Rapidly renewable materials must have a harvest cycle of 10 years or fewer. This includes materials like bamboo, agrifibers, and others listed on the chart below. Materials for this credit can come from either plants or animals—but they have to be harvested without harming the animal. Wool is okay; leather isn’t.
This credit can be very easy to achieve—it only requires that a small percentage of the materials budget be spent on rapidly renewable materials. But it can become challenging unless you make a concerted effort to research and specify products with rapidly renewable content in mind. Don’t wait until materials are purchased to calculate your credit compliance—chances are, you won’t make it.
Focusing on a few more expensive items with rapidly renewable content can be an easy way to make sure that you meet the budget threshold while minimizing the number of products you will need to track and document.
Rapidly renewable materials can be an effective advertisement of your project’s commitment to “green”—many rapidly renewable materials make great interior finishes, including bamboo flooring and veneers, cork flooring, wool carpeting, agrifiber casework, and others. Projects interested in “telling the green story” through their choice of finish materials will often pursue these materials.
While finish materials may come at a cost premium, there are plenty of other ways to use rapidly renewable materials less visibly and more affordably: strawbale construction, cotton batt insulation, cork carpet underlayment, and agrifiber boardA composite panel product derived from recovered agricultural waste fiber from sources including, but not limited to, cereal straw, sugarcane bagasse, sunflower husk, walnut shells, coconut husks, and agricultural prunings. The raw fibers are processed and mixed with resins to produce panel products with characteristics similar to those derived from wood fiber. in millwork, to name a few. (See table above.)
Knauf’s EcoBatt fiberglass insulation uses the company’s Ecose binder, which is manufactured using rapidly renewable materials instead of petroleum derivatives. Photo – Knauf Insulation
It’s also important to select rapidly renewable materials that best suit the function of the space. For example, cork absorbs sound well, which would be useful in a classroom setting. On the other hand, there may be situations when it might be better to choose a recycled material instead—wool carpet in a high-traffic area, for example, would not be as durable as recycled-content commercial carpet and would wear out more quickly.
Products with multiple environmental attributes—such as rapidly renewable and regionally produced—can contribute to multiple LEED credits.
To count as rapidly renewable for the purposes of this credit, the material must be harvested without causing the animal harm, and the animal must be able to continue to regenerate the material. A good example is wool from a sheep. See 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. #2549 for details.
Big-ticket items commonly used for this credit include flooring, insulation, millwork, wall coverings, and coatings. These products can have enough combined cost to reach the credit threshold, and renewable options are generally widely available. That said, there are many other products made with renewable materials that can contribute to this credit, so taking the time to explore the opportunities specific to your project can be worthwhile.
Yes. There is no official list of acceptable plants, but any biobasedGenerally, classification of products and materials derived from plant and animal sources as opposed to minerals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a program to promote the use of emerging biobased products that defines them more narrowly, to exclude products that already have established markets, such as food, animal feed, and lumber. material that otherwise meets the requirements should be accepted, if you can get formal documentation from your supplier that the life cycle is less than 10 years.
Be careful, though—the caveat that USGBC provides in LEED Interpretation #10057, dated 5/9/2011, is that the plants must be "typically regenerated" within 10 years. Trees that could economically be harvested within 10 years, but for which that practice isn't typical, might not meet this standard.
Bamboo, like this FSC-certified Plyboo plywood from Smith & Fong, grows on a short harvest cycle that makes it eligible for this credit. Photo – Smith & Fong Consider using rapidly renewable materials early in the process, as it may drive the project’s aesthetics or inform specific building practices. Typical rapidly renewable materials include bamboo, cork, cotton, wheat, agrifiber, straw, wool, linseed-based linoleum, and natural rubber. (See Bird’s Eye View for a summary of how these materials are used.)
You won’t earn this credit by accident. You’ll have to make a concerted effort to use enough rapidly renewable materials to meet the credit thresholds.
Using rapidly renewable finish materials is easily identified by occupants and can help with “telling the story” of your green building.
If you decide to go after this credit, it is usually attainable, as it only requires a small percentage of your budget. Rapidly renewable finish materials may have a slightly higher cost than their conventional counterparts, however.
Masonite's straw-core Emerald doors. Photo – Masonite It may be easier and more cost-effective to use rapidly renewable materials that are not finish materials—for instance, strawbale construction, cotton batt insulation, or composite agrifiber wood for millwork cores.
Begin by creating a baseline materials budget. This is the total amount of money that will be spent on building materials. Use the Materials Calculator from the Documentation Toolkit to compile the baseline material list in a way that facilitates adding information on environmental attributes.
Your material budget assumptions and material costs should be consistent across MRc3, MRc4, MRc5, MRc6, and MRc7. The LEED Online credit form helps ensure this automatically.
Include in your materials budget the material cost (excluding labor) of all construction items and Division 12 Furniture. Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and equipment costs are excluded. (See Resources for Master Spec information.)
You can use the requirements from the NC, CS, and Schools rating systems to help define construction items as defined in CSI Master Spec Format Divisions 3-10, 31.60 Foundations, 32.10 Paving, 32.30 Site Improvements, 32.90 Planting. (See Resources for Master Spec information.)
You must use the actual budget of all materials purchased in the above CSI categories. The default 45% materials budget option that is available for other rating systems is not available for CI projects.
Include a cushion in case of changes in design and purchasing. For example, if you are counting on points for using 2.5% rapidly renewable materials, plan for 5% of your budget to be spent on rapidly renewable materials to avoid coming up short.
Integrating rapidly renewable 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. Many projects fail to earn this credit because they wait until all the materials have been purchased before calculating whether there are enough rapidly renewable materials to gain the LEED credit.
Focus on a few expensive items that may Ecotextiles uses Oeko-Tex certified linen for the curtains and the near pillow, while the far pillow and window seat are 100% field-retted, long-fiber hemp. Photo – Ecotextilesrepresent enough value to earn the credit. This approach allows you to Iimit the overall number of items you need to track and document, reducing contractor headaches. If big-ticket items are not enough, target medium-priced items next, until you reach your goal.
For some CI projects, like high-end offices, furniture costs can be equal to or greater than costs for building materials. Make sure to choose furniture that helps the project gain multiple MR points (for example, furniture that is made of locally harvested and rapidly renewable materials).
A single product or material can contribute to multiple credits. For example, an agrifiber-core door made within 500 miles contributes to MRc6 as well as MRc5. Focusing on products and materials with multiple environmental attributes also can limit the overall number of items that must be tracked.
Research products and look at product cut sheets and manufacturing data to see if a product contains rapidly renewable material content.
When a single product is made of multiple materials that are a combination of rapidly renewable and nonrenewable materials, use the following special considerations.
The cost value for the LEED calculation is determined by weight as a percentage of the total. For example, if a $100 piece of casework is 20% by weight rapidly renewable agrifiber, and 80% by weight marble countertop, only $20 (the 20% that the renewable agrifiber represents) would contribute toward earning MRc6.
Request that manufacturers provide assembly information broken down by weight.
Revisit your baseline materials budget as the design evolves to make sure the numbers remain accurate and that you remain on track to achieve your goal for the credit.
Research specific products and incorporate rapidly renewable product requirements into individual construction specifications.
For guidance and sample specification language for incorporating LEED specifications into construction documents, see MasterSpec, or the Whole Building Design Guide. (See Resources.)
Incorporating the LEED requirements directly into the drawings as well as into the specs is a good way to remind the contractor and subcontractors of the requirements.
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.
Whenever possible, designate in the construction specifications that contractors use specific manufacturers that you have verified as producers of rapidly renewable items. This will help save research time for the contractors.
Analyze the initial budget to know what materials the project can target for this credit, and incorporate the language of the LEED requirements accordingly into construction specs for the specific materials. The contractor will appreciate not having to fill out forms for materials that are not rapidly renewable or that have so little cost value that it is a waste of time.
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.
Research the availability of additional rapidly renewable materials before construction begins to ensure that the project earns this credit. If product decisions are made after construction begins, there may be less time to review data sheets carefully 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 subcontractors 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 rapidly renewable information for MRc6, 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.
Keep a list of sustainable materials used on the project so that operations staff can use these products for future renovations.
Develop rapidly renewable procurement recommendations and incorporate the recommendations into a purchasing policy. This will contribute to EBOM MRp1: Sustainable Purchasing Policy.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors
To reduce the use and depletion of finite raw materials and long-cycle renewable materials by replacing them with rapidly renewableTerm describing a natural material that is grown and harvested on a relatively short-rotation cycle (defined by the LEED rating system to be ten years or less). materials.
Use rapidly renewableTerm describing a natural material that is grown and harvested on a relatively short-rotation cycle (defined by the LEED rating system to be ten years or less). construction and Division 12 (Furniture and Furnishings) materials and products for 5% of the total value of all materials and products used in the project, based on cost. Rapidly renewable building materials and products are made from agricultural products that are typically harvested within a 10-year or shorter cycle.
Establish a project goal for rapidly renewableTerm describing a natural material that is grown and harvested on a relatively short-rotation cycle (defined by the LEED rating system to be ten years or less). materials and identify materials and suppliers that can achieve this goal. Consider materials such as bamboo flooring, wool carpets, straw board, cotton batt insulation, linoleum flooring, poplar OSBOriented-strand board (OSB). Consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, wheatboard, oriented-strand board, and strawboard., sunflower seed board, wheatgrass cabinetry and others. During construction, ensure that the specified rapidly renewable materials are installed.
A BuildingGreen.com article that examines the pros and cons of using bamboo as a building material.
A BuildingGreen.com product review of cork flooring, which includes information on cork tree management, harvest, processing, and building applications.
BuildingGreen.com covers cotton insulation basics in this brief news article.
This BuildingGreen.com article discusses the virtues, manufacture, and availability of bamboo flooring.
A BuildingGreen.com feature that offers an in-depth look at strawbale construction.
Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.
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.
Use this calculator to help teams determine how much of the product cost can count towards the calculation if the product is an assembly of multiple materials.
Look to product cut sheets to provide information on rapidly renewableTerm describing a natural material that is grown and harvested on a relatively short-rotation cycle (defined by the LEED rating system to be ten years or less). content. Some information may be incomplete and you will need to follow up with requests for more information, as shown here.
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.
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.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each CI-2009 MR credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.
Version 4 forms (newest):
Version 3 forms:
These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."
Documentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.
If a product has cotton and viscose blend, can I the entire product be considered rapidly renewableTerm describing a natural material that is grown and harvested on a relatively short-rotation cycle (defined by the LEED rating system to be ten years or less). or just the cotton portion?
Giselle, just the cotton portion.
I heard a rumor that linoleum may once again be manufactured in the USA. Anyone know a US manufacturer, or why linoleum is not manufactured in the USA?
No, I haven't heard of this. Armstrong has a biobasedGenerally, classification of products and materials derived from plant and animal sources as opposed to minerals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a program to promote the use of emerging biobased products that defines them more narrowly, to exclude products that already have established markets, such as food, animal feed, and lumber. tile that I believe is manufactured domestically, but it's not exactly linoleum.
i get to know from my supplier that their product was made from Acacia trees and it will growth to maturity below 10 years. i try to check on USGBC or EPA list of renewable resouces material and i cant find the list. any idea where i can have the list of rapid renewable material list?
There is no official list. Any biobasedGenerally, classification of products and materials derived from plant and animal sources as opposed to minerals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a program to promote the use of emerging biobased products that defines them more narrowly, to exclude products that already have established markets, such as food, animal feed, and lumber. material that otherwise meets the requirements should be accepted. If you can get formal documentation from your supplier about the less-than-10-years cycle, than you should be OK.
When the rules were written, 10 years was picked in part to exclude any wood products, since those are covered separately under Credit 7. But that's not how the requirement was written.
As a best practice (not a LEED requirement) you might want to see if you can get the Acacia from an FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts.-certified source. Then you can also claim credit for it under Credit 7.
unfortunately their forestry gain the CoC from PEFC and not from FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts.. cant obtain these credit for MR7. really appreciate your advice!
bit of a strange question here - got a project using leather clad executive chairs and the product datasheet from the german manufacturer is suggesting that this can count towards rapidly renewableTerm describing a natural material that is grown and harvested on a relatively short-rotation cycle (defined by the LEED rating system to be ten years or less). materials.
While the reference guide in general relates to plant products, the inclusion of wool makes me think that the idea of animal products in principle is not ruled out. and assuming the max. 10 year lifecycle is upheld..?!
anyone have any experience with this?! thanks!
i realise that the credit intro above specifically rules leather out, but i cant find anything in the reference guide which defines this criteria of not harming the animal. besides which, if the leather is a wasteful by-product of a different production line, theres no reason to say this cant be "harvested in a sustainable fashion".
Be interested to hear from anyone with review-experience in this respect. Many thanks in advance!
We had some discussion on this question on the NC version of the MRc6 forum. I would check that out.
USGBC LEED Faculty, President
Jason Grant Consulting
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