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.
Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.
I have read in this forum that if no deicer is applied during a performance period that a project would be in compliance with that element of the SSc2 credit requirements.
However, wouldn't the policy still have to spell out a plan that would be compliant? What compliant methodology can be included in the plan that would be capable of doing the job? 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 now requires that no more than 5% of the deicer contain sodium or calcium chloride. I know of no economically feasible alternative to sodium or calcium chloride for application on large areas.
Does any one know of a way to achieve this credit for a typical commercial office building with a surface parking lot located in an area that gets a substantial amount of snow?
Hi Bill, you're right that the plan still needs to spell out sustainability criteria and metrics for snow and ice removal, even if you don't apply deicer. The 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. also raises the bar, as you noted. But the good news is that the requirement that compliant deicers have to be used 20% of the time is still in place... so this means that up to 80% of your deicers can be non-compliant, by weight or volume, and you can still earn the credit. Hopefully using a combination of best practices (reducing treatment areas, using anti-icing products, escalating deicer products based on snow/ice severity, etc) will allow you to hit that 20% threshold over your performance period. Hope this helps!
Hello all. I have a project that is purchasing graffiti remover for use on the exterior of the building. Do you have any guidance regarding VOC limits for this product? I am unable to find a similar product in any of the SCAQMD rule 1168, BAAQMD reg 8 rule 51, or GS-11 standards. The product has a VOC content right at 50 g/L.
Hi Ryan, I don’t have guidance on a VOC limit, but if the product removes graffiti maybe it should be considered a cleaning product rather than a paint/sealant/coating. If that seems reasonable you could then assess it along with your other more typical facade cleaning purchases, like window cleaner. I would conservatively consider the graffiti remover non-compliant and then demonstrate that compliant cleaning products are used at least 20% of the time, by cost or volume. That’s one option I see anyway, if no one chimes in with experience with getting a graffiti remover through the review process.
I need to know if an anti-corrosive paint it's applicable to this credit and if it is, In what category should I rate this product? What is the rule that sets the VOC's limit content? What is the VOC's limit for anti-corrosive paint?
Thanks in advance!
A good rule of thumb is if the anti-corrosive paint will be applied anywhere on the exterior of the building it should be included in this credit. The category best suited for anti-corrosive paints is "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. used on the building exterior". The rule for VOC limits is set by Green Seal's standard GS-11 and can be found at this link:
There are a few VOC limits for anti-corrosive paint, depending on the type of anti-corrosive paint, and they are all given in the link above. Hope this is helpful!
Pablo—Because you posted your question to the EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems.-2009 forum, we have assumed that your facility is pursuing Certification under LEED for Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance.
Kimberly is correct that, under EBOM-2009, SSc2 pertains to policies concerning exterior paint. She mentions Green Seal standard GS-11, which EBOM Sustainable Purchasing Credit MRc3 cites for Facility Alterations & Additions. (See http://www.leeduser.com/credit/EBOM-2009/MRc3 & http://www.usgbc.org/node/1731391?return=/credits/existing-buildings/v20....)
However, if your project is pursuing Certification under a different system, such as LEED for New Construction & Major Renovation (NC), Core & Shell (CS), or Commercial Interiors (CI), the credit numbers and VOC standards may differ, as they may also under LEED for Schools, Retail, or Healthcare. Be aware too that LEEDv4 uses different standards than LEED Version-2009.
In any case, work with your project’s LEED Administrator to determine which standards apply and which products best fit the project’s LEED goals.
What do I do with the snow and ice removal activity during the performance period if we don't get any snow? It appears the requirement is 20% compliance in each operational area. Is the project 100% compliant in this area because they didn't apply any snow melt? Or is it 0% compliant because no snow removal activity was needed? Is this credit not available if you don't have snow during performance?
Hi Michelle, if you don't use deicer during your performance period you're 100% compliant for that component.
Good thing, thanks.
Would the same be true for a performance period in summer months? I'm curious where the line is drawn, since it seems like the summer would be just like an area that does not get snow or ice. However, then it begs the question of how it would work if there was snow during only part of the performance period - is it just that if it snows at least once, you're launched into having to report via a log, but if it does not then you automatically get that part of the LEED point?
Hi Tracy, yep the same thing applies in summer months. Essentially you're only accountable for the deicer that's applied, so if no deicer is needed (due to the season, the project's location, etc), you're off the hook and are considered compliant for that component.
The LEED User "Powered Equipment Inventory" Worksheet, located under the "Documentation Toolkit" tab provides guidance on performance metrics as follows:
How to document performance based on the maintenance strategies at your building:
• If 100% of powered equipment is environmentally preferred, you don't need to track any usage metrics over the performance period. You can use this spreadsheet to demonstrate 100% compliance, just be wary of vendor equipment and be sure to include it in this inventory.
• 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.
• If less than 100% of powered equipment is environmentally preferred, and you use a mix of powered and manual equipment, you'll need to track performance in runtime-hours and provide appropriate documentation showing that environmentally preferred equipment was used at least 20% of the time during the performance period. This spreadsheet can help you organize the different powered equipment you'll need to track over the performance period. Remember to track runtime-hours of manual equipment too (eg. push brooms and rakes) so you get credit for these strategies.
Our project submitted for preliminary review using the second outlined option. Our management plan detailed 11 pieces of powered equipment, 3 of which are environmentally preferable, leading to a 27% compliance rate. However, review comments were received as follows:
"The performance measurement method stated in the plan is the percentage of applicable pieces of equipment, but it is unclear how often environmentally non-preferable equipment is used versus environmentally preferable equipment. Provide a revised plan that includes a performance measurement method for maintenance equipment that describes how actual outcomes and sustainability performance for maintenance equipment practices will be measured and tracked over time. The performance measurement method must be able to quantify how the maintenance equipment is used rather than examine the pieces of equipment in the overall inventory. An example of a performance metric is the number of hours that each piece of environmentally preferable maintenance equipment is used during the performance period".
Based on the review comments, I don't see how they will find Option 2 from above acceptable. Please advise where GBCI/USGBC has the second option outlined, as I am unable to find reference to this approach in the EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. Reference Guide.
Anyone have any insights on this issue?
The template from "Documentation Toolkit" provides an option to track pieces of equipment, as you say. Nevertheless, the LEEDonline form requires to evaluate time of usage. Please see the citation; "Provide documentation, such as activity logs, that demonstrates that for each operational element covered by 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, environmentally preferred practices were utilized at least 20% of the time during the performance period."
In my opinion the plan should define which equipment is used at what conditions. You might want to add a narrative about conditions when it is used. Or change the performance metric to "Run-Time Hours of Equipment" Then, provide activity logs showing duration of usage of each equipment. From my experience, it is good to track 0 hours for such an equipment that was not used during the performance period.
I hope this helps.
I'm now working on a building without exterior 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. (the LEED boundary is based on 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.). However, the building has large, uncovered external terraces.
Can we consider the terrace as exterior surface to implement the Management Plan? Consider that, for the terrace
- Deicing is needed during winter season
- External Cleaning is due during all season
Can we consider facade cleaning activity for the purpose of this credit?
Hi Fabio, both the terrance and building facade need to follow the plan and credit requirements. Hard surfaces like patios and terraces fall under the definition of 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. for this credit. And facade cleaning is directly covered by the "cleaning of the building exterior" portion of the credit requirements. Thanks!
Thank you so much!!
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.
Do you know if it is no more than 5% total, or 5% per product (eg. is a product that includes 4% CaCl and 3% NaCl compliant)?
Hi Tracy, it's 5% total for non-compliant ingredients. So your example of a product that contains 7% CaCl and NaCl would not be considered environmentally preferred.
Thanks, Trista! Does anyone happen to know a good product that is compliant? Seems like it's a tough one to actually find in stores, and you have to pay quite a bit in shipping if you purchase online...any tips would be much appreciated!
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!
We had trouble with that approach in our review- see my post above, dated 4/7/15. I recommend updating your Equipment Tracking Worksheet as we lost this point based on following the directions on your worksheet. But, in LEEDUser's defense- you offer much more comprehensive guidance than the Reference Guide- there is zero guidance in there on how to track compliance with equipment which makes it seem a bit arbitrary and inconsistent that this approach was rejected by the GBCI.
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
Work with your maintenance staff and relevant vendors to determine what environmentally preferable deicing practices are appropriate for your project building.
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