This credit encourages environmental best practices for building exterior maintenance. It’s among the most commonly pursued credits because it costs little to implement, and is relevant to all buildings, even those with zero lot lines.
Provided that key best practices are thoroughly incorporated into vendor contracts and standard operating procedure (SOPA standard operating procedure (SOP) manual can be used to document routine operations and maintenance practices, and to encourage use of standardized best practices.) language, this credit is not difficult to achieve. Many project teams already employ at least some compliant practices and can focus their efforts on formalizing these practices and expanding them into a comprehensive plan. All plans must address:
Research and adopt environmental best practices for each of the relevant activity areas (see below). Many teams assume that they’re already doing best practices, when in fact they are following standard industry practice. Work with vendors and research practices to identify best practices; the list below illustrates this concept and suggests alternatives.
The credit requires you to implement enough best practices to “significantly” reduce environmental harm. In practice, this means 20% adoption is considered a minimum. However, 100% adoption of environmental best practices may be quite feasible, and makes documentation easier while increasing environmental benefits.
Writing the plan can be the most challenging part of this credit, as project teams have difficulty methodically writing about their best management practices and the associated environmental benefits. See the Checklists tab for specific tips on doing this successfully.
While in large part your vendors can produce other maintenance plans required for LEED, such as a green cleaningGreen cleaning is the use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts and more positive indoor air quality impacts than conventional products and practices. policy or an IPM plan, projects will probably have to produce the building exterior and hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. management plan themselves, while integrating the work of two or three vendors.
Yes, this is an acceptable strategy.
Here are two different scenarios and the performance metrics path for each:
The best metric to demonstrate deicer performance is by the quantity applied in units of either weight or volume. To do this, compare the total quantity of all deicer used during the performance period to the quantity used that is environmentally preferred.
The easiest metric to track for paint and sealants is by purchase cost. Alternatively, you can track the quantity applied in units of either weight or volume.
Yes, vendor equipment must be inventoried and tracked in this credit. Work with your vendors to maximize the use of environmentally preferred equipment at your project building.
Designate a building exterior and hardscape manager, if you don’t already have one. This staff person should be able to facilitate communication between multiple vendors and ensure that their processes and methods complement one another.
Conduct an inventory of all of the equipment, products, and practices relevant to the operational elements of building exterior and hardscape management.
Your equipment inventory needs to include the name of the equipment, the model number, the name of the manufacturer, and the quantity of each type used onsite. This can be challenging if vendors don’t use the same equipment consistently. If this is the case, you should try to work with your vendor to identify the equipment necessary for maintaining the project building and request that they use only those pieces of equipment when working at your building.
After completing the inventory, review the product specs to determine which pieces, if any, of the current equipment meet the credit criteria.
Work with the key operations staff members and vendors (such as the landscaping vendor, snow removal vendor, and construction contractors) to determine which of their current practices qualify as environmental best-management practices.
Don’t just document standard practices—that’s not enough to achieve the credit. Demonstrate and document that your practices are better than standard. Examples of standard versus best practices are shown in the table at right, and in more detail, topic-by-topic, below.
Plan on using environmentally preferred practices to a significant degree over the performance period. The credit language does not exactly define this, but the LEED Reference Guide suggests that following environmental best practices 20% of the time is appropriate.
You don’t have to adopt environmental best practices 100% but it makes documentation easier and greatly improves your environmental profile. It may also be surprisingly feasible.
For each area, you’ll need to either exclusively follow environmental practices, or adopt a metric showing that you followed those practices at least 20% of the time. That might mean, for example, that 20% of the deicer applied was environmentally friendly, or that at least 20% of maintenance equipment is environmentally friendly.
If your facility employs vendors for some or all of the building exterior and hardscape management–related activities, formally incorporate environmental best-management practices into their contract language. This is most easily done when establishing new contracts or during renewal periods, but many vendors are amenable to changes prior to expiration of their current contract. Include sufficient detail in the contract language to explain how vendors should be involved in implementing your plan.
If your team determines that some of the requirements are not applicable to your project site, be sure to fully explain the team’s reasoning. For example, snow and ice removal might not be relevant in your climate zone. However, other exceptions are seldom, if ever, allowed.
Your plan should meet the minimum content requirements for LEED plans as defined on the Policy, Plan and Program Models for EBOM document that can be found on the LEED-EBOM Registered Project Tools page.
In your plan, describe in a clear, detailed manner how each best-management practice reduces the environmental impacts associated with conventional practices.
Changing the frequency of cleaning might help you earn this credit. For example, this might apply to a project that has been cleaning hardscapes once a week, and reduces that to once a month. The project would need to demonstrate the extent to which it reduced its environmental impacts, such as through water and chemical use.
Begin by evaluating opportunities for minimizing your equipment use, replacing conventional equipment with lower-impact alternatives, and choosing equipment designed to minimize or recycle waste.
The LEED Reference Guide does not provide set criteria for green exterior maintenance equipment as it does, for example, for cleaning equipment for IEQc3.4: Green Cleaning—Sustainable Cleaning Equipment. Criteria that are widely accepted as best management practices are listed in the table at right.
Regularly maintaining equipment and following safety procedures is considered standard practice and, on its own, is not adequate to achieve this credit. The following are examples of qualifying features or best practices:
Replace equipment in use with compliant models as needed to reach the minimum 20% implementation threshold.
Consider establishing a detailed phase-out plan for any noncompliant equipment that remains in use.
Purchasing new equipment to comply with the credit requirements is the biggest potential expenditure associated with this credit. There is a marginal premium for some equipment types, but that most of the time the issue is more about the capital cost and that people simply don’t want to replace something that works fine.
Demonstrate how your site minimizes the use of cleaning chemicals, such as through power-washing with water only. Use cleaning chemicals that meet the standards listed in IEQc3.3: Green Cleaning—Purchase of Sustainable Cleaning Products and Materials.
Although project teams commonly use dish soap to wash windows, this practice is only compliant if the soap is Environmental Choice CCD 146 certified. You may also use a glass cleaner that carries the Green Seal 37 label.
Address environmental requirements for paints and sealants. Even if site painting and sealing activities are minimal, your plan must provide guidelines in the event of a future need. Teams that skip this section by claiming that painting and sealing never occur on their site will not achieve the credit.
Referencing local VOC codes for paints and adhesives is not appropriate, as these vary widely and are even non-existent in some jurisdictions. Your plan must specify the use of paints and sealants that comply with the criteria established in MRc3: Sustainable Purchasing—Facility Alterations and Additions. A good plan identifies compliant brands and products and not just the sustainability criteria that products have to meet.
Work with your maintenance staff and relevant vendors to determine what environmentally preferable deicing practices are appropriate for your project building. Review LEEDuser's guide to Environmentally Best Practices for Deicing Application to determine if any of the methods listed can be adopted at your project building.
Determine if anti-icing practices are in place at your project building or if your vendor is willing to adopt such practices. Consider the following tips.
Sodium chloride and calcium chloride deicers should be avoided due to their corrosive properties and environmental impacts, such as contaminating drinking water and local water bodies, desiccating salt-intolerant vegetation, and corroding metal and concrete.
Potassium acetate, potassium chloride, and magnesium chloride are reliable choices for smaller areas such as bridge decks, sidewalks, walkways, and entrances. Potassium acetate is a biodegradable liquid deicer with good ice-melting capacity. It is frequently used as a pre-wetting agent for sand and, though it is corrosive, a corrosion inhibitor is added.
Potassium and magnesium chlorides are frequently used as deicers under sidewalk sand and, although they contain chloride that may be toxic to plants in large quantities, these products, when applied properly, are less environmentally damaging than sodium or calcium chloride products. Potassium and magnesium chlorides are readily available, moderately priced, and easy to apply to sidewalks, walkways, and entrances.
Read labels carefully, and always apply deicers according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Over-application of any deicer can cause damage to surrounding structures. (For more information, see the LEEDuser’s guide to Environmental Best Practices for Deicer Application.)
Both electric-powered and propane-powered maintenance equipment qualify as environmentally preferable compared to gas-powered equipment.
Contractors involved with various elements of your plan carry out their tasks according to their contracts and report all relevant activities to building management.
The staff member responsible for overseeing the plan communicates regularly with all service providers, and conducts routine site inspections and evaluations to ensure that the plan is both in place and functioning as intended.
The responsible party reviews all vendor-provided practices and products prior to contract renewal (typically annually) to identify opportunities for improvement and expansion of environmentally friendly practices.
Track performance when less-than-100% adoption of any of the environmental best-management practices occurs. (See the Standard Practices vs. Best Management Practices guide for additional information.)
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance
To encourage environmentally sensitive building exterior and hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. management practices that provide a clean, well-maintained and safe building exterior while supporting high-performance building operations.
Employ an environmentally sensitive, low-impact building exterior and hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. management plan that helps preserve surrounding ecological integrity. The plan must employ best management practices that significantly reduce harmful chemical use, energy waste, water waste, air pollution, solid waste and/or chemical runoffWater that transports chemicals from the building landscape, as well as surrounding streets and parking lots, to rivers and lakes. Runoff chemicals may include gasoline, oil, antifreeze, and salts. (e.g., gasoline, oil, antifreeze, salts) compared with standard practices. The plan must address all of the following operational elements that occur on the building and grounds:
During the performance period, have in place a low-impact site and green building exterior management plan that addresses overall site management, chemicals, snow and ice removal, and building exterior cleaning and maintenance. Include green cleaningGreen cleaning is the use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts and more positive indoor air quality impacts than conventional products and practices. and maintenance practices and materials that minimize environmental impacts. An outline of acceptable material for a low-impact plan is available in the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Operations & Maintenance, 2009 Edition. Replace conventional gas-powered machinery with electricpowered equivalents (either battery or corded). Examples include, but are not limited to, maintenance equipment and vehicles, landscaping equipment, and cleaning equipment.
Green Seal is a nonprofit organization that identifies and promotes sustainable products and services. Its website lists certified products including paints, coatings, and cleaning products.
This manual includes extensive information on hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. maintenance practices for climates with heavy snowfall and ice.
This manual includes chapters on green landscaping, snow removal, deicing, and other green site management practices.
Complete LEED Online documentation for achievement of SSc2 on a certified Gold LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. 2009 project in Denver, Colorado.
You'll need to develop a document like one based on this template demonstrating the specific environmental best management practices that are implemented at the project building on an ongoing basis.
Look to product cut sheets to give specific information showing that they are environmentally preferable according to the credit criteria. Highlighting each product's relevant sustainability criteria directly on the cut sheet can help the reviewer confirm that equipment and materials are compliant.
Use this spreadsheet to create an inventory of powered equipment used to maintain your building’s exterior and site hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios.. This spreadsheet gives tips on which performance metrics to use based on your project’s maintenance equipment.
This sample LEED Online form with instructions demonstrates how to document SSc2.
Your LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. plans must include all required elements of the Program & Plan Model, which is described in this USGBC document.
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 systems.-2009 SS 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. For more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."
We have an urban project that is adjacent to an alley way. The project has an issue with public urination in that alley. As a result, they use security patrols to dissuade the practice. But they also use power washing as needed and a Microban disinfectant product no more than 2x per year to breakdown salts. The Microban product does not meet any of the Green CleaningGreen cleaning is the use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts and more positive indoor air quality impacts than conventional products and practices. standards in EQcr3.3.
How do I handle this? Microban is technically a cleaning product and doesn't meet any of the interior cleaning requirements. Power washing is also not considered a best practices approach. But obviously urine is a serious bacterial issue.
I could count the # of security patrols during performance. But I still have to list this "unacceptable" chemical under hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. maintenance and deal with the power washing. Any suggestions?
Have a discussion about disinfectants versus cleaning products? Can you do a comparison to other disinfectants? A lot of hospitals use Microban products in lieu of bleach solutions because it is less environmentally damaging than the bleach.
That's a good thought, thanks. It's intriguing to consider this is the only LEED 2009 rating system and the only credit I believe that requires VOC compliance with exterior products.
We have procured certain eco-friendly products for the exterior cleaning of our facades and windows. Moreover those products are manufactured in a laboratory based in India and they do not have any Green Seal certification for the particular products. However the laboratory in the MSDS1. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance.
2. A report that manufacturers of most products are required to make available to installers and purchasers, informing them of product information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures, the existence of potentially hazardous ingredients, and providing instructions for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of products has stated that the product is eco-friendly and that the properties are well within the OSHA standards. Is it possible to meet the credit requirement by utilizing these products or should we raise 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 saying that this product meets the Green Seal standard and then proceed with the documentation?
Unfortunately the product must be labeled by one of the approved sustainability standards to comply with this credit. I think it’s unlikely that 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 would result in USGBC/GBCI ruling that the product is compliant based on the claims of the manufacturer, since the idea is that the product would go through the rigorous assessment required by the various third party standards, and USGBC/GBCI doesn’t have the ability to do this assessment.
It sounds like your project might be located outside the US. Perhaps you can find a product that carries one of the approved global ecolabels?
Eco Mark (Japan)
Blue Angel (Germany)
The Thai Green Label Scheme (Thailand)
Environmental Choice New Zealand
Environmentally Friendly Label (Hungary)
I have been using the LEED User template for the required written management plan. I notice Section 5: Maintenance Equipment reference manual pruning and hand weeding under the "Practices to Optimize" sub heading. I have belabored this topic with the Owner's Rep on the project and their contracted landscape service provider to no avail. They have determined it is not feasible, economically, to do so. If I eliminate these references from the management plan, am I compromising the credit?
It’s totally fine to adjust that part of the plan. You can customize those practices however you like, just be aware that compliant practices must be implemented at least 20% of the time during the performance period to earn this credit. As far as pruning goes, if that activity isn't done manually, a compliant practice to sub in could be to use electric-powered or propane-powered equipment to prune. Hope this helps!
We have an ice melt product that consists of CMA and Dolomite (and a proprietary blend), but the manufacturer will not release the chemical breakdown. Is it assumed that this product is non-compliant?
Proprietary blends are tricky! If the proprietary portion is made of sodium chloride or calcium chloride, but is less than 5% of the total product, the deicer is compliant. If the product has more than 5% sodium chloride/calcium chloride (or if the manufacturer documentation is unclear and the product COULD have over 5%), the product is considered non-compliant. You could also check out 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. 10146 which lays out some alternative compliance paths.
I see that spray paint is exempt for NC. What about EB? If it meets the criteria, can it count toward the total?
I looked through the NC requirements and didn’t see a compliance threshold for spray paint. If you can’t find a standard to reference for spray paint then I think it would likely need to be excluded.
How many sq. ft. of landscape is needed to qualify for landscape credits?
Andrea, all buildings have exteriors so there is no landscape threshold to be eligible for this credit.
Hi Andrea, your post mentioned water efficiency so I wanted to note that there is a landscape areaThe landscape area is the total site area less the building footprint, paved surfaces, water bodies, and patios. requirement for WEc3: Water Efficient Landscaping. At least 5% of the total site area within the LEED project boundary must be vegetated to pursue the credit (so the site area value in the calculation would include the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint., hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. areas, parking footprintParking footprint refers to the area of the project site occupied by the parking areas and structures., etc). But Tristan is correct that there’s no minimum landscaping threshold for SSc2 or SSc3.
We just received the following review comment: "The plan states that the building exterior is cleaned with high pressure water. Although the plan indicates that the pressure washer uses electricity, pressure washing and hosing down sidewalks are not considered environmentally preferable for cleaning purposes. These are standard practices, as they do not use water efficiently."
So, looks like occasionally pressure washing with water only is longer considered environmentally preferable. I recommend LEED User update its Best Practices chart for this credit accordingly.
Wow, I'd like to say I'm really surprised by this review comment, but I guess the divide between USGBC/GBCI and actual market practice is just as big as I thought it was. I'd be interested to see if you have any luck appealing this ruling; maybe it was an inexperienced reviewer who went rogue or something.
If this is truly the standard that GBCI will be setting for all future EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. reviews, they're effectively eliminating SSc2 as an achievable credit for pretty much every commercial building in North America, if not the world. I understand that potable waterPotable water meets or exceeds EPA's drinking water quality standards and is approved for human consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction; it may be supplied from wells or municipal water systems. is a scarce resource, but there are a lot of other components required to earn SSc2 that result in some great environmental benefits; it would be a shame if GBCI pinned all of those other benefits onto the challenging task of cleaning a commercial building and site without chemicals OR water.
Most owners and property managers want to keep their buildings looking clean for obvious reasons and if they have to just sit around and hope it rains really hard on a regular basis in order to earn this credit, they probably won't bother.
Nena, thanks for sharing this review comment. I asked for feedback from GBCI about the policy implications, and I got the following response. We are evaluating our sample documents and templates to see if this policy warrants any updates on our end. Any reactions to this?
"When documenting performance for SSc2 Building Exterior and HardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. Management Plan, the use of a pressure washer generally is evaluated in two plan elements; cleaning the building exterior and hardscape surfaces and the use of maintenance equipment.
"For the plan element cleaning the building exterior and hardscape surfaces, it is standard industry practice to clean the hardscape surfaces with water using a pressure washer or hose. Although using water to clean the hardscape surface may seem more beneficial than using a toxic cleaning chemical, using a pressure washer or hose outright does not use water efficiently and does not significantly reduce water waste. Per the requirements section of SSc2, it states the following: “The plan must employ best management practices that significantly reduce harmful chemical use, energy waste, water waste, air pollution, solid waste and/or chemical runoffWater that transports chemicals from the building landscape, as well as surrounding streets and parking lots, to rivers and lakes. Runoff chemicals may include gasoline, oil, antifreeze, and salts. (e.g., gasoline, oil, antifreeze, salts) compared with standard practices.” As such, in order for teams to consider the use of a pressure washer or hose for cleaning the hardscape surfaces as environmentally preferable, they will need to provide additional information describing how the sidewalks, pavement, and other hardscape on the grounds are cleaned using water demonstrating that environmentally preferable cleaning practices are used. Examples include, but are not limited to, sweeping debris prior to the use of the hose/pressure washer, ensuring no trash enters the storm drainage systems, and spraying in the direction of vegetation such that the excess water is used for irrigation."
Definitely sounds like you should update your templates. The GBCI response is pretty clear that just using a pressure washer is not considered an environmentally preferable practice.
We just got the same comment, though it appears that our project uses reclaimed water.
Unfortunately, it looks like GBCI is engaging in unballoted increases in performance requirements, which is not allowed by the LEED Foundations Document, since this is not a "clarification" or an "administrative update".
It's not our favorite policy, we we appreciate the feedback shared by project teams. LEEDuser's template and guidance on power washing have been changed accordingly.
Would window washing products (dish soaps) that have the US EPA Design for the Environment label count as compliant for SSc2?
DfE products aren't automatically approved under v2009. You can try submitting them as compliant and hope that they pass, or you can use 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 to get official clearance for the approach. But now that DfE is officially approved for v4 projects you may have an easier time with reviewers accepting them under v2009.
We got a reviewer comment saying "Provide a revised plan demonstrating that the cleaning products used on the building exterior and hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. meet the requirements of IEQc3.3. Note that compliant practices must be used at least 20% of the time."
We have a problem of finding cleaning products that meets with requirements of IEQc3.3 and therefore we did not apply for IEQc3.3. But according this comment it seems even though we do not apply for IEQc3.3 we still have to meet that requirement in order to get SSc2. Is this correct?
During the performance period we only used products that are deemed environmentally friendly and deemed biodegradable by the manufacturer. Even though these products does not have the certifications required for IEQc3.3 (and since we are not applying for that credit anyway) I think that should be good enough for us to apply for SSc2.
Am I not correct here?
The SSc2 cleaning products requirement applies whether a team pursues IEQc3.3 or not, so you’ll need to demonstrate the 20% compliance to earn SSc2.
Ok, understood. Thank you. So is this 20% based on cost of cleaning products? LEED online states "20% of the time". This is ambiguous for me because I don't know whether it means all cleaning activities should use certified cleaning products 20% of the time?
Suppose we decide to use a certified product 100% of the time for one particular cleaning activity and not certified products for other cleaning activities. If we can show certified cleaning products cover 20% of the total cost at minimum, is this sufficient to meet the credit requirements?
You got it - you can look at all cleaning activities covered by this credit together. And you're also right that cost is usually the best metric for showing compliance with this credit, although you are also allowed to use volume.
But cost and volume aren't adequate for assigning value to total avoidance of cleaning solutions, such as cleaning windows with water only. Cost and volume are only rough proxies for performance measurement, anyway. Lumping an amount of metal cleaner with window cleaner is an apples to oranges comparison. "Hours of activity" could be another rough measure in my opinion (I haven't see guidance dictating only cost or volume). The variability here should be reason enough to allow for qualitative assessment of compliance %. Is that approach consistent with LEED reviews?
For our members, LEEDuser has updated Section 9 of the Building Exterior and HardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. Management Plan Template that we offer in our Documentation Toolkit above. This is in response to evolving GBCI review comments on this credit. I'd recommend updating to this template.
One question I have for documenting that 20% compliance of maintenance equipment and activities meet environmental BMPs is whether GBCI looks at the maintenance and landscaping activities as a whole, or whether each individual activities (e.g., mowing, leaf blowing, weed whacking) are looked at individually.
For example, if I spent 25 hours lawn mowing, but none of those hours met LEED requirements, and I spent 25 hours for leaf collection, 10 hours of which were using environmental BMPs (i.e., raking), would that show that I am meeting the 20% required to meet this credit?
Hi Matt, good question. All of these activities would be considered by GBCI together. So in your example, if 10 of the 50 total hours were spent manually raking leaves and the rest were completed using gas-powered equipment, you would be hitting that 20% requirement. If the other 15 hours of raking were actually completed using electric or propane-powered equipment, you'd be at 50%.
Does propane count as an alternative fuel? Seems to be one of the most commonly available alternative fuels for landscaping equipment.
Yes, propane is considered environmentally preferable compared to gas-powered equipment.
We have a project with a stone/concrete/brick cleaner that is only used approximately every 15 years. It is biodegradable, low VOC, etc. However, it does not have GS or CCD certification. In fact, we cannot determine the appropriate standard for it. Stone/concrete/brick cleaners do not seem to fall under GS-37, CCD-146, or California Code of Regulations.
Two questions: 1. Can any products which are used with this sort of frequency be exempt to the requirements? 2. If it must comply, under which regulations does it fall?
I wouldn't worry too much about a specialty cleaning product that's used so infrequently, especially if it isn't used during the performance period. As long as you demonstrate that compliant cleaning products were used at least 20% of the time during the performance period, you'll meet the credit requirements.
However, one option that could work is to identify similar product types in the CA Code of Regulations and show that your product's VOC level is lower than the maximum allowed for the similar products. This may be enough to demonstrate to the reviewer that the product is environmentally preferred.
Or you can consider the cleaner to be non-compliant and count it as such in your credit calculations (assuming it's used during the performance period).
Hope this helps!
Has anyone had a project where the owner had lawn maintenance equipment that ran on biodiesel? Could this count as lower-impace alternatives to gas-powered equipment?
Thanks for any insight!
Sara, based on other LEED credits that recognize biodiesel as a renewable energy source, I would think that it would be accepted here as an environmentally preferable option.
I would like some clarification as to whether the building itself needs to own the cleaning equipment or can it be owned by the vendor that cleans the building in order to receive the appropriate green cleaningGreen cleaning is the use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts and more positive indoor air quality impacts than conventional products and practices. credits provided that equipment meets all the appropriate criteria and all implementable steps are being followed?
The key thing with this credit is the management plan—who does it, and owns the equipment, is not relevant to the basic credit requirements. See the Checklists tab above for steps and tips on incorporating vendors.
It is unclear to me what exactly qualifies a piece of equipment as a environmentally preferable. Does it have to meet all the BMPs listed in the chart above? For example does snow blower need to be electric plus less then 70 decibels? Or would it count if it was electric, but 75 decibels?
In my experience, generally equipment that is electric-powered is considered to be compliant. In my experience, you might run into problems if they only environmental feature is the low decibel quality, but being electric or electric plus low-decibel should both work fine.
LEEDuser has had a lot of comments from you that documenting this credit was confusing, particularly when environmental practices aren't employed 100% of our time. We sent the guidance we offer on this page in to GBCI for review, and we tweaked it based on that. So if you are looking for tips on how to document this credit, please check our new and improved FAQs above.
I am still a little confused. If a building has less then 100% environmentally preferable powered equipment, then you must track run time or # of uses? I thought you could also just track # of compliant pieces?
Nena, tracking number of pieces would not be accepted. We have been giving that same advice since as long as I can remember, so this is not new to our knowledge—just new that it is highlighted in our FAQs.
The trouble with tracking number of pieces is that this doesn't necessarily correlate very well with actual implementation of your plan.
Your Powered Equipment Inventory spreadsheet says: "- If less than 100% of powered equipment is environmentally preferred, and you only wish to account for powered equipment (NO credit for manual equipment), you can use this spreadsheet to show that at least 20% of your equipment (by pieces of equipment) is environmentally preferred."
That is why I am confused!
Nena - the ultimate preferred metric is run time hours, but that is most important in cases when you are mixing and matching manual and powered equipment (because otherwise you could claim you had 20 brooms and 1 mower and claim compliance).
Historically, GBCI has allowed a straight equipment count if you are only evaluating powered equipment, though if people have been having trouble in reviews with that approach, let us know!
Can anyone provide guidance on the types of Liquid Ice Melt that would satisfy the requirements of this credit?
Cathy, there is some good guidance on this in the Checklists tab above on LEEDuser. Please post back with any more specific questions.
We received a review comment that the amount of sodium or calcium chloride in the deicer product must be less than 5%. Is there a place where this is specifically mentioned as the requirement? Thank you
Hi Cathy, 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. 10146 (from April 2012) states that "deicer products that contain no greater than 5% of Sodium Chloride (NaCl) or Calcium Chloride (CaCl) in their applied state" are compliant. I believe this is the only place this rule is mentioned.
Do I need to include our snow blower in the Powered Equiptment inventory? Also we use a snow plow that we hook up to a truck to blow the driveways at the budiling, would I need to count the truck we use on the powered equiptment list?
Yes, this would be included in your power equipment. Be sure that it meets the appropriate sustainability requirement, as not all requirements are for all equipment types.
On the flip side, using a snow blower in the place of deicer is a big win for that section of the plan, so be sure to track the instances where you use the snow blower versus deicer.
Thank you for the post! To follow up: Do we need to count our truck and snow plow under powered equipment? Where do I find information on sustainability requirements per type?
Our review comments has one item,
"Provide a revised plan that includes sustainability criteria for sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. used as fillers based on the requirements of BayArea Air Quality Management District Regulation 8, Rule 51."
I searched the standard and found nothing connected with fillers
Where can I find it ?
Why experts raised such problem for we didn't mention any sealants used as fillers.
We are having the same problem with a recent review. We've used the same criteria on paints and sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. time and time again (GS-11 and SCAQMD) and have been approved without any problem about "sealants used as fillers". This is our first review mentioning this. Like Yan Lian, we do not apply sealants used as fillers, did not mention it, and we were also unable to find what is being referenced.
Is this a new standard that needs to be included in SSc2 moving forward? Please advise! Thank you!!
This is strange. Neither the v2009 rating system nor the v2009 reference guide make any mention of "sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. used as fillers" and there have been no LEED Interpretations or Addenda to revise that language. This seems like yet another example of some undercurrent within the GBCI Reviewer community to "unofficially" change credit requirements without any official process or publication to support the changes. Unfortunately, this happens all too often.
The only reference I can find in the BAAQMD Reg. 8, Rule 51 is the following: "8-51-218 Sealant Products: Any material with adhesive properties that is used primarily to fill, seal, waterproof, or weatherproof gaps or joints between two surfaces. Sealant products include sealant primers and caulk." This is a definition of a "Sealant Product" which suggests that the product may be used to fill a gap or joint (i.e. caulk).
My suggestion would be to make the literal revisions to the SSc2 plan and indicate that sealants used as fillers will regulated in accordance with the requirements of 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 Air Quality Management District Regulation 8, Rule 51.
It may also be worthwhile to send a mid-review clarification to your review team to see if they can provide any additional guidance before submitting your final application.
Anyone else have any other thoughts?
We had same comment and the review team reply to our question regarding this particular question was as follows: "The review team is referring to a cross-reference within the EBO&M rating system, between SSc2 and MRc3. This cross-reference is stated on page 11 of the EBO&M reference guide - 2009 Edition, Updated April 2010. The simple clarification would be to refer to the BAAQMD regulation in your building exterior and hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. management plan. Please refer to the MRc3 credit language (page 269 of the EBO&M reference guide)."
We've been trying to sort this out with GBCI. The VOC criteria, and definition of "sealant", are identical in both the BAAQMD Reg 8, Rule 51 and SCAQMD Rule 1168, so the listed values in the LEEDuser template cover compliance with both rules (because they have identical criteria).
We should see reviewers stop asking for a citation of BAAQMD going forward, since the 1168 already covers it.
I just received comments from my LEED Reviewer on 6/19/13 and this same BAAQMD comment for sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. used as fillers was listed. My plan is just to literally add "sealants used as fillers will comply with BAAQMD Reg 8, Rule 51" to order to response to the comment. The actual VOC limits list that the building personnel are using is based on SCAQMD alone.
Jenny - we received the same review comment on 7/31/13. Just a heads up! Perhaps the LEEDuser template should be revised in some manner to resolve this?
If the goal is 100% implementation of the Plan, does USGBC still require activity/tracking log and other evidence to be documented and submitted? Or is that only a requirement if less than 100% is the goal, in which case the documentation needs to provide evidence of 20% or greater compliance in each area?
John, LEEDuser has some good guidance on different scenarios for documenting the credit, including this scenario, under our FAQ, above.
You are generally not required to provide tracking logs unless your goal is around 60% or less. But again, this is a generality. In all cases, the USGBC can push back in the preliminary review and ask for evidence demonstrating compliance.
To avoid the push-back, I advise my projects to require 100% implementation where possible and to track the activities where this is not possible in a non-formal way, such as an activity log.
Do I need to get a list of the powered equipment used by our contract service that is used on site for landscape management such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers?
Any vendor equipment that is used on-site must be included in your equipment inventory. You'll also need to track the use of vendor equipment during the performance period. See FAQ#2 above for more information on how to track maintenance equipment performance correctly for your particular mix of equipment.
Our client has already a large supply of this ice melt left over from last year and I'm trying to determine wether we need them to buy a new product in order to meet the LEED requirments. I know that products containing calcium or sodium chloride are supposed not be used. This product, WinterGreen Ice Melter by Ossian, Inc. does contain upto 69% calcium chloride, however the products claims (and backs up with reserach) that it is benefical to vegetation and does less harm on vegetation than potassium and magnesium chloride products (which LEED prefers). So I wonder if this would be ok since the goal is to reduce harm to vegetation. What do you all think?
WinterGreen Ice Melter:
To date, there is only one, truly vegetation safe ice melter. This unique formulation of calcium
chloride and urea, developed and patented by Ossian, Inc. was found in the Iowa State University study, to
have a beneficial effect on vegetation. Two chemicals that, used on their own, can be very unfriendly to
grass and shrubs but when combined in Ossian, Inc’s uniquely engineered ice melting pellet, and it’s new
liquid version, converts to a vegetation friendly, slow release nitrogen in the soil - actually encouraging
vegetation growth rather than killing it. Backed up by University studies and SHRP melting test standards,
WinterGreen™ is proven to not only have superior melting performance, but can have have a greening effect
on vegetation in the spring. No other known product can make this claim, and back it up. If you’re serious
about green issues and melting ice, there is only one solution.
This credit requires that environmentally preferable practices are implemented at least 20% of the time during the performance period. This means you don't have to have 100% adoption of environmentally preferred deicer, you just need to use compliant deicer for 20% of your total deicer use (by weight or volume applied).
I think the safest strategy here would be to consider the WinterGreen Ice Melter to be non-compliant, despite the product’s claims. However, you can still use it up to 80% of the time and meet the credit requirements, as long as the product used the rest of the time is environmentally preferred. Just be sure to keep detailed application records during the performance period so you can demonstrate that you meet the 20% requirement.
Our purchasing team recently bought an ice melter that contains Calcium Magnesium acetate, which is not one of the three options that LEED specifies. However, the product is "EPA Design for the Environment Recognized and Readily Biodegradable Per OECD Or ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services Standards"...It is my understanding that this will still not comply with this credit - what are your thoughts? Thanks so much for any insight...
My understanding is that the examples provided in the RG is not to be an exhaustive list of environmentally-preferred deicers, so I'd recommend focusing on a option that is demonstratively better that either sodium chloride or calcium chloride. Given that calcium magneisum acetate is know to be minimally corrosive and it's biodegradable, I would consider it to be a compliant option.
Our client is a school with multiple playing fields on the project site. We are wondering if we need to address the field maintenance practices in the policy for SSc2, since it’s not technically hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios.. We are thinking we would include any paints used for lines on the fields under the plan for SSc2, but everything else (equipment used for the field maintenance, turf care, etc.) should fall under SSc3 for Landscape Management? Does anyone else have any feedback for attempting SSc2 & SSc3 in similar school setting with playing fields? And would we need to include anything about the fields' irrigation systems (water cannons) in these plans, or would they fall under the WEc3 for water efficient landscaping? Any help is appreciated, thanks!
I would say a safe bet is to ensure that whatever the product is, regardless of falling under SSc2 or SSc3, that it meets the sustainability criteria listed under the plan. For example, cleaning and maintenance equipment is addressed under both credits. And I would think that the same could be said for paints - if you are using paints on exterior, ensure that they meet the credit requirements of MRc3 at least 20% of the time regardless if the paints are applied to the landscape or the hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios..
Work with your maintenance staff and relevant vendors to determine what environmentally preferable deicing practices are appropriate for your project building.
The goals of SSc2 go hand-in-hand with exterior pest management, erosion and sedimentation control and landscape management.
Consider equipment purchases that meet these credit requirements.
Use only paints and sealants that meet the requirements set forth in MRc3.
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