Certified Silver under v2 of Cradle to Cradle, Styrofoam extruded polystyrene insulation, manufactured by Dow Building Solutions, meets the criteria for the transparency option in the LEED v4 material ingredients credit.This credit comprises what may be the two most controversial points in all of LEED v4.
The credit has no precedent in prior versions of LEED. It offers three very different options for addressing chemicals of concern, with a strong focus on disclosure of hazardous substances (hazard avoidance), rather than risk-assessment, which seeks to account for the risk of exposure to a substance, and not just its presence. A third option, that has not yet been made available, may incorporate some kind of risk-assessment methodology. (See details below.)
The credit offers one point for material ingredient reporting. The presence of potentially hazardous materials does not disqualify a product from being counted toward this initial point—a source of consternation to some critics. With the release of the April 2016 LEED Addenda the number of resources and paths for complying with this option more than doubled, making it relatively easy to achieve on most projects.
But don’t underestimate the power of disclosure. According to advocates for this process, just the act of writing up an inventory of product ingredients can be transformational for manufacturers. Manufacturers may not be aware of everything that's in their products, and simply having those conversations with their suppliers and developing their inventory can lead to change without pressure from consumers.
Option 1 allows for several different ways to provide a “manufacturer inventory” of ingredients:
C2C-certified products are listed in an online database run by the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute (C2CPII). When LEED v4 launched, there were roughly 100 certified building products listed, including some from major manufacturers—enough to contribute to many LEED v4 projects but not all.
Manufacturer inventories and HPDs are available on individual manufacturers’ websites, and the design firm SmithGroupJJR has created a public HPD Library. BuildingGreen, the company behind LEEDuser also collects products with LEED-compliant HPDs and other transparency documents in its Transparency Collections, which are available from the Green Products tab on BuildingGreen.com.
Declare products are accessible in ILFI’s Declare database, which was relaunched in May 2016 with enhance search capabilities.
The mindful MATERIALS program provides spreadsheets from manufacturers that indicate which transparency declarations and certifications are available for each product.
BuildingGreen, the company behind LEEDuser also collects products with LEED-compliant HPDs, C2C certifications, Declare labels, BIFMA certification, and other transparency documents in its Transparency Collections, which are available from the Green Products tab on BuildingGreen.com.
Since the release of the April 2016 Addenda this option has become quite accessible for most whole-building projects in the U.S., where these programs are relatively well established. It’s not as easy for projects in other countries.
Small CI projects that don’t use many different products sometimes have trouble getting to the magic number of 20.
Watch your Vs and 2s! The C2C options for this credit are weighted differently depending on the version of C2C the product is certified under. As of 2016, there are no longer any C2C version 2 certified products so new projects and projects that have yet to specify their products will all be referencing version 3 of C2C.
Few manufacturers have published HPDs so far under version 2.0 of that standard, and HPDs have a lot of competition that they didn't have when the format was first introduced, so it remains to be seen how much of an option this will be. But HPDs still have strong support from the design community and are being positioned as a common data entry format that could also serve Declare and C2C. Version 2.0 of the HPD includes many technical improvements that make HPDs easier to produce and interpret.
Here’s another area where LEED’s long-term goal of performance-based accountability begins to take shape. Option 2 offers an incentive for manufacturers to go beyond awareness and disclosure of product formulations and to begin eliminating potentially hazardous chemicals from their supply chains.
C2C rates products based on multiple attributes; the product gets the lowest of these scores as its rating.Finding C2C-certified products is easy in the C2CPII database.
As of the LEED v4 launch, a central database for products and materials that have undergone a full GreenScreen assessment has not emerged. One option, however, is to use an HPD to document fully inventoried chemical ingredients to 100 ppm that have no Benchmark 1 hazards:
All companies that produce building materials for European markets should have information about their European products’ status relative to REACH. The REACH option may apply to North American products if the formulations are identical.
Not all international manufacturers will formulate their products the same way in Europe and North America, so check that documentation produced for a product sold in Europe translates to the U.S., and vice versa.
Many manufacturers of chemicals and plastics have objected to the new MR credits (see A Ban on PVC?), prompting USGBC to develop a third compliance path for MRc4. A draft implementation guide for this option was developed in 2015, but as of June 2016 it is not yet available for use by LEED projects pending field testing. Availability is expected by the time LEED v4 becomes mandatory in November 2016.
The credit language encourages manufacturers to seek third-party verification of supply-chain optimization regarding material health. It appears to favor “risk-assessment” methods.
A hazard assessment characterizes the inherent health and environmental dangers of a material without taking exposure into account; hence it typically focuses on the most toxic substances—chemicals for which, some would argue, there is really no “safe” amount.
A risk assessment goes beyond identifying hazards and analyzes the level of risk involved in using a particular chemical in a particular way. A hazard assessment might identify a halogenated flame retardant as a persistent, bioaccumulative toxic chemical. A risk assessment would then focus on how much of the chemical could be considered safe for humans and ecosystems; this information is usually used to seek ways to limit exposure through environmental regulations.
Although these methodologies are complementary, they have in the past few years come to be seen as opposing, with consumer and environmental advocates tending to argue for more hazard screenings and outright bans of certain chemicals, and industry advocates tending to argue for more risk assessments and exposure controls.
To encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts. To reward project teams for selecting products for which the chemical ingredients in the product are inventoried using an accepted methodology and for selecting products verified to minimize the use and generation of harmful substances. To reward raw material manufacturers who produce products verified to have improved life-cycle impacts.
Use at least 20 different permanently installed products from at least five different manufacturers that use any of the following programs to demonstrate the chemical inventory of the product to at least 0.1% (1000 ppmParts per million.).
Use products that document their material ingredient optimization using the paths below for at least 25%, by cost, of the total value of permanently installed products in the project.
Use building products for at least 25%, by cost, of the total value of permanently installed products in the project that:
Products meeting Option 3 criteria are valued at 100% of their cost for the purposes of credit achievement calculation.
For credit achievement calculation of options 2 and 3, products sourced (extracted, manufactured, purchased) within 100 miles (160 km) of the project site are valued at 200% of their base contributing cost. For credit achievement calculation, the value of individual products compliant with either option 2 or 3 can be combined to reach the 25% threshold but products compliant with both option 2 and 3 may only be counted once.
Structure and enclosure materials may not constitute more than 30% of the value of compliant building products.
Meet the requirements of the credit above and include furniture and furnishings within the project’s scope of work.
An Environmental Building News feature article introducing the key concepts and tools behind the product transparency movement.
I see that REACH is listed as an international compliance path, what about a US based project that is using some REACH compliant materials - some specialized application flooring, for example, is manufactured internationally. Does anyone know if this is applicable?
Does the Declare program (and therefore products with Declare labels) fall under the "other USGBC approved programs" for meeting Option 1 for Material Ingredient Reporting?
Hi, Laci! Good question.
It's my understanding that Declare is in the process of becoming a USGBC-approved program. When the official announcement will be made I do not know.
That said, since we don't have the details yet, keep in mind that a Declare label in itself does not necessarily meet the credit intent, as some people have released them with only 99% of ingredients disclosed, or with proprietary ingredients. So you can probably plan on Declare being acceptable soon, but there may be nuances to which Declare labels count once the official guidance appears. Hope this helps!
Trying to determine for EPD tab within BPDO calculator, if the bottom-line of Weighted EPD value needs to be 20 or as long as 20 products from 5 manufacturer's are noted, compliance is met?
Also how would a UL PCR for Insulated Metal panels be classified - my hunch is Industry-wide, but seeking advise from others, below is the PCR link
Jaspreet, all PCRs (product category rules) are industry-wide. They set the ground rules for doing the LCA and EPD for a whole category of products.
On the calculator, I believe the weighted value must be 20.
Natural materials such as solid wood, stone, clays, etc. all have advantageous material attributes in terms of transparency and health. There does not appear to be any mention of natural materials in the BPDO - Material Ingredients credit.
If a solid stone building product is specified, for example, does it automatically meet Option 1 for Material Reporting or Option 2 for Optimization?
I recognize that 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. wood product and qualifying bio-based materials are addressed in the Sourcing of Raw Materials credit.
Currently, untreated and natural stone and wood products can count for both Option 1 and Option 2 of this credit, provided you can prove that they are free of any additives.
Expect that additional guidelines and definitions will be developed to address natural materials in the future.
John, has any additional information (i.e., published guidance, interpretations, addenda, etc.) regarding natural materials, especially stone, been posted?
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