EBOM-2009 MRc5: Sustainable Purchasing—Food

  • EBOM MRc5 Type3 Food Diagram
  • Lots of menu options…

    This credit requires your project to demonstrate that at least 25% (by cost) of food and beverage purchases during the performance period meet any of the following standards and criteria:

    • Harvested and produced within a 100-mile radius of the site
    • USDA Certified Organic
    • Food Alliance Certified
    • Rainforest Alliance Certified
    • Protected Harvest Certified
    • Fair Trade
    • Marine Stewardship Council’s Eco-Label

    You can double the value of a purchase in your credit calculations if it meets one of the sustainability standards and is regionally harvested. Projects located in regions with significant agricultural activity may have an easier time meeting the credit requirements using the regional option.

    …But they may be tough to swallow

    This credit can be a difficult one for many projects, for a variety of reasons.

    Many food-service providers are new to the idea of customers requesting local and sustainable options, and some may not be prepared or knowledgeable enough to work with your needs. In other situations, the service providers may be the ones deciding what products make their way into the project building, and they may be averse to the idea of purchasing new and potentially more expensive products, especially if they don’t share your interest in social and environmental values.

    Documentation can also get complicated. Small buildings or those that serve very little food may have the easiest time simply because they have less to track. Multi-tenant buildings or buildings that are served by more than one vendor will likely have the most difficult time tracking sustainable food purchases.

    Target higher-cost items

    Foods and beverages that meet the credit criteria may often be more expensive than conventional options—but they also may have many human and environmental health benefits. Sustainable food can be more nutritious, preserve local ecology, reduce negative impacts from transportation, and support local producers.

    Because this credit is cost-based, you might be able to get to 25% sustainable purchases simply by targeting a few higher-cost items.

    StrawberriesConnecting with local, in-season food sources is a tasty way to earn this credit! Photo – USDA

    Change with the seasons

    The way you choose to approach this credit may vary between the winter months and the summer months. You might consider “eating with the seasons”—some fruits, vegetables, or other foods may not be grown or available in your region at certain times of the year, so prioritize other foods that are more readily available in your region.

    A good example is tomatoes—most regions of the U.S. do not produce tomatoes during the winter months. Purchasing tomatoes only when they are in season locally will cut down on the amount of food you are sourcing from distant places.

    Don’t forget about catering

    Most buildings employ a catering service at some point. For larger buildings and multi-tenant spaces, catering may represent such a small portion of total food purchases that it’s not worth tracking. But for smaller projects and single-occupant buildings that don’t offer regular food service, catering may present the only opportunity to get credit for sustainable food purchases. In these types of buildings, as long as 25% of the food and beverages served at catered events meet the sustainability criteria, you can earn the credit.

    What does "produced" mean?

    The MRc5 credit language refers to food that is "produced" within a 100-mile radius. This language has led to some confusion about whether food cooked or processed regionally, but with nonregional ingredients, can qualify. In fact, the food must be harvested regionally, and if the food is processed, the processing must also occur regionally. For example, in order for cheese to qualify, the dairy farm and processing plant must both be within 100 miles of the project site.

    Consider these questions when approaching this credit:

    • How is the project team currently sourcing foodstuffs?
    • If the project team does not provide food services in-house on a daily basis, does the project building ever sponsor or host events at which food is provided? Either of these scenarios provides an opportunity to pursue this credit successfully. Buildings must host at least one event where food is served to earn this credit.
    • If your team sources products through a vendor, does the vendor have access to credit-compliant products, and can they document that the products meet the criteria? (See examples identified in the Reference Guide and Documentation Toolkit)
    • Is the project team willing to find a new vendor or take over food purchasing if the current vendor is not on board?
    • Who assesses the products currently used and identifies sustainable alternatives?

    FAQs for LEED-EBOM MRc5

    Can our project earn this credit with just a one-time purchase of food for an event in the building?

    Yes, if it is during the performance period.

    We have several tenants in our building. Do we have to track food purchases from all of them? What if they won't give us their purchasing data?

    Yes, tenant purchases must be included in this credit, much like the other LEED-EBOM Materials and Resources credits that cover purchasing. However, the EBOM 2009 rating system offers a 10% floor area exemption option for multitenant buildings. In instances where tenant data cannot be gathered, or the EBOM applicant does not have control over tenant operational practices, the project team may exclude up to 10% of the building’s gross floor areaGross floor area (based on ASHRAE definition) is the sum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building, including basements, mezzanine and intermediate‐floored tiers, and penthouses wi th headroom height of 7.5 ft (2.2 meters) or greater. Measurements m ust be taken from the exterior 39 faces of exterior walls OR from the centerline of walls separating buildings, OR (for LEED CI certifying spaces) from the centerline of walls separating spaces. Excludes non‐en closed (or non‐enclosable) roofed‐over areas such as exterior covered walkways, porches, terraces or steps, roof overhangs, and similar features. Excludes air shafts, pipe trenches, and chimneys. Excludes floor area dedicated to the parking and circulation of motor vehicles. ( Note that while excluded features may not be part of the gross floor area, and therefore technically not a part of the LEED project building, they may still be required to be a part of the overall LEED project and subject to MPRs, prerequisites, and credits.) for any credit. See the Documentation Toolkit as well as page xxii of the Reference Guide for further information.

    Do we have to include food and beverages that are purchased for our vending machines?

    Vending machine purchases may be included or excluded at your option, according to the LEED Reference Guide.

    What if a food item is produced nearby (say at a processing plant) but the ingredients aren’t sourced locally. Does that count towards the 100-mile regional criteria?

    No, the food must be either harvested, or harvested and processed (if applicable) within 100 miles to count. Said differently, foods that are processed within 100 miles must also be harvested within 100 miles to count.

    For example, apples picked from an orchard within 100 miles of the project site meet the regional criteria. Applesauce using apples picked at that orchard and shipped to a processing location that is also within 100 miles of the project building also meets the regional criteria, since it is both harvested and processed regionally. If apples are sourced outside the 100-mile radius, and sent to a processing plant within the 100-mile radius, the applesauce does not meet the criteria. Just remember that assembly or preparation locally is not enough to qualify; anything processed/produced regionally must also be harvested regionally to count. To give another example, takeout from the local Domino's Pizza outlet most likely doesn't meet the credit criteria.

    The regional criterion is often a better fit for fresh fruits and vegetables, or simple foods like milk and cheese. For foods made with several ingredients, you may have an easier time focusing your efforts on the approved third-party certification programs, rather than trying to track the source location of each ingredient.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Before the Performance Period

Expand All

  • Begin by identifying who purchases food and beverages for use at the project building. This should include food outlets, vending machines and catering. 


  • Food purchases that fall under this credit may be made in a variety of settings and outlets within the project building. These might include: 

    • employee cafeterias;
    • tenant restaurants or retail food outlets; 
    • vending machines;
    • employee kitchen supplies; 
    • catering (owner or tenant) provided on-site;
    • or takeout food that may be provided at a meeting or other office function.

  • For small buildings, coffee alone might qualify the building for this credit. 


  • Some offices may only purchase coffee and tea, and the occasional pizza or birthday cake. By making sure that 25% of these purchases (by cost) meet one or more of the sustainability criteria, buildings that purchase very little food can earn this point. 


  • Create an inventory of your building’s standard food and beverage purchases. If your project is a multi-tenant building and some of your tenants purchase their own food and beverage products for use in their space, you are permitted to exclude up to 10% of those spaces (based on floor area) in order to comply with the credit. This may be necessary if you have a tenant that is not willing to purchase food and beverages that comply with the credit criteria. 


  • Determine which, if any, sustainability criteria (one of the third FarmFood purchases from local sources qualify for this credit. If the food is also certified organic or to another sustainable standard, you can get double credit for the purchase. Photo – USDAparty certifications and/or production within 100 miles of the project site) apply to each foodstuff currently purchased by contacting manufacturers or distributers, reviewing product literature, or searching databases of certified products.

     


  • Unless your building has made significant efforts to purchase sustainable foodstuffs in the past, it is unlikely that current purchasing practices will comply with the credit criteria. 


  • Before doing hours of research to identify MRc5-compliant products, consult your vendors. Some will be able to offer guidance on which products are compliant. 


  • Require suppliers to provide documentation demonstrating that the products comply. This can come in the form of a website that clearly identifies how individual products meet one or more of the sustainability criteria, or it may be product literature that manufacturers provide on their website.


  • If your project team does not purchase food and beverage products through a vendor or third party, research sustainable alternatives to conventional products. Begin by looking into the products offered by current distributors.


  • Establish a system for tracking the cost of all foodstuffs purchased during the performance period, both compliant and noncompliant. (For examples, see the Documentation Toolkit.)


  • Food products that meet sustainability criteria are often more expensive than conventional food products.


  • If the 25% credit threshold is too high, work with vendors to bring in environmentally preferable food products as much as possible. This will contribute to environmental benefit of your project, and may bring you closer to achieving the credit in the future. See LEEDuser's Guide to Sustainable Food Certifications to determine which food products are the most important to buy from sustainable producers due to environmental and health concerns.


  • The regional criterion is often a better fit for simple foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy. For foods made with several ingredients, you may have an easier time focusing your efforts on the approved third-party certification programs, rather than trying to track the source location of each ingredient.

During the Performance Period

Expand All

  • After your project team identifies compliant products, make sure they track all their food purchases throughout the performance period, both compliant and noncompliant. 


  • Collect product cut sheets demonstrating the compliance of at least 25% of the food products purchased.


  • Record purchases on a tracking sheet—separate from the LEED Online form—so that the information is easily accessible throughout the performance period. (See sample tracking sheet in the Documentation Toolkit.) Remember to transfer all purchasing data from your offline tracking tool into the credit form before you submit your project for review.


  • Shipping and handling costs must be either consistently included or consistently excluded in your calculations. 


  • Work with occupants to ensure the program’s success. Communicate about the program and its benefits—communicating about the health benefits of organic food in particular may help occupants feel that their company or building owner cares for their wellbeing. On the other hand, occupants who are unaccustomed to local or organic food may need to adjust their expectations—for example, to expect imperfect-looking produce or seasonal variations in what foods may be available. Get building occupants on board with new products. 

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance

    MR Credit 5: Sustainable purchasing - food

    1 point

    Intent

    To reduce the environmental and transportation impacts associated with food production and distribution.

    Requirements

    Achieve sustainable purchases of at least 25% of total combined food and beverage purchases (by cost) during the performance period. Sustainable purchases are those that meet 1 or both of the following criteria:

    • Purchases are labeled USDA Organic, Food Alliance Certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Protected Harvest Certified, Fair Trade, Marine Stewardship Council’s Blue Eco-Label or are labeled with the European Community Organic Production logo in accordance with Regulations (EC) No 834/2007 and (EC) No 889/2008.
    • Purchases are produced within a 100-mile (160-kilometer) radius of the site.

    Each purchase can receive credit for each sustainable criterion met (i.e., a $100 purchase that is both USDA Organic and is produced on a farm within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the project counts twice in the calculation, for a total of $200 of sustainable purchasing).

    Food or beverages must be purchased during the performance period to earn points in this credit.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    When purchasing food and beverages, specify that the items meet 1 or both criteria in this credit. Consider using catering companies that purchase locally grown and/or organic foods.

Organizations

Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International Certification

Fairtrade Labeling Organizations (FLO) International is a nonprofit that develops and reviews fair trade standards and provides support for certified producers. FLO-CERT provides the certification of products.

 


Food Alliance

Food Alliance is a nonprofit organization that certifies farmers who produce food in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way. 


Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Blue Eco-Label

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent nonprofit that certifies fisheries that meet sustainable requirements.


Blue Ocean Institute

A great resource on seafood and marine life conservation.


Protected Harvest

Protected Harvest is a nonprofit organization that independently certifies farmers’ use of stringent environmental growing standards. To find stores that sell Protected Harvest-certified products, see here


Rainforest Alliance Certification

Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods and land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.

 


U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Organic Program

The National Organic Program, established in 2002, is the federal regulatory framework that governs organic foods. The website features detailed information on USDA organic standards and regulations. 


Local Harvest: Community Supported Agriculture

Provides information about how consumers can buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.


Slow Food USA

Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.


Glynwood Guide to Local Food Menu

Glynwood’s mission is to help communities in the Northeast save farming. They work at the intersection of the needs of communities and the opportunities available to farmers and landowners. Their unique niche is to empower communities to support farming and conserve farmland, while also working their own land to demonstrate the economic viability of environmentally sustainable agriculture.


Sustainable Food Policy Guide

Outlines sample food purchasing policies that address a range of social and environmental concerns, as well as identifies sustainable food purchasing policy options.institutions, and their potential for beneficial impacts on the food system. 


Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association

An introduction to CSA and national listings by state.Anyone, including individuals, institutions, and office campuses, can participate in a CSA.


Local Harvest

A national resource for on famers’ markets, family farms, organic and sustainably grown food.


Eat Well Guide

Guide for local and sustainable foods produced in the United States and Canada. It includes family farms, restaurants, farmers' markets, grocery stores, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, U-pick orchards, and more.

Publications

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

Articulates the relationship between fresh food, working landscapes, healthy eating and supporting local farmers.


Food Eco-Labels: A Purchasing Guide

Outlines sustainable food purchasing policy options, the implications of these policies for institutions, and their potential impacts on the food system.


Rodale Institute

Rodale Institute offers a farm locator. Rodale Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach.

Food Purchases Tracking Sheet

Use this tool to track compliance of food purchases with sustainability criteria.

Sample LEED Online Form

This sample LEED Online form with tips and sample data demonstrates how to document MRc5.

Extrapolation for Non-Participating Tenants

Purchasing and data tracking must cover the entire building, including tenant spaces, with the exception that teams may exclude purchases for up to 10% of your building's floor area if that area is under separate management. This sample calculation shows the impact of non-participating tenants on purchasing credit calculations.

LEED Online Forms: EBOM-2009 MR

The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems.-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.

v06 forms:

v04 forms:

v03 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."

81 Comments

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Gabriel Frasson Project Manager OTEC
Sep 11 2014
Guest
83 Thumbs Up

Ecocert

Anyone knows if LEED accept Ecocert Seal?

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Nate Gillette Director Natura Architectural Consulting LLC
Jul 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
151 Thumbs Up

Restaurant Supplies (i.e., napkins, paper products, etc)

We are documenting the cleaning materials and other purchases in IEQ and MR but we see no where to document the paper products. Where do you account for that?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 13 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Nate, have you checked out MRc1?

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Nate Gillette Director, Natura Architectural Consulting LLC Jul 14 2014 LEEDuser Member 151 Thumbs Up

Absolutely and it does not appear that typical restaurant supplies count as an ongoing consumable under MRc1. Surely someone here has worked with restaurants, no? Thank you!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 14 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Nate, I disagree about MRc1, and would suggest we carry on this conversation on that forum. If you could, please read through our guidance on that page and post why you think they don't apply?

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Nate Gillette Director, Natura Architectural Consulting LLC Jul 14 2014 LEEDuser Member 151 Thumbs Up

Sure thing Tristan. Standby.

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Maximiliano Martinez Project Manager PowerSeal Pipeline Products Corporation
May 14 2014
LEEDuser Member
17 Thumbs Up

Vending machines

Hi, I am wondering if this credit can be earned when the facility have some vending machines which provide beverages and snacks for the employees, but the company doesn't provide any other kind of food from a third party. So just vending machines.

Thank you

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 13 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

David, see the FAQ above about vending machines. They may be included; therefore, if this is your only food purchase, they will help you qualify for the credit.

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Emmanuel Pauwels Owner Green Living Projects s.l.
May 08 2014
LEEDuser Member
2281 Thumbs Up

Alcoholic beverages

Does food and beverages include alcoholic beverages as well or only soft drinks and water?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G May 08 2014 LEEDuser Expert 1677 Thumbs Up

I think including them makes sense because some of the referenced sustainability criteria (like USDA Organic) are applicable to alcoholic beverages.

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Emmanuel Pauwels Owner Green Living Projects s.l.
Mar 21 2014
LEEDuser Member
2281 Thumbs Up

coca cola

Would coca cola bottles be considered regional if the bottling plant is within the required distance?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Mar 21 2014 LEEDuser Expert 1677 Thumbs Up

Good question. A product can only be considered regional if the individual ingredients are also harvested within 100 miles. In this case, the sugar cane, etc would need to meet that requirement in order to qualify. Beverages are particularly difficult to get credit for under MRc5 through the regional option!

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Emmanuel Pauwels Owner, Green Living Projects s.l. Mar 21 2014 LEEDuser Member 2281 Thumbs Up

I thougth so. And besides, coca cola may not be that healthy either...

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Michael McPheron
Mar 19 2014
Guest
7 Thumbs Up

Amish Foods

We are entertaining the idea of having lunches of locally produced food. We live in an area with a high Amish population and anticipate buying a lot of food from them. Is there a way that we can prove the food was locally grown, harvested, and processed within 100 miles? Because they grow and process their own food, we know it meets the requirements but are unsure how to document it.

Thank you!

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Mar 20 2014 LEEDuser Expert 1677 Thumbs Up

Hi Michael, I think you could use a Google map with a radius drawn in to pinpoint the location where the food was grown and processed (and show the 100 mile requirement is met). I’d provide a narrative explaining that you purchased it in an Amish community, and if you can include the name of the community and/or a website that confirms that such a community exists where you indicated on your Google map, you’d be totally fine. Hope this helps!

Trista

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Michael McPheron Mar 21 2014 Guest 7 Thumbs Up

Trista,

This is what we will do. Thank you so much for your help!

Michael

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LEED member
Feb 17 2014
Guest
2 Thumbs Up

Events Venue

If the building tenants (FTEFull-time equivalent (FTE) represents a regular building occupant who spends 8 hours a day (40 hours a week) in the project building. Part-time or overtime occupants have FTE values based on their hours per day divided by 8 (or hours per week divided by 40). Transient Occupants can be reported as either daily totals or as part of the FTE. Residential occupancy should be estimated based on the number and size of units. Core and Shell projects should refer to the default occupancy table in the Reference Guide appendix. All occupant assumptions must be consistent across all credits in all categories.) never purchase food at the building, but the space is used for events, then do those food purchases need to be counted toward MRc5? For instance, the building on my project is solely a venue space, so if a wedding rehearsal is scheduled, the client must choose from a pre-approved list of caterers for their event. The building does have a preparation area with refrigerators, but no equipment for cooking. Do we need to contact everyone in the pre-approved list to work out a sustainable foods purchasing agreement? Thank you for the help.

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Elliot Powers, LEED AP BD+C
Oct 06 2013
LEEDuser Member
491 Thumbs Up

20% Documentation Requirement

I cannot seem to find any language, either in the RG, LEED Online credit form, or in any prior discussions here that specifies how this 20% requirement applies. That is, wouldn't only the compliant purchases, rather than ALL purchases, during the PP be subject to the 20% documentation?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Oct 06 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1677 Thumbs Up

Hi Elliot,

The documentation requirement applies only to products that you're claiming as sustainable, so the reviewer can spot check that the products comply with the credit requirements. The credit form usually notes this next to the "Upload" button.

Best,
Trista

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Aurélie Kazour Bellevue Medical Center
Aug 02 2013
Guest
17 Thumbs Up

Documentation expectations?

Hello. I work in a hospital, serving an average of 200 meals a day. I am not sure about what documentation is expected to meet the sustainable food purchasing standard. 100% of fruits & vegetables are local but documenting that (other than maps & estimations) seems difficult. Another question is about fruits & vegetables from the project's garden. Can they be included in the tracking program even if they are not 'purchased'?. Any clarification would be very appreciated. Thank you.

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Aug 02 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1677 Thumbs Up

Hi Sami,

For this situation I recommend figuring out which fruits/vegetables make up the bulk of your food costs. Then you can document the distance requirement for as few things as possible to get to the 25% threshold. I think the key here is doing enough to demonstrate you met the credit threshold, and not going overboard to prove that every item meets the requirements.

As for the garden question, its great that you source food right from your own site. Documenting this for LEED purposes is a little trickier, but you could try to figure out the market value of the vegetables produced and work that into your calculations. Writing a narrative and providing supporting calculations can help the LEED reviewer understand your approach.

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Magda Aghababyan CEO Co-Energi (Pvt) Ltd.
Jun 03 2013
LEEDuser Member
553 Thumbs Up

Distance calculation

Hi, In a situation where we buy a certain product from a retail supplier who is within the 100 mile radius, but the actual manufacturer is outside that limit is it still possible to pursue this credit?

In essence are we to consider the distance to the actual manufacturer or to the supplier from whom we buy this product?

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Ahmed Younis Instrumentation and Control Engineer / LEED AP BD+C, Dar Al Handasah Jun 03 2013 Guest 184 Thumbs Up

Hi Magda,
Consider the manufacture which is the place of final assembly of components into the building product (to be within 500 miles).

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jul 31 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1677 Thumbs Up

Hi Magda, just to clarify, if you're talking about food products the distance requirement is 100 miles. And you're right that the manufacturer (e.g. location of harvest/production) is the important point, not the supplier.

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H.K.C.B. Heendeniya Co-Energi (Pvt) Ltd.
May 11 2013
Guest
108 Thumbs Up

Food sustainable purchase - Compliance demonstration

I have a small question regarding assessing compliance of sustainable food purchase. Suppose we have a fully locally made food (Ex. Ice cream) coming in a plastic container that is either imported or manufactured locally with imported plastic material. How do you assess whether this food product can be counted as a sustainable purchase?

Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 12 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

The focus of this credit is the food itself, not the container. So I would focus on where the ice cream itself comes from.

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Michelle Bracewell-Musson Owner, LEED AP Musson General Contracting & Green Expectations Sustainability Solutions
May 04 2013
LEEDuser Member
1111 Thumbs Up

Tenant/Owner Do Not Purchase Food for Occupants...So I Did.

I have wriiten verification the Tenant (State Office) and Owner do not make food purchases (none for tea/coffee either), therefore, I bought my own UDA Certified Organic and had a the LEED Charrette at the site a year ago. Will this comply? I will make one more purchase for a meeting I am having this week at the site for Owner/Tenant Representative, because it has been so long. Seems a little too good to be true.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 12 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Michelle, that does take the credit into ground that I haven't heard of projects going before, but at the same time, it's consistent with the barely existent threshold that is well understood with this credit. I don't see an issue.

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Nena Elise
Feb 27 2013
LEEDuser Member
3544 Thumbs Up

Excluding Tenants

I understand you can excluded up to tenant spaces up to 10% of the square footage of the building. However, our tenant spaces is slightly higher then 10%. We don't have control over tenant purchases, so for our other MR c 1-4 we are counting tenant purchases as 0% sustainable and estimating costs for them past on our own costs per sq ft. Would it be possible to employ the same strategy for this credit? Has anyone had sucess with that?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 22 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Nena, yes, you can do the same thing here.

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Lee Ann Walling, LEED AP ND Principal Cedar Creek Sustainable Planning Services
Feb 19 2013
Guest
86 Thumbs Up

Sustainable Food policy

Hi we are a state agency and usually aren't able (by law) to provide food for ourselves with taxpayer funds, nor do we have a cafeteria. However, there are some occasional opportunities such as Employee Recognition when we are able to have food provided.

I have two questions:
1) Are occasional opportunities such as this (once or twice per year) enough to document in an attempt to receive the credit? and
2) There is no policy template or apparent requirement for a written Sustainable Food policy. Do I tack MRc5 onto the MR Sustainable Purchasing prerequisite and start documenting?

We have a documentation opportunity coming up next month. Thanks.

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Feb 21 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1677 Thumbs Up

Hi Lee Ann,

There's no minimum amount of food purchasing required to be eligible for this credit.

I think I just answered the second part of your question in the MRp1 forum (you can include MRc5 criteria in the MRp1 policy at your discretion - but its recommended).

Trista

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Tiffany Moore LEED Documentation Consultant Built Kansas City LLC
Feb 13 2013
LEEDuser Member
845 Thumbs Up

Locally produced foods

I have two examples of foods that meet the intent of this credit, but don't fit fully into the 100 mile limit. I'd be interested to know if anyone has an opinion or experience with this type of situation.

Dairy products: Processing/packaging plant 20 miles from project site, raw milk drawn from a coop of farms within 200 miles of plant. In 2012 they documented over 50 percent of their raw milk came from within 100 miles. Will it work?

Bread: Baked and packaged in a local commercial bakery; ingredients are locally produced with the exception of a small part of their flour. Will it work?

Both of these foods are produced by commercial food service companies that are committed to local production and other certifications and can validate their sources. Is it enough?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 22 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Tiffany, I think in both cases you can make a case that the products should earn credit, but on a fractional basis. Treat it as an "assembly" similar to 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 veneer on a recycled-core door.

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Cara Koepf Planner Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Jan 02 2013
Guest
11 Thumbs Up

Would Bottled Water count toward the sustainable food credit?

Our project is a state office building and the only purchased food is bottled water. There is also the food ordered for employee annual recognition ceremony. Can we use the bottled water that meet the EPA EPPEnvironmentall preferable products (EPP) are those identified as having a lesser or reduced effect on health and the environment when compared with competing products that serve the same purpose. (USA - Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Program - Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute) to get this credit? If not can the food purchased for the annual event that is purchased through the building but served in an outdoor park be documented for meeting this credit? Can you please advise. Thanks

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jan 04 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1677 Thumbs Up

Hi Cara,

These are good questions. The credit requirements are fairly strict in terms of the allowable standards for sustainable food/beverages, and Cradle-to-Cradle certified isn’t one of them. For your second question, food purchased for an event sponsored by the building is eligible, however, I’m hesitant to say its eligible when the event is located off-site (and presumably outside the LEED project boundary). My sense is that only food/beverages consumed at the building should be included in this credit. For example, if a company purchased lunch for its employees at an off-site restaurant, that food wouldn’t be eligible for inclusion in this credit. That said, if you can make a good argument for counting the purchases made for this event you may want to give it a shot.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser BuildingGreen, Inc.
Sep 17 2012
LEEDuser Moderator

updated spreadsheet

LEEDuser has updated the Sustainable Food Purchases Tracking Sheet in our Doc Toolkit. (see above)

The spreadsheet now gives weighted (double) credit for purchases that meet more than one sustainability criteria. This matches the credit form and allows teams to more accurately track achievement. It also generates your overall percent achievement by comparing your sustainable purchases to your total purchases (sustainable and non-sustainable) so you can easily see if you're complying with the minimum credit threshold or earning exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements..

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Allen Doyle Sustainability Manager, University California Davis Dec 01 2012 LEEDuser Member 99 Thumbs Up

Can you get double credit if an item is organic and fair trade, for example?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 02 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

No. The two credit criteria are 1) some sustainable attribute such as organic, or 2) regional. You can get double credit if you meet both criteria.

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Tiffany Moore LEED Documentation Consultant, Built Kansas City LLC Mar 07 2013 LEEDuser Member 845 Thumbs Up

Tristan,

I'd love to see the tracking sheet expanded to allow all food items to be entered. The non-sustainable items would have a $0 value in the far right column, but could calculate the total cost of food and percent on a rolling basis. As purchases are made each week or month, they are added to the spreadsheet and it becomes a live tool. Some of the other LU tracking tools work like this and are very helpful.

Thanks!

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Aron Weis Energy Manager Architect of the Capitol - OSP
Jul 23 2012
Guest
283 Thumbs Up

2 questions - first pet food, then people

1) There is a kennel on-site. Does this credit apply only to sustainable human food purchases or can we include sustainable dog food?

2) No food services on-site. Do we track individual, private food purchases?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Sep 03 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Aron, I would see pet food as a gray area. The credit language simply says "food" so to be on the safe side I would include it, but if you didn't want to include it, you could make a case for that.

I haven't seen anything specific about individual purchase being or not being included, but I assume they are not included, because a) including them would be a little too intrusive and diffiuclt to track, b) purchasing credits generally address management activities, and c) never heard it come up before.

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David Tompos President NTA, Inc.
Mar 21 2012
Guest
96 Thumbs Up

USDA Organic Seeds

The company I work for is in the process of applying for certification, and I have a question regarding whether Organic seeds may be counted towards the sustainable purchases: food, credit. The business is in the process of preparing and organizing an organic garden on the business premise. The vegetable garden will use only 100% USDA organic certified seeds. The seeds have been purchased by our business, the garden will be planted, weeded and harvested by our employees, and the vegetables will be eaten by the employees. Can we claim the value of the organic seeds for this credit, since the food they produce will be eaten by employees? Does anyone have any experience, suggestions or any notion whether a review council will accept this?

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Jenny Carney Principal, YR&G Mar 21 2012 LEEDuser Expert 8013 Thumbs Up

David, What about trying to assess a value to the food itself (which will be higher than that of the seeds)? You could certainly count them as within 100 miles of the building, and the end products would have more value than just the seeds. Of course, tracking would be more complex, and you'd need to justify the fair market value of the food produced.

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Iñigo Aizpuru
Jan 23 2012
Guest
57 Thumbs Up

MRc5 for a convention hall with two restaurants

Hi, we are analyzing the feasibility of obtaining an EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. Certificate for a Convention Hall in Spain. In the Hall there are lots of meeting rooms to be rented and 2 restaurants. Regarding this credit, we understand that obviously food purchased by the restaurants should be included. However, I am not so sure if we should include the catering services that are widely used for meeting rooms. In this second case, the food is brought into the building already prepared, and the Convention Hall has no control over it (I mean, it is not purchased by any company located in the Convention Hall, but purchased by the company who rents the room to hold the convention/meeting).

Apart from that I would also appreciate if you could explain how 100-mile radius purchase can be proven.

Thank you!

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Natalie Bodenhamer Associate, Altura Associates, Inc. Jan 23 2012 Guest 846 Thumbs Up

The food purchased by the business renting the convention space is included in the scope of the project. The LEED EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. Reference Guide makes it clear on page 294 that purchases from multiple tenants are included in the scope of the credit – while the businesses renting space may be doing so on a very short term basis, they are still purchasing food and beverages for use on the site. With that said, I understand that it would be very difficult to track these purchases (and all of the sustainability criteria details) as the purchases are not controlled by the owner/manager of the facility. On page 294, there is also guidance for excluding up to 10% of the project buildings total floor area, which gives you some leeway as you consider how to treat these conference spaces.

To document food harvested and produced within a 100-mile radius, I recommend first establishing the location of the harvest and/or production facility. This can be done via product detail or statement from the manufacturer. Next, I would explicitly show the distance from the harvest and/or production facility to the site by identifying those two locations and the distance between them on a map. Google Maps or Google Earth work well for this sort of measurement.

Best of luck to you!

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Dan Ackerstein Principal, Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC Jan 23 2012 LEEDuser Expert 8910 Thumbs Up

I think Natalie's reply on the issue of the outside catering is totally logical and its very likely that GBCI would agree. Certainly a company who brings in an outside catering service for their own functions in their own building must include those purchases in the credit calculation. However, I think there's an interesting counterargument that in this (admittedly rare) situation, the parallel is closer to that of an employee who brings lunch from home. This food purchasing situation is significantly more removed from the situation where a long-term tenant's purchasing choices must be included in purchasing data, because your tenants are by nature extremely short-term (and therefore totally outside the control of the building management, much like the individual food purchases of employees bringing lunch from home). It really falls neatly into the cracks between situations anticipated by the rating system. That being said, I wholly agree that Natalie's conclusion is the safest bet, but if you really had a case to make about purchases outside the catering service purchases, I might be tempted to try it. Of course, the above is based on a presumption on my part that the space-renters are contracting with a wide variety of outside/external caterers, rather than with a single catering service which operates in partnership with the building itself; in the latter instance, Natalie's recommendation is ironclad.

Hope that doesn't muddy the waters,

Dan

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Iñigo Aizpuru Jan 24 2012 Guest 57 Thumbs Up

Thanks Dan. That´s an interesting point of view. But I reckon we are dropping this credit, though. Seems like too risky.

Iñigo.

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Andy Rhoades Partner Leading Edge Consulting
Sep 07 2011
LEEDuser Member
523 Thumbs Up

Sustainable Food Calculations

Our project does not include any restaurants within the scope of the LEED project boundary, so we are looking to include all catering purchases made by each company, not individuals (our office tower has 3,500+ occupants). Everything has to go through security, so documenting (receipts) should not be a problem. My questions is, how do you identify whether a particular meal choice is fully sustainable or not when it's made up of multiple ingredients?

Example: A pizza uses organic sauce, but the rest of the ingredients are conventional and the caterer may opt to not participate in tracking where each of their ingredients come from. Would you break the cost of that product apart or consider the entire meal meeting the sustainability criteria? When you compare this credit to other similar ones (most commonly found in NC (materials & resources tracking), they account for a percentage of the product to meet a particular standard. (I.e. 10% of PCR + 20% RRM in Carpet tile.)

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Natalie Bodenhamer Associate, Altura Associates, Inc. Nov 03 2011 Guest 846 Thumbs Up

Hi Andy, that is a very good question. I have yet to see any guidance on that issue. I think your suggested approach of % of sustainable ingredients would be a valid approach - perhaps that is worth a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide for your project. As documenting the % of ingredients that meet sustainability criteria will be very time consuming, I recommend performing some preliminary calculations in advance to see if you're likely to meet the 25% threshold. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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Andy Rhoades Partner, Leading Edge Consulting Nov 04 2011 LEEDuser Member 523 Thumbs Up

Thank you Natalie. I will keep you posted on the CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide response.

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Tiffany Moore LEED Documentation Consultant, Built Kansas City LLC Feb 13 2013 LEEDuser Member 845 Thumbs Up

Andy-how did this work out? I would be interested to know how they responded to the idea of calculating part of a food item.

Thanks!

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Amanda Redmond-Neal
May 06 2011
Guest
199 Thumbs Up

scope of eligible foods and beverages

Most of the organizations in my building purchase only the standard office fare by way of foods: coffee, juices, maybe some popcorn. The food purchasing habits of one non-profit, however, are complex enough that I am second-guessing the line that I have drawn between foods that should and shouldn't be included in the scope of this credit.
I assume that business lunches that the company pays for but which take place at a restaurant off site are excluded. And I assume that anything purchased for employees to consume in the office is included. I'm also including food/drink for meetings of the membership. But the organization also leads its members on nature expeditions. During these trips, food is purchased to be prepared at camp and restaurant meals are reimbursed. Should I include the groceries but exclude the restaurant meals? Camp meals don't seem too different from refreshments for member meetings in practice. What would you do?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 24 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Amanda, I agree with your logic in most of the examples you gave. With the groceries purchased for eating in camp, I am not sure they should be included. Do they enter the building, or are they prepared there? It seems like they need to be related to the building in some way to be eligible.

I think to some extent you can interpret things as you need to, as long as you err on the side of inclusiveness, and overshoot the credit threshold.

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Richard Navarro
Jan 13 2011
LEEDuser Member
824 Thumbs Up

Separate Spreadsheet

Hi,

I just received my comments back from my project, and they are telling me that I need to input all the information into their LEED Online spreadsheet. I normally wouldn't have a problem with that, but I have to input at least 200+ separate unique items, and their online spreadsheet is painfully slow as more and more items are inputted.

I initially input all the information on my own spreadsheet and submitted it open to them so they could see the calculations. I was told by a representative that this was an acceptable way to submit, back before our group submitted. But now it seems its no longer acceptable?

Has anyone gone through this? Any advice?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 20 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Richard, unfortunate as it is, that is how it is. GBCI does insist that we use their forms, even  when it's a big pain. The only good thing is that USGBC is working to develop tools that will make this easier in the future.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 21 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Richard, I would also contact GBCI about this, since it's a practical issue with their forms, and since their rep gave you permission for this originally. They might be responsive to a request related to this.

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Simon S. SL+A International, Taipei
Dec 21 2010
LEEDuser Member
4626 Thumbs Up

Cans or Packed Food

Most restaurant will have inventories on Cans or packed food, especially for tomatoes sources, sweet corns, sausages, etc.

if these food was manufactured within 100miles, will it be possible to contribute weight into this credit?

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Natalie Bodenhamer Associate, Altura Associates, Inc. Dec 21 2010 Guest 846 Thumbs Up

Hi Jason,
If items were produced within 100 miles contribute to the sustainable cost.
Natalie

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Simon S. SL+A International, Taipei Dec 21 2010 LEEDuser Member 4626 Thumbs Up

Thanks Natalie, but will it be ok if the source/raw material outside the 100 miles radius?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 28 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Jason, there is some grey area around this question. See the discussions above.

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Ravi Bajaj Education Manager, San Diego Green Building Council Nov 01 2011 LEEDuser Member 104 Thumbs Up

I just got a review comment about this on an EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. project, saying that not only does the food need to be extracted and processed within the 100-mile radius, but also the packaging as well. Not sure if this is just my review team, or if this is now official, but we got this review comment. Hope this helps, although I think it might prove as more work.

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deborah lucking associate fentress architects
Oct 21 2010
LEEDuser Member
1338 Thumbs Up

Bottled water anyone?

We propose adding filters to water faucets in kitchens, pantries, etc in an owner-occupied commercial building, instead of purchasing bottled water. Does anyone have any experience submitting this as a credit? Would it be under this credit? Or MRc1? Or is it an innovation point, if we can demonstrate the savings in fuel and material....
thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 22 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

I don't see how this contributes to any LEED credits, since it's not about a purchase, and it's not about waste management, except for the best kind, i.e. prevention.

I am also doubtful that it could earn you a point under IOc1. Innovation credits must generally be comprehensive strategies, not just impelementation of a single technology, as you're doing here.

It strikes me as a good thing to do, but as sometimes happens, not something that LEED currently recognizes.

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Andreas Hintz LEED AP (BD+C), BREEAM In-Use Auditor, DGNB Consultant ikl GmbH
Oct 01 2010
LEEDuser Member
108 Thumbs Up

Documentation

Hi, I`m working on an office building to gain LEED EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. certification. For me, it is not quite clear how to complete the required documentation. I havent seen product documentation that verifies that the product meets the criteria, besides the labels on the packaging. Is it nessesary to keep the packaging?

Thank you for your help!

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Natalie Bodenhamer Associate, Altura Associates, Inc. Oct 04 2010 Guest 846 Thumbs Up

Good question! The extent of the documentation guidance in the Reference Guide is “retain documentation from product suppliers that verifies that the product(s) is organic or local.”

In the past, I have submitted invoices that indicate the sustainability criteria. Your suggestion of keeping product packaging would work as well – instead of keeping every piece of packaging, I would take a photo (and keep it on file) of the product package for each type of product that meets the criteria. You can submit a photo as documentation support.

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Yun Day Firm Administrator, Shlemmer+Algaze+Associates Nov 02 2010 LEEDuser Member 476 Thumbs Up

I to am a little confused about how to document this credit. We are going to use organic catering to achieve this credit. What specific documentation do I need to get from the caterer? Is "Organic" always "USDA Organic"? If the caterer says their food is organic will they need to prove it and how?

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Natalie Bodenhamer Associate, Altura Associates, Inc. Nov 02 2010 Guest 846 Thumbs Up

Hi Yun,
To satisfy the documentation requirements, Project Teams need to include manufacture information regarding purchases of sustainable food. In the case of a caterer or food vendor, I suggest requesting that they provide product information that confirms that the product is USDA Certified Organic. “Organic” does not always mean USDA Certified Organic, which is the third party standard the credit references.
Hope that helps.

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Richard Navarro
Jul 14 2010
LEEDuser Member
824 Thumbs Up

Sustainable Fish Purchasing

Our client is in the south bayA bay is a component of a standard, rectilinear building design. It is the open area defined by a building element such as columns or a window. Typically, there are multiple identical bays in succession. area of Northern California and are very committed to purchasing local sustainable seafood for their corporate food service program. They feel that it is most responsible to purchase seafood from small local fisheries in the San Francisco Bay Area. They rigorously adhere to the guidelines provided by the Monterey Bat Aquarium. They have found that the Marine Stewardship Council program is more typical of larger commercial fisheries and not available through their sources. We would like to propose the following documentation and process as an alternate compliance path for the the purchase of seafood under MR c5 - Sustainable Purchasing Food.

Here is a description of the program that they follow:

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has established ongoing education for chefs and general consumers of seafood. They have developed a list of seafood items and classified them showing what is sustainable at the time and what is in danger of being overfished.

We follow their "Seafood Watch List" and track our purchases with terms Green, Yellow and Red proceeding the product description in our purchasing system. We then run reports that we call GYR reports each month to track our progress.

In our purchasing system we are very specific in our descriptions to the vendors regarding:
- Origin of product
- Catch Method

Should we do an alternative compliance? CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide? Maybe even an innovation credit?

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Natalie Bodenhamer Associate, Altura Associates, Inc. Jul 14 2010 Guest 846 Thumbs Up

Hi Richard. I suggest comparing the Monterey BayA bay is a component of a standard, rectilinear building design. It is the open area defined by a building element such as columns or a window. Typically, there are multiple identical bays in succession. Aquarium guidelines to the Marine Stewardship Council program to determine the equivalence. If the program is equivalent, submit the CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide with the detailed analysis demonstrating such.

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