project design and research potential material suppliers. Consider salvaged materials such as beams and posts, flooring, paneling, doors and frames, cabinetry, brick, and decorative items.
Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.
This is a detailed list of the types of items that fall under the various CSI divisions.
Think online dating, but for waste materials. This is a New York City source for individuals to post waste they have that others may want.
This is a resource database of contractors proficient with deconstruction and recipients seeking material.
PlanetReuse is a nationwide reclaimed construction material broker and consultant company. At no cost to the design team, they match materials with designers, builders and owners to serve LEED efforts, save money, and sustain the planet. They make it easier to use a wide variety of reclaimed materials in new projects as well as help find new projects for building materials being deconstructed, guiding clients through every step of the process.
Teams can use this tool to track all materials across various MR and IEQ credits. It helps teams develop a roadmap of what information needs to be tracked for different products. It can also be used early on to create the baseline budget and ensure the products that are being used will apply to the various credit thresholds.
This is a materials tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values of products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing.
This is a VOC tracking sheet that helps subcontractors record the low-emitting qualities of the products they purchase and can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing. Use it specifically for earning low-emitting materials credits, but in conjunction with documentation for MR credits.
If reused materials are part of an assembly but not the whole thing, use this calculator to determine the cost value of the assembly that can count toward MRc3.
Use a letter like this sample to orient the contractor to their responsibilities for all MR and IEQ credits. This letter is an introduction that can be customized for the credits your project is pursuing.
Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.
Documentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.
Office TI project in a downtown high rise building - rather than installing a finish floor product (e.g. carpet, VCT etc) throughout the entire space the design called for a grind a seal of the building core's original and existing concrete slab, as commonly seen in "creative office" designs. Being that this design decision resulted in a decrease of the virgin materials used to finish the space - can we pursue this credit based on the costs that would have otherwise been incurred to provide a flooring product throughout?
Hello. I have a question for something that I might be interpreting wrongly because of language. "Materiales Salvaged on site but reused in different-another location (can also count for MR2)" Does this mean that if I'm donating-diverting materials from landfills and counting them for CWM, but donating them to a school for them to build something, do all of these materials count towards Materials Reuse???
Only materials used for your project count as Materials Reuse.
Materials donated to another project can count as CWM, but not reuse.
We recently received a review back stating that the reclaimed wood materials that were used to fabricate bartops, host stand top, banquette tops and banquette seating in our restaurant project does not meet the definition of reused, salvaged or refurbished materials. The reviewer stated that these materials should be accounted for in the MR 4 credit, because they qualify as recycled content. We were all extremely surprised by this review comment. This seems clearly wrong to me. Any advice? (I should add that this project is registered under CI v2.0.)
Marian, this review comment definitely seems out of line with how we've understood MRc3 and MRc4.
I would email GBCI requesting clarification. Let us know how it goes!
Thanks--already have! Will post the reply.
I've got a project where nearly nothing has changed between tenants. It seems that the interior materials would qualify for MR1.2 (where it would get two points for being over 60%), but I was wondering if it could also go toward MR3?
Materials that apply to MRc1.2 cannot also apply to MRc3.
can we use the salvaged materials from our site in another project site? For instance this is in a mall and they would uuse the ceiling tile from our project in another place in the mall?
Any of the materials you send from your site can be counted in MRc2 as diverted from the landfill for your project's certification.
For the other project, if they are also seeking LEED certification those materials can be used for MRc3.1 for their project.
There is just one project I am certifying. It is in a mall. I want to use MR 3.1 on this project and they would take the materials and reuse them in other spaces in the mall.
I think I know the answer, but can duct work be counted towards material re-use? I think not as it is MEP material and if being used for the same function it doesn't meet the criteria of being used in a different function.
Holly, it cannot be counted as it is MEP.
If it were not MEP then it could be counted if it is being reused in a different location in the building.
In the same vein, We are engaged on a project where the Owner wants to re-use existing light fixtures. The ceiling will be totally reconfigured so all fixtures would move but, they fall under MEP, I assume. Because of the type of fixture, we will not achieve the lighting density target for a point under EA1.1 so I hope to be acknowledged for reusing a resource. It seems that USGBC would acknowledge the sustainability of this. Your thoughts?
I work for a major precast/prestressed manufacturer. Our products are always designed, manufactured and installed for each individual project. However, we sometimes have a few units sent to stockpile for various reasons and may never be used for any future project. Can these products be used for a future project and count as Material Reuse? We have been approached by a General Contractor working on a project pursuing LEED certification and they want to cover an existing pool (that will be used as a grey water cistern) with a few pieces of our stockpiled hollowcore. They plan on counting the plank toward Material Reuse credit. Since the material is not from another 'site' and was not installed in a previous structure I'm not sure if this qualifies as material reuse.
I don't think stockpiled materials that remain in a company's inventory would be accepted as reuse since it hasn't "entered the market." If you compare this to how pre-consumer recycled content is addressed you'll see a parallel: If a wood mill re-uses waste from its own process such as sawdust from milling lumber to make another product such as particle board or MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder., that doesn't count toward recycled content. It's usually seen as a simple cost-cutting choice that many businesses would be likely to do.
However, if the surplus or by-product is sold to another company, that now creates a market for recycled for re-used content and would likely qualify for the credit.
We have an unusual case in an airport project I am working on. It is LEED-CI as we are refurbishing a passenger concourse and some of the back-of-house spaces that go with it. There are 11 jetways ("Passenger Boarding Bridges", or "PBBs" in the industry parlance); 4 are being replaced with new, 3 are staying where they are and being refurbished with paint and carpet, and 4 are being taken out of service at another terminal in the airport so we are moving those to our terminal. The PBBs have a number of architectural components: steel structure, interior carpet, paint, etc., and a lot of MEP components too: they supply air, water and electricity to parked aircraft. It seems like re-using the 4 PBB's should count as part of MR 3, it's less clear to me whether the 3 refurbished in place also count.
In general, it's a little unclear whether the line about changing the use of a product is that important here. The ref guide says a door reused as a table counts (of course the table should count as furniture, right, so maybe make that millwork?), but so does door hardware reused as door hardware. A CIv2.0 CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide dated 7/2/2008 says "reused materials are materials that were manufactured, used for their intended purpose, and are being included in a build-out for that same purpose again." By that standard, all 7 of my PBB's would count, wouldn't they? Do you think I'd have to subtract out some fraction of their dollar value to account for the MEP components?
I was curious about this one, so I checked the CSI Master Format division list. Technically, it would seem that PBBs would fall under division 34 (34 77 13 Passenger Loading Bridges), and would therefore not qualify for inclusion in any of the MR credits, at least according to the MR credit metrics chart in the Reference Guide.
As I understand it, the reason LEED requires exclusion of HVAC, electrical, equipment, special construction, etc, etc, is that the cost of these products is weighted more heavily towards the engineering and unique construction/manufacturing requirements and less towards the actual material that goes into them. Inclusion of these types of items would throw all of the material calculations out of whack. Meaning, even if you were able to deduct the cost of the MEP components from the PBBs, you'd still end up with a skewed material cost.
The only way I could see attempting this would be to work with the PBB manufacturer to determine the true cost of materials (an additive approach), rather than the deductive approach of subtracting the cost of MEP components. You'd also have to deduct any other assemblies that wouldn't easily fit within CSI divisions 2-10... wheels, tires, suspensions, and drive motors come to mind. It would be a lot of work, and still a gamble, and I'm not sure it would pay off considering the paltry materials you'd have left compared to the materials going into the remainder of the project.
I am using a reclaimed white oak wood from a barn to use on flooring. Can I use this for MRC4 recycled content or MRC3.1 materials reused?
Yes for materials reuse, since it's a reclaimed material being used for a new purpose. But materials reuse and recycled content are usually mutually exclusive. Recycled content comes from reuse of materials in manufacturing processes.
I have had conflicting information regarding re-used commercial kitchen equipment, whose energy and water are measured as 'process.' Some say yes, others no. There are mechanical, electrical and plumbing components, and they are undesirable to haul, unless stripping for copper and steel, so in one respect, their re-use on a project is very attractive, not to mention cost-effective. Also, if the equipment is reused and non-energy star, it doesn't count against you in EAc1.4. It also appears in Division 11, which is "optional" under MRc5.1. But the MRc3.1 credit language seems to indicate that 'mechanical, electrical and plumbing components' are not included, yet most food service equipment contains some or all. And, I've heard of projects getting credit for reused kitchen equipment! I'm confused. It's one thing if a stainless steel worktable, pot/pan sink, etc. is re-used, and it would make sense that those be included. But does actual powered equipment qualify towards this credit officially or not?. . Many thanks!
Correct me if I'm wrong, but for material salvaged onsite to count toward MRc3.1, it has to be used in a different application than its original application. I don't think reusing equipment counts here.
That was also my understanding but there may have been some inconsistencies in the application, as I have had some foodservice consultants tell me that they have gotten credit for it. It is possible that they may have mistaken this credit for Regional Sourcing and Extraction, MRc5.1. I could see stainless worktables used in a different way, as well as millwork, i.e. I 've seen stainless worktables repurposed into desks, but geez, how can you repurpose an oven??
We are working on a CI project which has a significant amount of reused construction materials and furniture.
Should we include the replacement cost or the actual cost of construction materials and furniture in the total materials budget for the project? There seems to be some confusion over which cost must be included.
You can use the replacement value, rather than the actual value, for reused materials and furniture. Even if the reused or salvaged material cost is less than an equivalent new item, you can use the higher value of the new replacement item, but exclude the cost of labor or shipping.
Senior Program Manager, Global Energy & Sustainability
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