This credit focuses on diverting waste from landfills by finding multiple alternatives for end uses of the waste, namely recycling, reuse on site, donation for reuse on another site, or resale. All of these diversion methods count towards credit compliance—50% construction waste diverted for one point, 75% for two points.
Look for opportunities to prevent the generation of waste on construction sites because the less waste you generate, the less you have to recycle or reuse to earn the credit.
There are two different approaches to recycling construction and demolition (C&DConstruction and demolition) waste: separating materials at the source (onsite), or commingling them and sending them to an off-site waste sorting facility. Either approach can work well. Your choice will depend on whether there is room for sorting onsite, whether the contractor is willing to take that on, and if there are good sorting facilities nearby.
The ease or difficulty of this credit depends on project-specific and regional conditions.
The general contractor (GC) is responsible for developing the CWM plan early in the construction process, if not before (during preconstruction). The GC does this in collaboration with the project team and is then responsible for implementing it, verifying that it is being followed throughout the construction process, and documenting the results.
Waste generated off-site, even for modular construction and pre-fabrication of major assemblies is not accounted for in the MRc2 calculations. MRc2 looks only at the management of waste generated onsite.
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. #10265 made on 01/01/2013 provides the best official guidance for this situation. The approach that is approved in that situation involves multiple buildings, all being certified to LEED-NC. The ruling allows the project to track together all demolition and construction waste diverted, and to then apply a weighted average based on gross square footageSum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building including basements, mezzanine and intermediate-floored tiers, and penthouses with headroom height of 7.5 ft or greater. It is measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the centerline of walls separating buildings, but excluding covered walkways, open roofed-over areas, porches and similar spaces, pipe trenches, exterior terraces or steps, chimneys, roof overhangs, and similar features. to each LEED project. Each building must meet the required threshold for waste diversion in order to earn the credit and in addition, the Construction Waste Management (CWM) Plan must outline goals for diversion for each building, not just as an aggregate across all projects.
If your project is in a similar situation but with different specific circumstances, LEEDuser would recommend adopting that advice as closely as possible, while accounting for any differences in a way that meets the LEED credit intent. Some projects may want to get an official ruling—either a CIR or LEED Interpretation.
Yes, materials that would otherwise be waste, but that are diverted from the landfill to be salvaged or reused can contribute to MRc2.
No. Hazardous waste does not count and it is excluded from the numerator and denominator portions of the credit calculations. You may want to include a brief narrative on the hazardous waste you found and how your project abated the material.
There has been some debate about this, since on the one hand this waste does not qualify as typical C&D waste, but on the other hand it is waste generated onsite, which this credit is intended to address. LEEDuser's experts recommend including this waste because it falls under the broader definition of waste generated onsite, and because reduction, recycling and diversion programs can be extremely effective in reducing the quantity of this waste. Having workers pay attention to this waste makes them more aware of overall job-site recycling, and not mixing lunch waste with construction waste like scrap metal increases the recyclability of the construction waste.
USGBC has ruled (for example, see LEED Interpretation #10061) that diverting waste to incineration facilities does not contribute to MRc2, but that Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) does meet the intent of this credit. As that ruling states, "The WDF process differs from incineration processes that are not allowed in this credit because the recycling facility provides a value-added process; it is a service that exists to sort and distribute materials appropriate to the highest end uses possible. In addition, the revenue generated by the WDF commodity helps to make this business successful and thus facilitates recycling of wood to other end uses as well as recycling of other materials."
According to the LEED Reference Guide, land-clearing debris includes soil, vegetation, and rocks.
Use the solid waste conversion factorsEstimates are presented in customary U.S. units. Floorspace estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 square foot is approximately equal to 0.0929 square meters. Energy estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 Btu is approximately equal to 1,055 joules; one kilowatthour is exactly equal to 3,600,000 joules; and one gigajoule (109 joules) is approximately 278 kilowatthours (kWh). in the LEED Reference Guide to account for recycled materials in dumpsters billed by volume.
It is typically better to use project-specific diversion data when you can get it, and this data should typically be accepted in a LEED review. However, there are other options.
There are LEED Interpretations such as LEED Interpretation #10060 made on 5/9/2011 that allow use of a facility-wide recycling rate, if approved by local regulators. On similar lines, a 5/9/2011 addendum added this note to the LEED Reference Guide: “For commingled recycling the average annual recycling rate for a sorting facility is acceptable for recording diversion rates only when the facility's method of recording and calculating the recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government authority.”
Either identify a hauler with a strong recycling program, or research and find local recycling facilities to which you can send your hauler.
Research the waste management system:
Check local government websites for recycling programs. Also search for other ways to put materials back in circulation, such as exchange programs and brokers. For example, pallets and packaging can be sold or given away through these programs.
Construction materials vary with project location and building type. Some materials are easier to recycle than others. For example, copper wire and steel studs are readily recycled into new products, but vinyl tiles may not be. Research and specify what materials can be recycled, reused, or salvaged in the project’s municipality or region—and design with these materials so that waste scrap can be diverted from the landfill. For example, specify carpet from a manufacturer that has a take-back program, or ceiling tiles that are easily recyclable. Using precast concrete will avoid waste generation from in-situ concrete that will help in total waste generated.
Demolition projects can give away furniture, computers, and other equipment. Projects can also reuse items like doors, and crush demolished concrete and other paving materials to be reused as fill onsite. Demolition and renovation jobs can present many opportunities for salvaging items like wood timbers, architectural detailing, stonework, and millwork for reuse on another project, sale, or donation.
Research and use manufacturer “take-back” programs as much as possible. Manufacturers increasingly take back equipment and materials at no or low cost to the project. These programs are common with certain equipment and computers, ceiling tiles, and carpeting, for example.
Develop a list of construction materials from the budget estimate.
Determine if the waste will be measured by volume or by weight and keep it consistent. (Most projects pursue measurement by weight instead of volume.)
Target materials that are plentiful and either heavy or voluminous, depending on your documentation approach, and that are easy to recover and recycle to meet the 50% or 75% credit thresholds.
If discarding a lot of heavy stone, metal or masonry products, it will probably be more advantageous to track weight.
If discarding lots of packaging, insulating foam, and other light materials, you may prefer to track volume.
Selecting the right waste processor can minimize cost, but you have to strike a balance between cost and the feasibility of using that waste processing plant based on distance from the site and whether the hauler will agree to use that facility.
Recycling often generates revenue for the hauler who may then reduce the fee for the project. It also generates savings by reducing landfill tipping fees, which is beneficial to the contractor.
Contractors may claim that the CWM coordination and administrative oversight cost more money than recycling is worth, but many good contractors have figured out how to do CWM and can make it work for the same amount or less than typical trash hauling. This is somewhat dependent on the location of the project and available local resources.
If dealing with an existing building and a large amount of material is salvageable, consider deconstruction and materials salvage as an alternative to demolition. The contractor will have to oversee the process carefully. Many resources are available on deconstruction. (See Resources.)
Deconstruction will add extra cost to the project due to the additional labor required to take materials apart, remove nails from wood, and maintain material integrity. Ideally, the contractor will find a buyer for the materials to help offset these costs.
Thinking long term, consider what design decisions can increase the likelihood of deconstruction further down the road when specifying materials and systems to be used in the current project. Material selection and assembly type can impact how materials may be deconstructed and reused at the end of the building’s life-cycle.
Perform a site survey to decide whether deconstruction makes sense. This will depend on how the building was assembled and the value of the materials to be salvaged.
Deconstruction is a good practice for maintaining a building material’s integrity so it can be reused. It certainly diverts waste from landfill and contributes to credit compliance as waste diversion.
Typically, good materials to salvage via deconstruction include wood framing, steel columns and beams, hardwood flooring, multi-paned windows, architectural details, plumbing and electrical fixtures, hardware and cabinetry, and high-quality brick work.
Renovation and restoration projects are good candidates for deconstruction.
There are industry standards on good practices for deconstruction as well as directories of experienced contractors, such as the Deconstruction Institute (see Resources).
Deconstruction can take longer than demolition. Project teams should estimate whether the extra labor spent on deconstruction can be offset by the value of the salvaged materials. Other benefits to weigh include the environmental benefits of reduced waste and avoiding use of new resources, and publicity benefits for materials reuse.
The project team should discuss the appropriate recycling process, including whether sorting will occur on or off site. This decision may be made after the general contractor joins the team. Both options have pros and cons (see table).
Early in the project, the architect should be involved in the plan to schedule construction and deconstruction with the contractor.
Hire a general contractor early in the project to discuss the deconstruction process and phasing.
Integrate CWM plan and MRc2 requirements into the construction specifications.
For guidance on how to write LEED specifications and CWM requirements into construction documents, see MasterSpec (see Resources).
If separation is occurring off-site at a comingled or mixed-debris processing plant, make sure the processor or recycling facility can provide documentation for the amount of waste processed, by weight or by volume, as agreed, as well as a diversion rate from the facility. This could be either a project-specific diversion rate supplied by the facility, or a letter from the state regulating body with the facility's average rate of recycling.
Waste prevention is an important part of CWM.
Orienting the GC to the tracking tools early on and providing on-going support to the CWM effort is critical to success.
The GC and project team should hold an orientation meeting to review all LEED-specific issues related not only to recycling and reuse, or salvaging, but also to reducing waste onsite in general.
The GC develops the CWM plan.
A CWM plan is an action plan for how to deal with construction and demolition (C&D) waste. At a minimum, it needs to identify what the recycling goals are, what materials will be recycled, reused or salvaged, which materials will be landfilled, and the estimated amounts of each (either by volume or by weight, but consistently throughout the project), processors that will receive the construction and demolition waste, and onsite procedures for achieving the stated goals.
Developing the CWM plan is the responsibility of the contractor but, ideally, the project team should work together to come up with a thorough CWM plan that addresses not only recycling, but also reusing and salvaging as many materials as possible.
In developing a CWM plan, take into account regional constraints, and weigh the feasibility of recycling or salvaging materials against other environmental factors, such as the impact of hauling waste long distances if recyclers are far from the project site. In such an instance, if site conditions allow, one strategy would be to stockpile material to be hauled only once or twice during a project to cut down on transportation cost and associated environmental impact.
Source separating, or onsite sorting, can yield the highest recycling rate and the best price for materials. Try to encourage the contractor to locate separate containers onsite to sort the materials.
Providing a sample CWM plan and guidelines on how to communicate it to subcontractors and workers can help to minimize any hesitation on the part of the GC.
Hiring construction teams that already have LEED experience and are familiar with CWM is helpful for credit achievement. They may already have developed CWM plans, have existing relationships with haulers and recyclers, and know how to train construction field personnel in CWM practices and track diversion rates.
Review LEED requirements with contractors during the bidding process so that they understand their responsibilities.
Subcontractors should be contractually required to implement their part of the CWM plan. Accountability is key to successfully implementing a CWM plan.
Hire a special deconstruction contractor if required.
Provide a deconstruction-detailed drawing and specification with specific handling instructions for each material to be removed, such as whether it will be salvaged and sold, reused onsite, or marked for recycling.
Require measures for deconstruction in the CWM plan.
The GC is responsible for implementing the CWM plan and making sure the recycling and reuse goals are met. (The GC should make sure to review the action steps and tips associated with developing the CWM plan, above.)
Provide training for each contractor and subcontractor about the CWM plan and the importance of documenting it. Make sure everyone is on the same page regarding recycling goals. Make each training session specific to that trade.
As new subcontractors start work on site, have a LEED orientation session as part of safety trainings or other jobsite orientation meetings.
Consider designating a recycling coordinator (most likely someone in the GC’s office) to deal with all issues both onsite and off-site pertaining to CWM and making sure the plan is implemented properly and followed by all involved.
Weekly construction meetings should include an update, with a biweekly or monthly report collected by the LEED consultant, architect or owner. The CWM plan should outline this step, but it is important to make sure that all subcontractors and the GC are working together to comply during construction.
The contractor should communicate with all subcontractors about the recycling policy to make sure it is being followed. Recycling activities should be discussed regularly at job meetings.
A designated recycling coordinator can facilitate communication with all field personnel and address problems in the field promptly. This can reduce the risk of getting to the end of construction and falling short of diversion goals when it is too late to do anything about it.
The GC and recycling coordinator should track the deconstruction process and make sure requirements and specifications are being met.
The deconstruction contractor submits sales receipts, donation receipts, and recycling weight tickets to the GC or recycling coordinator, so the diversion rates can be included in the CWM tally.
Preserving materials for reuse reduces waste disposal fees.
Train the staff on how to streamline onsite waste sorting. Identify champions within each subcontractor’s team to lead the CWM effort for their teams.
Designate a separate area to place bins for recycling. If waste is commingled (for off-site separation by the recycling center), some additional space is still required to keep wet waste and other garbage apart from recyclables.
A good CWM plan will include measures for waste prevention so that less waste is created in the first place. Consider requesting subcontractors to ask their vendors to use minimal or take-back packaging. As an incentive, specify that all subcontractors are responsible for returning pallets or recycling their packaging.
Use signage to support the CWM plan—reminding subcontractors to sort waste appropriately. Post signs on the sorting bins, garbage cans, and throughout the site. Signs should include whatever languages are needed to communicate with workers on the jobsite.
The recycling coordinator tracks onsite waste recycling every month, or with every filled bin, to stay on track. The bins may fill at different times, depending on the material. Every time a bin is emptied and weighed, fill in the data on the tracking sheet.
In cities where tipping fees are high, a lot of waste haulers separate waste automatically, just to avoid the fees, so contractors and subcontractors may have to source-separate onsite anyway.
Consider fencing recycling areas, screening recycling and trash dumpsters from the public or locating them in an inconspicuous area. Neighborhood “use” of dumpsters to dispose of old mattresses and other furnishings is a problem that contractors deal with regularly, especially in cities where disposal of bulky items is expensive. On the other hand, in areas where there are limited resources for construction waste recycling, projects can stockpile wood and other potentially desirable construction waste and make it available to workers and the community to take home. This material can then count towards diversion.
If separation is occurring off-site, make sure recyclables are not contaminated with other garbage and wet waste. Provide separate containers for food waste and miscellaneous garbage and mark all containers clearly and prominently.
Keeping coffee cups and food waste out of recycling bins can be especially challenging. Use clear signage to prevent this and make it easy for food waste to be properly disposed of by providing trash cans clearly marked and in various locations on the site or at each building level.
If separation is occurring off-site at a mixed-debris processing plant, make sure the recycling facility can provide documentation for the amount of waste processed, by weight or by volume, as well as monthly recycling rate information, which is required for documentation purposes.
Keep an ongoing log of weight tickets and receipts. The GC needs to track construction waste throughout the construction process. It is crucial that contractors request and keep all receipts and weight tickets from recycling companies to prove that diversion goals were achieved, as well as letters from recycling companies certifying their monthly recycling rates.
Maintain a project log to input all the monthly reports in one place. This will track project waste recycling rates and provide an alert if the average is lower than the target of 50% or 75%. Address these shortfalls early in the process to ensure that final diversion rates can be met.
LEED project managers should provide contractors with tracking or log-book forms to simplify the tracking process. See the Resources section for the LEEDuser CWM tracking calculator.
Waste amounts must be tracked consistently, either by weight or volume. If materials are very heavy, it is best to use the weight approach. Most waste processors track by weight, anyway. But this will depend on what the bulk of the project’s waste is made of.
Do not include land-clearing debris or excavated soil or rock in your calculations. Even if diverted from landfill, it is not to be included in the credit calculations. Contractors often think that trees and stumps are still part of the diverted waste, but take them out of the LEED credit form and supporting documentation if the contractor includes them.
Compile construction waste recycling data from all the monthly reports, and complete your LEED documentation online for submission to the USGBC.
Monthly reports from recycling facilities, showing their average monthly recycling rates, are an appropriate form of documentation for this credit.
Build on construction waste management practices for future renovations and remodeling.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Core and Shell Development
To divert construction and demolition debris from disposal in landfills and incineration facilities. Redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process and reusable materials to appropriate sites.
Recycle and/or salvage nonhazardous construction and demolition debris. Develop and implement a construction waste management plan that, at a minimum, identifies the materials to be diverted from disposal and whether the materials will be sorted on-site or comingledA process of recycling materials that allows consumers to dispose of various materials (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal) in one container that is separate from waste. The recyclable materials are not sorted until they are collected and brought to a sorting facility.. Excavated soil and land-clearing debris do not contribute to this credit. Calculations can be done by weight or volume, but must be consistent throughout. The minimum percentage debris to be recycled or salvaged for each point threshold is as follows:
You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.
Establish goals for diversion from disposal in landfills and incineration facilities and adopt a construction waste management plan to achieve these goals. Consider recycling cardboard, metal, brick, mineral fiber panel, concrete, plastic, clean wood, glass, gypsum wallboard, carpet and insulation. Construction debris processed into a recycled content commodity which has an open market value (e.g. wood derived fuel [WDF], alternative daily coverAlternative daily cover is material (other than earthen material) that is placed on the surface of the active face of a municipal solid waste landfill at the end of each operating day to control vectors, fires, odors, blowing litter, and scavenging. material, etc.) may be applied to the construction waste calculation. Designate a specific area(s) on the construction site for segregated or comingledA process of recycling materials that allows consumers to dispose of various materials (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal) in one container that is separate from waste. The recyclable materials are not sorted until they are collected and brought to a sorting facility. collection of recyclable materials, and track recycling efforts throughout the construction process. Identify construction haulers and recyclers to handle the designated materials. Note that diversion may include donation of materials to charitable organizations and salvage of materials on-site.
Source for receiving salvaged or deconstructed materials.
Waste management solutions - New York only.
New York City's only non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials.
A step-by-step guide on deconstruction for contractors.
Template for writing specifications on construction waste management as part of the MasterSpec licensed spec system.
Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers sample spec language.
Sample CWM Plan.
Resources Guide to developing a CWM plan.
This is a resource database of contractors proficient with deconstruction and organizations, distributors, or contractors seeking material to salvage.
This website from the California Integrated Waste Management Board contains information on recycling and the use of recycled-content materials. The site includes many publications available for free download, such as sample construction and demolition debris recycling specifications.
This online database contains information on companies that haul, collect and process recyclable debris from construction projects sorted by zip code.
CMDepot is a place where you can buy & sell excess construction material, tools, & equipment. You simply login, submit a listing of your excess material, and wait for a buyer. If a buyer contacts you, you can work out payment details and a delivery method.
Comprehensive web page on construction waste management for large projects, with links to other resources.
WasteCapTRACE is an online documentation program for tracking construction and demolition debris recycling. It generates a custom construction waste management plan, provides a forum in which multiple team members can record data, and outputs reports and charts for your LEED submission. WasteCapTRACE is priced on a per-project basis, with fees linked to project square footage (like LEED application fees).
PlanetReuse is a nationwide reclaimed construction material broker and consultant company. 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 owners and contractors through every step of the process. LEED documents are also provided for waste management documentation.
This guide is developed by wastematch.org, an organization that matches donors to recipients.
Model specification language that can be used by architects and engineers who want to reduce waste during construction.
Use clear signage such as in these example to keep construction and demolition waste separated for diversion purposes.
Use a tracking sheet and calculator like this one to monitor your credit compliance.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each CS-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.
This document provides key tips and sample tracking sheets and checklists for your project's construction waste management (CWM) plan.
If you use commingled construction waste management, in which CWM is commingled and weighed off-site or calculated using a recycling facility's average diversion rate, you'll need special documentation to justify your rates for LEED. This sample was provided by Sustainable Solutions Corporation.
Should we include food waste and site offices waste in the calculations?
Thanks Charles - I agree. I would encourage all LEEDusers, especially guests, to remember to check other LEED 2009 forums (especially New Construction, which has a large forum) to see if similar questions have been asked/answered. For instance, Ali, see the May 2010 thread on "house hold rubbish" aka food waste (Is "house hold" rubbish considered as construction waste?) - http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc2?all-comments=true#comment-2849.
Good advice Michelle! I would also encourage anyone who asks a question in these forums, and then finds the answer somewhere else, to come back and share the information. We're all in this together! )
We have an interesting situation at a large project, Rebar is being bought from a company which at the same time offers to bend it into the various figures needed for columns etc. This reduces the projects on-site personnel and assures quality pieces. They use the rebars the project buys and then separate the waste which is produced from the rebar, scraps, then sell the waste (small rebar pieces) to a local recycling company. This revenue is given back to the project as it was generated from its rebar scraps. Would the project be able to take into account this recycling even though it is not done on site? This scrap would be generated on-site if the company was not paid to bend the rebar, so technically it is the project which generates it.
Any thoughts will be appreciated.
Roberto - While this idea is well-intentioned and beneficial, I personally would not contribute it MRc2 calculations because the waste is not generated on-site.
However, you could consider including the material that is sold as diverted waste and including it in your overall C&DConstruction and demolition waste calculations - as long as you explain the situation to your review team and outline it in your CWM Plan. I cannot say whether they have encountered something like this that would allow them to sanction it. I would suggest reviewing the LEED Interpretations for MRc2 to see if there is any precedence there. (I looked quickly and did not see anything that would help but please look further.)
Please note that if this project were pursuing LEED v4, this strategy might be able to be considered under Option 2 Reduction of Total Waste Material under MR Credit Construction and Demolition Waste Management - as it deals with source reduction.
I am from the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean and we don't have significant recycling faclities for construction waste. Our project utilizes plyboard and wood as formwork for the concrete works. We are unable to get an agency in the country to recycle these pieces of plyboard and wood which has concrete spills & nails etc. I will like to know if these scraps have to be accounted in the calculations.
Yes, they do need to be accounted for. This could be an incentive to use waste reduction and diversion strategies, such as using reusable formwork, or denailing the wood and finding someone who could make use of it in some way.
The reusable formwork arrived late on the project hence we started with the plyboard formwork. All the plyboard formwork are being reused on site and most likely will be utilized on another project. However it is the unusable pieces we are finding difficulty recycling as some has form oil, concrete and nails. We utilized 2 agents already but they are no longer accepting the scraps again because both of the agents cannot find use for them.
Thanks for the advice, I will have to calculate its effect on the credit.
The job site we are able to begin is inner-city with many restrictions, especially square footage of actual site. There is not enough space to set up multiple bins. Our waste removal provider will take the mixed recyclable bins to their off-site facility, weigh it, and dump and sort it. Percentages will be calculated based on the sorting and provide us with this info.
My question is this, must my provider re-weigh everything once it has been sorted? Or will their percentages suffice.
Maria Luisa - My experience with vendors who do commingled collection is that they weigh and/or measure volume AFTER they have separated/sorted the materials - not before.
I would say that the values provided to you need to be defensible (per the Reference Guide) and I cannot say for sure if weighing beforehand and visually estimating percentages would be.
Does anyone have any experience with this that could supply a more definitive answer?
If on site have some commingled waste , LEED Online form require us to provide supporting document. I wondering that what kind of this document? and What the topic are will involve in this?
Panupant - Please consider looking at the MRc2 forum in LEED-NC (http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc2) for a lot of information on commingled waste. Also, check out the Commingled Waste Diversion Tracking Sheet under the Documentation Toolkit tab.
After that review, please ask your specific questions that remain.
This CS project is a major renovation to an existing building and has separate contractors for demolition and major construction. The project is pursuing MRc2 - Construction Waste Management, is the demolition that was implemented by the first contractor should be included in our LEED effort?
Moretza - Yes. Any waste that is attributable to the project should be included in the calculations for MRc2.
But the problem is that demolition was separately bid from the main construction contract, by the owner and already started. We thought typically, MRc2 requirements are described in the specifications, and implemented, tracked and documented by the General Contractor. So, with two contractors involved in the project how the project team can document for this credit?
I appreciate your help.
It is very common to have a separate contractor (or a specific subcontractor) in charge of demolition. You are right that CWM is typically in the specifications but any contractor (sub or General) can track and document the waste.
I’m not sure if this is what you are getting at but if you can get the data from the demolition contractor, the LEED Project Administrator can enter the data and you don’t to invite the demolition contractor to LOv3. Or maybe you are using the v03 version of the form that requires a signatory? One way to get around that situation of a single signatory is to upgrade to the v04 version of the form that eliminated the required signatory.
IMO - If this is a project that has demolition, then you can’t avoid including the demolition waste just because the project got started on LEED late or had a separate contractor/bid process for demolition.
We are going to collect the demolition report and will enter the data latter.
Thank you for your help.
If a project sent construction waste, meaning gypsum, concrete and masonry; to another construction site for leveling, is this considered a diversion from landfill?
Michael - I would say yes because this material is diverted from the landfill. I would suggest getting a letter documenting the use on the other site and possibly a few photographs.
That's exactly what we are doing, requesting a letter from the other construction site's owner or project manager stating amount of material recieved and attaching photographs demonstrating type of material recieved and final use of the now leveled site.
Thank you Michelle!! If we get any feedback during construction review we'll make sure to post it here.
Our project is a 40-story building, and we are having a hard time managing the debris and garbage produced in superior levels, in order to carry it all the way down to street level, so that it can be removed from the site.
Provided that the quantity of this waste doesn't have a significant impact on our overall calculations for the credit, is there any LEED restriction preventing us from using a plastic chute, so that everything can be removed more quickly?
Thank you all for any help on this.
Antonio - I am not aware of any restriction or problem with using a chute to move the construction waste. As you say, this should not impact the weight or volume of the overall construction debris.
We are currently using an off-site materials recovery facility that is providing documentation each month showing specific weight breakdowns for Trash, Wood, Cardboard, Dirt, Inert and Metal. Using the specific weights, we are tracking 80% diversion. However, the City of LA publishes certified Recycling Rates for the haulers in LA, and the location we are using is only certified by the City for Mixed Solid Waste Recycling at 18.88%, and it does not have a certified recycling rate for Mixed C&DConstruction and demolition Waste. My concern is if USGBC will accept the diversion rate based on our actual weights, or if we need to switch facilities to one that has a city-certified recycling rate for Mixed C&D? Thanks
Kristy - If I were receiving actual breakdowns for my job’s waste and recycling (versus facility wide breakdowns for the month), then that is the documentation I would present to GBCI. I think the LI’s that you are referring to (https://www.usgbc.org/leedinterpretations/LISearch.aspx?liaccessid=3000 and https://www.usgbc.org/leedinterpretations/LISearch.aspx?liaccessid=10060) were written so if a person did not have actual project data they could use the averages for a facility.
My waste hauler has given receipts in both tons and yards. I am using tons for the credit, is there some conversion factor I can use? The receipts in question are for landfill and wood. Thanks.
The Reference Guide has Solid Waste Conversion FactorsEstimates are presented in customary U.S. units. Floorspace estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 square foot is approximately equal to 0.0929 square meters. Energy estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 Btu is approximately equal to 1,055 joules; one kilowatthour is exactly equal to 3,600,000 joules; and one gigajoule (109 joules) is approximately 278 kilowatthours (kWh). listed in Table 2 on page 360 of the first edition. Wood's density is listed at 300 lbs/cy. I would use mixed waste conversion of 350 lbs/cy for landfilled material.
I wonder if I need to include demolition debris if a former building at the project site was demolished for four years ago?
Sandra, I generally tell people that LEED credits like this one cover work that is done within the project scope. Sometimes demo can be a gray area, but with something done four years ago, it seems reasonable to exclude it, if the LEED project was not conceived or active then.
Bentonite mud used for filling in the foundation phase is normally sent to special landfills as hazardous waste, thus being excluded from MR2 calculations.
However, there is a special treatment that uses flocculation and decantation techniques to separate the mud from the water, and what results is a kind of earth-like material that is accepted by end-use entities as regular excavated soil. In a specific project, this earth-like product is being sent to a site that uses soil as material to fill the land (something like ADC material).
My question is: since the product being sent for reuse is a type of earth/soil material, my first hunch is that it would have to be excluded from MR2 calculations. But technically, what should be excluded is "excavated soil" and land-clearing debris, and this material is NOT excavated, despite being a kind of soil; it's a material used in construction. So: CAN we include this in MR2 calculations as diverted waste, or are we not allowed to?
Paola, you pose an interesting question. I think your first hunch is a little misguided because if the product were used as an ADC-like material at landfills then it would be included in the MRc2 calculation. See Calculations on page 359 of the first version of the BD+C Reference Guide, which states, “Any construction debris processed into a recycled content commodity that has an open-market value (e.g., alternative daily coverAlternative daily cover is material (other than earthen material) that is placed on the surface of the active face of a municipal solid waste landfill at the end of each operating day to control vectors, fires, odors, blowing litter, and scavenging. material) may be applied to the construction waste calculation.” The product that results after the special treatment is a result of something that your team brought to the site (Bentonite mud), right? If so, then I would say that since you brought it on site, it is earth-like and not soil, and it is definitely not from land-clearing operations, then you should include it in your MRc2 calculations as diverted waste.
Please note that in the first and second public comment drafts of LEED 2012 they have finally addressed ADC and are excluding it from counting towards diverted debris. See http://www.leeduser.com/topic/leed-2012-certification-2nd-public-comment... for more info.
We have a project that is attempting LEED-CS certification. A tenant in the same building is simultaneously attempting LEED-IDC certification. My question is whether there is a USGBC-approved or "likely to be approved" way to combine the waste bins for these two projects for MRc2 compliance. The general contractor is the same for both projects, and notes that it will be very difficult to use different sets of bins for the TI vs. the Shell work. Many of the subs are the same and it seems like a "waste" to have to have two separate contracts and sets of bins, just for LEED compliance. Does anyone have comments regarding the best way to divide up the waste percentages so that both projects can get credit for MRc2 in their respective rating systems? Does this seem like safe move to combine the waste bins? Thanks in advance.
Elizabeth -- Michelle asked me to share this link to a comment on the NC 2009 forum about a project where she split this out successfully.
What is the difference between these two categories? Demolition debris counts towards waste management and land-clearing doesn't. But how do these two differ from each other?
For example a lot that is partially covered with concrete slab and in other parts of the lot there are some concrete foundations deep in the ground. If I need to get rid of it is it considered demolition debris or land clearing debris?
Petr, please note that the definition for Construction and Demolition debris includes a description of land-clearing debris. It further notes that renovation, demolition, or deconstruction relates to preexisting structures. It states, “Construction and demolition debris includes waste and recyclables generated from construction and from the renovation, demolition, or deconstruction of preexisting structures. It does not include land-clearing debris, such as soil, vegetation, and rocks.” My take on your situation is that the concrete slab and foundations are part of preexisting structures and therefore, you would count as demolition waste – not land-clearing debris – as part of your MRc2 calculations.
1) What is the best thing to do if the waste receipts are in a foreign language (Arabic)? The recycling facility/landfill cannot provide any document in English. Shall I translate them myself, or should the documents be translated at a Certified Translator?
2) The project has sent a considerable amount of waste to local landfills, but did not measure the weight of this waste. Can I approximate the volume of the truck and multiply it by the density conversion factor from Table 2 "Mixed Waste" on page 360 in the LEED Reference Guide?
Many thanks in advance!
Your Arabic receipt question sounds like one for GBCI to advise on.
Regarding the estimating of waste, it has historically not been allowed by GBCI. You might want to check out historic public CIRs which I understand do not apply to LEED v3 projects, however they do provide insight into the credit intent. The public MRc2 CIR of 1/29/09 is very clear about requiring actual vs. estimated weights or volumes.
All LEED documentation must be in English, but there is no need to use a certified translator.
Our contractor proposes to take scrap drywall (new construction) to a landfill where it will be used as "alternate daily cover". I had suggested to him that although this may be a good idea and replaces other materials used as daily cover it is not actually diverting material away from landfill and therefore does not count for diversion. can someone comment please? Thanks, Tom Gray, DRS Architects
Your instincts are right-on but for now, MRc2 still allows gyp and other materials as “alternate daily cover” which counts towards diverted landfill material. I understand that you have a C&S v2009 question and that public CIRs do not apply to v2009 projects, however, this position on alternate daily cover is still the rule for v2009 as I understand it. LEED 2012 will likely change that to disallow ADC which I for one will be happy to see go. If you want to be absolutely sure this still applies to your v2009 project you can always submit a CIR. Refer to USGBC CIR 8/2/08 below:
8/2/2008 - Ruling
The project is inquiring whether the intent of MRc2 is met when project materials are used as alternative daily coverAlternative daily cover is material (other than earthen material) that is placed on the surface of the active face of a municipal solid waste landfill at the end of each operating day to control vectors, fires, odors, blowing litter, and scavenging. (ADC) at a landfill. Any construction debris processed into a recycled content commodity which has an open market value – e.g. alternative daily cover material, etc. – may be applied to the construction waste calculation.
Can you perhaps be persuaded to take another look at ADC and what the options might be? Keep in mind, EPA requires landfills to cover their garbage with 6 inches of some kind of cover every night. Prior to ADC this cover was uncontaminated soil, which, by the mere fact that it was applied to the landfill, immediately became contaminated. We run a MRF where we are able to use screens to catch the fines and small bits of detritus that would indeed go to the landfill anyway. The difference is that they would go as garbage with no useful purpose except to fill space. As ADC they fulfill a Federal Requirement, designed to guard against odor and vermin.
Here in Oregon, we are regulated very tightly by the state Department of Environment Quality who require the generator of the material to submit samples of the proposed ADC, and then they monitor a 12 month test with the landfill operator before they give full authority to continue using the material. Each ADC has to be approved as to the generator and the recipient and is not transferable.
Please don't punish a legitimate use of an otherwise scrap material just because of anecdotal stories about poor operators. How about a specification and definition for legitimate use of the product? I am sure that there are plenty of examples that could be looked at.
Eric, it sounds like with your interest in this topic you might want to consider getting more involved at a committee level with USGBC.
No need to worry about my views on ADC. We are only 1 member company and vote with USGBC regarding future rating system changes.
Sometimes local enterprises in Central America are not that efficient regarding keeping track of their activities and the documentation that need to be submitted lacks of information. Therefor I would like to make sure I have the correct content that all receipts need to have so they can be submitted to the GBCI as proof of proper final destination (recycling, donation to other projects, etc).
The recipts we are requesting contain the following information:
1. Project/clients name (the LEED Project)
2. Material weight
3. Final destination (recycling, landfill, etc)
Will this fulfill the GBCI requirements? Or are we missing something?
Don’t forget to identify the type of construction or demo material that is headed for recycling or the landfill, using categories like Concrete or Wood etc. Be sure the name of the business and contact info is on the receipts too for the hauler or end user. Keep in mind that the receipts, invoices, and loading tickets that you are requesting and compiling will be for your LEED records and compliance tracking. Only comingledA process of recycling materials that allows consumers to dispose of various materials (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal) in one container that is separate from waste. The recyclable materials are not sorted until they are collected and brought to a sorting facility. waste requires “proof” to be provided to GBCI in the submittal documents, which your area may or may not have as an option. That said, GBCI could ask for your backup documentation if they felt it necessary so hang on to your receipts.
Has the Construction Waste Management Plan been written yet for the project? Sharing it with your local enterprises will also help to communicate what your project waste goals are and how you will go about achieving them with their help.
We like to take photos of the more interesting solutions for waste diversion, such as donation as you mentioned, and it becomes part of project’s green story. Rigid roof insulation cut-outs for skylights on one project became an insulated wine cellar for one worker. Metal siding scrap on another project turned into a small horse barn elsewhere.
Valerie, in the example you gave with the wine cellar, how would you count those for credit compliance? Did you measure it and then calculated it weight?
I was thinking about donating some gypsum board to a local church for some construction they are doing, but how would you prove that to the USGBC since you need to include the weight/volume calculations and they will provide no receipt?
David – for the donated materials calculation, I try to always make sure the project will earn the credit threshold goal if for any reason these materials get denied. In other words, make sure the donated materials don’t make the difference between earning the point or points you absolutely need to achieve.
That said, in the case of the rigid insulation for the wine cellar, we obtained the manufacture’s weight figure per full sheet from the product literature. Each of the 35-40 skylight cut-outs were exactly the same size. We calculated how many full sheets we had in cut-out portions and multiplied it by the weight per sheet. We then took photos of the truck loaded up and got a signed statement from the recipient. That was for a v2.2 project. Since we were not audited on this credit, this backup documentation was never seen by USGBC, so I can’t say that this method was formally accepted. But it was the project team’s attempt to meet the credit intent and to practice creative sustainable strategies.
It all makes sense, I was thinking about a signed statement too and somehow calculate the weight by using volume or area depending on the donated material. Thank you very much for sharing this Valerie.
Sometimes keeping track of all receipts and the information in them is difficul, specially in latin america. We have one project that is recycling all concrete demolition (100% of it) but some receipts have the name of the project, other receipts have the name of the general contractor and some other have the developer's name. The same happens with de address, some have the general contractor's address and some other the actual LEED project address.
Is it possible that the general contractor writes a letter saying "receipts A,B, C, D, etc... correspond to the demolition and recycling of concrete waste of XXX LEED project"?
Michael - It’s always a wise strategy to have your backup organized. You never know when you might need to produce it for a reviewer question. I think your idea for a letter is a good idea.
Exactly Michelle, with the amount of time it will take to produce all that information we also believe it is a good idea to have all those letters and all supporting documentation. We just wanted to know what you would think about supporting information with this type of letters.
Thank you very much.
I have a construction project whereby Reinforcing steel bar and structural steel members will be fabricated outside the project site (in the Vendor's yard).
Do we need to require information from the vendor regarding waste management of the scrap material produced off-site, or is the CWMP concerned with waste that is directly produced on the project site?
George, for purposes of MRc2, the credit requires only diverting and tracking waste from the project site itself. You asked about your Construction Waste Management Plan, which does not have to address waste produced off-site, however, if your company wants to encourage responsible waste management from your vendors beyond the credit requirements, you can voluntarily opt to include it in your CWM plan. Just be sure any off-site waste figures are not factored into your LEED credit form tabulations.
Thanks Valerie! That was helpful!
We are planning to recyle our construction waste at an off-site materials recovery facility that claims a 67% average annual diversion rate. However, I noticed in they include land clearing debris in their diversion calcualtions. If you take this number out of the equation, the diversion rate falls to 31%. Our project does not inlcude any land clearing debris, so I am wondering if we can use the 67% rate? Thanks,
Under normal circumstances, monthly reports from sorting facilities showing average diversion rates are acceptable.
However in this case it appears that you would have to gloss over some things to justify using the 67% rate.
I don't see how it could be justified—do you?
I see it both ways. I also know that our project will have large amounts of concrete and asphalt, so our project specific diversion rate is likely to be much higher than the facilites average. But, the facility will not provide a diversion rate for our project - the facility just does not support this. I wonder how many other facilites include land clearing debris in their calcs and how often this goes unnoticed.
I have personally toured two "transfer stations" or "sorting facilities" here in Pgh, PA. We are seeing many projects embrace this easy alternative to on site sorting. Here's the facts: a container leaves your job. Gets weighed in, dumped on sorting floor and weighed out. Now you have a gross weight. Some level of sorting begins, there are no standards, perhaps they just get the good, easy stuff and dump the rest. Or if they are busy, even less sorting is done. The sorted materials get mixed in with all the other previous sorted loads, etc; there is no "re-weighing" of the wood or drywall, etc. just a visual estimate by a staff member. We typically see 4-5 categories on the load ticket, one being landfill, these should add up to 100%. My point is there is very little precision and no effective "watchdog" so be on the lookout for fudged #s!! I think LEED should require a rigorous vetting of these facilities and demand more accountability.
Good points Mark and Tom. I get the impression that in this next wave of LEED building projects and associated services, that the level of “caring” about the sustainable effort actually being successful may be dwindling in some markets. As there are more mandates for LEED buildings, design and construction teams may not have the same motivation or buy-in from the top to drive the commitment in a meaningful way. That said, I can guess that there are services out there that are willing to sign off on LEED forms and data just to move it off the desk and promote how terrific they are. I have seen it.
So in answer to your question Mark, I do imagine that there are off-site recovery facility companies who either don’t look carefully enough at the LEED requirements, or perhaps may not even care enough. If you make the adjustment yourself to omit their land-clearing debris, you can guess that the next guy probably won’t be that conscientious.
Do you have any other options Mark for the waste recycling? On-site? Another off-site facility? Can you bring at least the land-clearing debris issue to the attention of the current company so they can tool up to improve their ‘real’ diversion rates for LEED? If that company can only deliver 31% for LEED projects seeking 50-95%, then they have not really provided the service the market needs. Looks like an opportunity to me.
Looking for examples of tracking tools that work for a GC. We have one, but thought it might be useful to look at others.
Rand, we just added a CWM tracking sheet to our MRc2 Documentation Toolkit. Let us know what you think.
The CWM tracking sheet is very useful, and I was wondering if you are able to provide the password to unlock the spreadsheet so that additional months can be added to the template.
About the CWM tracking sheet, are the tons used "long tons", "short tons" or "metric tons"?
PS. I also would like to have an unprotected spreadsheet so I can translate it to spanish and add more densities, but I understand if you can't provide such thing.
Rubén, I can offer my opinion on the CWM tracking sheet, however I did not create it. The tons are likely to be calculating in a typical US ton (2,000 lbs.) which may also be known as a “short ton” from what I have read.
Tristan will need to respond to your question regarding the unprotected spreadsheet.
Thank you Valerie! I thougt so too...
And regarding the unprotected spreadsheet, I already created one of my own, so thank you anyway!
Hi, I have two doubts about this credit after read all, I want to know if in CWM plan should to have the name of General Contractor or company responsible for transport of waste.
Also want to know if the plan must to have a projection of waste; or I have to understand de plan is just de procedures.
My experience has been that since the General Contractor is ultimately responsible, that firm’s name is on the CWM Plan - especially since transport of waste is just one component of the plan.
The Reference Guide states: “A project’s construction waste management plan should, at a minimum, identify the diversion goals, relevant construction debris and materials to be diverted, implementation protocols, and parties responsible for implementing the plan.” There is no mention of projection of waste that you refer to.
LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal
Earthly Ideas LLC
Reused building components that don’t reach the MRc1.1 or MRc1.2 thresholds may be applied to MRc2 as waste diversion.
If onsite material is being reused but is not being counted toward MRc1 or MRc3, it may count toward MRc2.
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