This credit focuses on diverting waste from landfills by finding multiple alternatives for end uses of the waste, namely recycling, reuse on site, donation for reuse on another site, or resale. All of these diversion methods count towards credit compliance—50% construction waste diverted for one point, 75% for two points.
Look for opportunities to prevent the generation of waste on construction sites because the less waste you generate, the less you have to recycle or reuse to earn the credit.
There are two different approaches to recycling construction and demolition (C&DConstruction and demolition) waste: separating materials at the source (onsite), or commingling them and sending them to an off-site waste sorting facility. Either approach can work well. Your choice will depend on whether there is room for sorting onsite, whether the contractor is willing to take that on, and if there are good sorting facilities nearby.
The ease or difficulty of this credit depends on project-specific and regional conditions.
The general contractor (GC) is responsible for developing the CWM plan early in the construction process, if not before (during preconstruction). The GC does this in collaboration with the project team and is then responsible for implementing it, verifying that it is being followed throughout the construction process, and documenting the results.
Waste generated off-site, even for modular construction and pre-fabrication of major assemblies is not accounted for in the MRc2 calculations. MRc2 looks only at the management of waste generated onsite.
LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #10265 made on 01/01/2013 provides the best official guidance for this situation. The approach that is approved in that situation involves multiple buildings, all being certified to LEED-NC. The ruling allows the project to track together all demolition and construction waste diverted, and to then apply a weighted average based on gross square footageSum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building including basements, mezzanine and intermediate-floored tiers, and penthouses with headroom height of 7.5 ft or greater. It is measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the centerline of walls separating buildings, but excluding covered walkways, open roofed-over areas, porches and similar spaces, pipe trenches, exterior terraces or steps, chimneys, roof overhangs, and similar features. to each LEED project. Each building must meet the required threshold for waste diversion in order to earn the credit and in addition, the Construction Waste Management (CWM) Plan must outline goals for diversion for each building, not just as an aggregate across all projects.
If your project is in a similar situation but with different specific circumstances, LEEDuser would recommend adopting that advice as closely as possible, while accounting for any differences in a way that meets the LEED credit intent. Some projects may want to get an official ruling—either a CIR or LEED Interpretation.
Yes, materials that would otherwise be waste, but that are diverted from the landfill to be salvaged or reused can contribute to MRc2.
No. Hazardous waste does not count and it is excluded from the numerator and denominator portions of the credit calculations. You may want to include a brief narrative on the hazardous waste you found and how your project abated the material.
There has been some debate about this, since on the one hand this waste does not qualify as typical C&D waste, but on the other hand it is waste generated onsite, which this credit is intended to address. LEEDuser's experts recommend including this waste because it falls under the broader definition of waste generated onsite, and because reduction, recycling and diversion programs can be extremely effective in reducing the quantity of this waste. Having workers pay attention to this waste makes them more aware of overall job-site recycling, and not mixing lunch waste with construction waste like scrap metal increases the recyclability of the construction waste.
USGBC has ruled (for example, see LEED Interpretation #10061) that diverting waste to incineration facilities does not contribute to MRc2, but that Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) does meet the intent of this credit. As that ruling states, "The WDF process differs from incineration processes that are not allowed in this credit because the recycling facility provides a value-added process; it is a service that exists to sort and distribute materials appropriate to the highest end uses possible. In addition, the revenue generated by the WDF commodity helps to make this business successful and thus facilitates recycling of wood to other end uses as well as recycling of other materials."
According to the LEED Reference Guide, land-clearing debris includes soil, vegetation, and rocks.
Use the solid waste conversion factorsEstimates are presented in customary U.S. units. Floorspace estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 square foot is approximately equal to 0.0929 square meters. Energy estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 Btu is approximately equal to 1,055 joules; one kilowatthour is exactly equal to 3,600,000 joules; and one gigajoule (109 joules) is approximately 278 kilowatthours (kWh). in the LEED Reference Guide to account for recycled materials in dumpsters billed by volume.
It is typically better to use project-specific diversion data when you can get it, and this data should typically be accepted in a LEED review. However, there are other options.
There are LEED Interpretations such as LEED Interpretation #10060 made on 5/9/2011 that allow use of a facility-wide recycling rate, if approved by local regulators. On similar lines, a 5/9/2011 addendum added this note to the LEED Reference Guide: “For commingled recycling the average annual recycling rate for a sorting facility is acceptable for recording diversion rates only when the facility's method of recording and calculating the recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government authority.”
Either identify a hauler with a strong recycling program, or research and find local recycling facilities to which you can send your hauler.
Research the waste management system:
Check local government websites for recycling programs. Also search for other ways to put materials back in circulation, such as exchange programs and brokers. For example, pallets and packaging can be sold or given away through these programs.
Construction materials vary with project location and building type. Some materials are easier to recycle than others. For example, copper wire and steel studs are readily recycled into new products, but vinyl tiles may not be. Research and specify what materials can be recycled, reused, or salvaged in the project’s municipality or region—and design with these materials so that waste scrap can be diverted from the landfill. For example, specify carpet from a manufacturer that has a take-back program, or ceiling tiles that are easily recyclable. Using precast concrete will avoid waste generation from in-situ concrete that will help in total waste generated.
Demolition projects can give away furniture, computers, and other equipment. Projects can also reuse items like doors, and crush demolished concrete and other paving materials to be reused as fill onsite. Demolition and renovation jobs can present many opportunities for salvaging items like wood timbers, architectural detailing, stonework, and millwork for reuse on another project, sale, or donation.
Research and use manufacturer “take-back” programs as much as possible. Manufacturers increasingly take back equipment and materials at no or low cost to the project. These programs are common with certain equipment and computers, ceiling tiles, and carpeting, for example.
Develop a list of construction materials from the budget estimate.
Determine if the waste will be measured by volume or by weight and keep it consistent. (Most projects pursue measurement by weight instead of volume.)
Target materials that are plentiful and either heavy or voluminous, depending on your documentation approach, and that are easy to recover and recycle to meet the 50% or 75% credit thresholds.
If discarding a lot of heavy stone, metal or masonry products, it will probably be more advantageous to track weight.
If discarding lots of packaging, insulating foam, and other light materials, you may prefer to track volume.
Selecting the right waste processor can minimize cost, but you have to strike a balance between cost and the feasibility of using that waste processing plant based on distance from the site and whether the hauler will agree to use that facility.
Recycling often generates revenue for the hauler who may then reduce the fee for the project. It also generates savings by reducing landfill tipping fees, which is beneficial to the contractor.
Contractors may claim that the CWM coordination and administrative oversight cost more money than recycling is worth, but many good contractors have figured out how to do CWM and can make it work for the same amount or less than typical trash hauling. This is somewhat dependent on the location of the project and available local resources.
If dealing with an existing building and a large amount of material is salvageable, consider deconstruction and materials salvage as an alternative to demolition. The contractor will have to oversee the process carefully. Many resources are available on deconstruction. (See Resources.)
Deconstruction will add extra cost to the project due to the additional labor required to take materials apart, remove nails from wood, and maintain material integrity. Ideally, the contractor will find a buyer for the materials to help offset these costs.
Thinking long term, consider what design decisions can increase the likelihood of deconstruction further down the road when specifying materials and systems to be used in the current project. Material selection and assembly type can impact how materials may be deconstructed and reused at the end of the building’s life-cycle.
Perform a site survey to decide whether deconstruction makes sense. This will depend on how the building was assembled and the value of the materials to be salvaged.
Deconstruction is a good practice for maintaining a building material’s integrity so it can be reused. It certainly diverts waste from landfill and contributes to credit compliance as waste diversion.
Typically, good materials to salvage via deconstruction include wood framing, steel columns and beams, hardwood flooring, multi-paned windows, architectural details, plumbing and electrical fixtures, hardware and cabinetry, and high-quality brick work.
Renovation and restoration projects are good candidates for deconstruction.
There are industry standards on good practices for deconstruction as well as directories of experienced contractors, such as the Deconstruction Institute (see Resources).
Deconstruction can take longer than demolition. Project teams should estimate whether the extra labor spent on deconstruction can be offset by the value of the salvaged materials. Other benefits to weigh include the environmental benefits of reduced waste and avoiding use of new resources, and publicity benefits for materials reuse.
The project team should discuss the appropriate recycling process, including whether sorting will occur on or off site. This decision may be made after the general contractor joins the team. Both options have pros and cons (see table).
Early in the project, the architect should be involved in the plan to schedule construction and deconstruction with the contractor.
Hire a general contractor early in the project to discuss the deconstruction process and phasing.
Integrate CWM plan and MRc2 requirements into the construction specifications.
For guidance on how to write LEED specifications and CWM requirements into construction documents, see MasterSpec (see Resources).
If separation is occurring off-site at a comingled or mixed-debris processing plant, make sure the processor or recycling facility can provide documentation for the amount of waste processed, by weight or by volume, as agreed, as well as a diversion rate from the facility. This could be either a project-specific diversion rate supplied by the facility, or a letter from the state regulating body with the facility's average rate of recycling.
Waste prevention is an important part of CWM.
Orienting the GC to the tracking tools early on and providing on-going support to the CWM effort is critical to success.
The GC and project team should hold an orientation meeting to review all LEED-specific issues related not only to recycling and reuse, or salvaging, but also to reducing waste onsite in general.
The GC develops the CWM plan.
A CWM plan is an action plan for how to deal with construction and demolition (C&D) waste. At a minimum, it needs to identify what the recycling goals are, what materials will be recycled, reused or salvaged, which materials will be landfilled, and the estimated amounts of each (either by volume or by weight, but consistently throughout the project), processors that will receive the construction and demolition waste, and onsite procedures for achieving the stated goals.
Developing the CWM plan is the responsibility of the contractor but, ideally, the project team should work together to come up with a thorough CWM plan that addresses not only recycling, but also reusing and salvaging as many materials as possible.
In developing a CWM plan, take into account regional constraints, and weigh the feasibility of recycling or salvaging materials against other environmental factors, such as the impact of hauling waste long distances if recyclers are far from the project site. In such an instance, if site conditions allow, one strategy would be to stockpile material to be hauled only once or twice during a project to cut down on transportation cost and associated environmental impact.
Source separating, or onsite sorting, can yield the highest recycling rate and the best price for materials. Try to encourage the contractor to locate separate containers onsite to sort the materials.
Providing a sample CWM plan and guidelines on how to communicate it to subcontractors and workers can help to minimize any hesitation on the part of the GC.
Hiring construction teams that already have LEED experience and are familiar with CWM is helpful for credit achievement. They may already have developed CWM plans, have existing relationships with haulers and recyclers, and know how to train construction field personnel in CWM practices and track diversion rates.
Review LEED requirements with contractors during the bidding process so that they understand their responsibilities.
Subcontractors should be contractually required to implement their part of the CWM plan. Accountability is key to successfully implementing a CWM plan.
Hire a special deconstruction contractor if required.
Provide a deconstruction-detailed drawing and specification with specific handling instructions for each material to be removed, such as whether it will be salvaged and sold, reused onsite, or marked for recycling.
Require measures for deconstruction in the CWM plan.
The GC is responsible for implementing the CWM plan and making sure the recycling and reuse goals are met. (The GC should make sure to review the action steps and tips associated with developing the CWM plan, above.)
Provide training for each contractor and subcontractor about the CWM plan and the importance of documenting it. Make sure everyone is on the same page regarding recycling goals. Make each training session specific to that trade.
As new subcontractors start work on site, have a LEED orientation session as part of safety trainings or other jobsite orientation meetings.
Consider designating a recycling coordinator (most likely someone in the GC’s office) to deal with all issues both onsite and off-site pertaining to CWM and making sure the plan is implemented properly and followed by all involved.
Weekly construction meetings should include an update, with a biweekly or monthly report collected by the LEED consultant, architect or owner. The CWM plan should outline this step, but it is important to make sure that all subcontractors and the GC are working together to comply during construction.
The contractor should communicate with all subcontractors about the recycling policy to make sure it is being followed. Recycling activities should be discussed regularly at job meetings.
A designated recycling coordinator can facilitate communication with all field personnel and address problems in the field promptly. This can reduce the risk of getting to the end of construction and falling short of diversion goals when it is too late to do anything about it.
The GC and recycling coordinator should track the deconstruction process and make sure requirements and specifications are being met.
The deconstruction contractor submits sales receipts, donation receipts, and recycling weight tickets to the GC or recycling coordinator, so the diversion rates can be included in the CWM tally.
Preserving materials for reuse reduces waste disposal fees.
Train the staff on how to streamline onsite waste sorting. Identify champions within each subcontractor’s team to lead the CWM effort for their teams.
Designate a separate area to place bins for recycling. If waste is commingled (for off-site separation by the recycling center), some additional space is still required to keep wet waste and other garbage apart from recyclables.
A good CWM plan will include measures for waste prevention so that less waste is created in the first place. Consider requesting subcontractors to ask their vendors to use minimal or take-back packaging. As an incentive, specify that all subcontractors are responsible for returning pallets or recycling their packaging.
Use signage to support the CWM plan—reminding subcontractors to sort waste appropriately. Post signs on the sorting bins, garbage cans, and throughout the site. Signs should include whatever languages are needed to communicate with workers on the jobsite.
The recycling coordinator tracks onsite waste recycling every month, or with every filled bin, to stay on track. The bins may fill at different times, depending on the material. Every time a bin is emptied and weighed, fill in the data on the tracking sheet.
In cities where tipping fees are high, a lot of waste haulers separate waste automatically, just to avoid the fees, so contractors and subcontractors may have to source-separate onsite anyway.
Consider fencing recycling areas, screening recycling and trash dumpsters from the public or locating them in an inconspicuous area. Neighborhood “use” of dumpsters to dispose of old mattresses and other furnishings is a problem that contractors deal with regularly, especially in cities where disposal of bulky items is expensive. On the other hand, in areas where there are limited resources for construction waste recycling, projects can stockpile wood and other potentially desirable construction waste and make it available to workers and the community to take home. This material can then count towards diversion.
If separation is occurring off-site, make sure recyclables are not contaminated with other garbage and wet waste. Provide separate containers for food waste and miscellaneous garbage and mark all containers clearly and prominently.
Keeping coffee cups and food waste out of recycling bins can be especially challenging. Use clear signage to prevent this and make it easy for food waste to be properly disposed of by providing trash cans clearly marked and in various locations on the site or at each building level.
If separation is occurring off-site at a mixed-debris processing plant, make sure the recycling facility can provide documentation for the amount of waste processed, by weight or by volume, as well as monthly recycling rate information, which is required for documentation purposes.
Keep an ongoing log of weight tickets and receipts. The GC needs to track construction waste throughout the construction process. It is crucial that contractors request and keep all receipts and weight tickets from recycling companies to prove that diversion goals were achieved, as well as letters from recycling companies certifying their monthly recycling rates.
Maintain a project log to input all the monthly reports in one place. This will track project waste recycling rates and provide an alert if the average is lower than the target of 50% or 75%. Address these shortfalls early in the process to ensure that final diversion rates can be met.
LEED project managers should provide contractors with tracking or log-book forms to simplify the tracking process. See the Resources section for the LEEDuser CWM tracking calculator.
Waste amounts must be tracked consistently, either by weight or volume. If materials are very heavy, it is best to use the weight approach. Most waste processors track by weight, anyway. But this will depend on what the bulk of the project’s waste is made of.
Do not include land-clearing debris or excavated soil or rock in your calculations. Even if diverted from landfill, it is not to be included in the credit calculations. Contractors often think that trees and stumps are still part of the diverted waste, but take them out of the LEED credit form and supporting documentation if the contractor includes them.
Compile construction waste recycling data from all the monthly reports, and complete your LEED documentation online for submission to the USGBC.
Monthly reports from recycling facilities, showing their average monthly recycling rates, are an appropriate form of documentation for this credit.
Build on construction waste management practices for future renovations and remodeling.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations
To divert construction and demolition debris from disposal in landfills and incineration facilities. Redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process and reusable materials to appropriate sites.
Recycle and/or salvage nonhazardous construction and demolition debris. Develop and implement a construction waste management plan that, at a minimum, identifies the materials to be diverted from disposal and whether the materials will be sorted on-site or comingledA process of recycling materials that allows consumers to dispose of various materials (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal) in one container that is separate from waste. The recyclable materials are not sorted until they are collected and brought to a sorting facility.. Excavated soil and land-clearing debris do not contribute to this credit. Calculations can be done by weight or volume, but must be consistent throughout. The minimum percentage debris to be recycled or salvaged for each point threshold is as follows:
Establish goals for diversion from disposal in landfills and incineration facilities and adopt a construction waste management plan to achieve these goals. Consider recycling cardboard, metal, brick, mineral fiber panel, concrete, plastic, clean wood, glass, gypsum wallboard, carpet and insulation. Construction debris processed into a recycled content commodity that has an open market value (e.g., wood derived fuel [WDF], alternative daily coverAlternative daily cover is material (other than earthen material) that is placed on the surface of the active face of a municipal solid waste landfill at the end of each operating day to control vectors, fires, odors, blowing litter, and scavenging. material, etc.) may be applied to the construction waste calculation. Designate a specific area(s) on the construction site for segregated or comingledA process of recycling materials that allows consumers to dispose of various materials (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal) in one container that is separate from waste. The recyclable materials are not sorted until they are collected and brought to a sorting facility. collection of recyclable materials, and track recycling efforts throughout the construction process. Identify construction haulers and recyclers to handle the designated materials. Note that diversion may include donation of materials to charitable organizations and salvage of materials on-site.
Source for receiving salvaged or deconstructed materials.
Waste management solutions - New York only.
New York City's only non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials.
A step-by-step guide on deconstruction for contractors.
Template for writing specifications on construction waste management as part of the MasterSpec licensed spec system.
Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers sample spec language.
Sample CWM Plan.
Resources Guide to developing a CWM plan.
This is a resource database of contractors proficient with deconstruction and organizations, distributors, or contractors seeking material to salvage.
This website from the California Integrated Waste Management Board contains information on recycling and the use of recycled-content materials. The site includes many publications available for free download, such as sample construction and demolition debris recycling specifications.
This online database contains information on companies that haul, collect and process recyclable debris from construction projects sorted by zip code.
CMDepot is a place where you can buy & sell excess construction material, tools, & equipment. You simply login, submit a listing of your excess material, and wait for a buyer. If a buyer contacts you, you can work out payment details and a delivery method.
Comprehensive web page on construction waste management for large projects, with links to other resources.
WasteCapTRACE is an online documentation program for tracking construction and demolition debris recycling. It generates a custom construction waste management plan, provides a forum in which multiple team members can record data, and outputs reports and charts for your LEED submission. WasteCapTRACE is priced on a per-project basis, with fees linked to project square footage (like LEED application fees).
PlanetReuse is a nationwide reclaimed construction material broker and consultant company. They make it easier to use a wide variety of reclaimed materials in new projects as well as help find new projects for building materials being deconstructed, guiding owners and contractors through every step of the process. LEED documents are also provided for waste management documentation.
This guide is developed by wastematch.org, an organization that matches donors to recipients.
Model specification language that can be used by architects and engineers who want to reduce waste during construction.
Use clear signage such as in these example to keep construction and demolition waste separated for diversion purposes.
If you use commingled construction waste management, in which CWM is commingled and weighed off-site or calculated using a recycling facility's average diversion rate, you'll need special documentation to justify your rates for LEED. This sample was provided by Sustainable Solutions Corporation.
Use a tracking sheet and calculator like this one to monitor your credit compliance.
This document provides key tips and sample tracking sheets and checklists for your project's construction waste management (CWM) plan.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each NC-2009 MR credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.
Version 4 forms (newest):
Version 3 forms:
These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."
According to 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. #10061- Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) meets the intent of credit MRc2. We would like clarification on the definition of “fuel” for the purposes of LEED. Do the following WDF applications meet the credit intent or is it exclusively wood used as fuel to generate electricity?
- Wood used in kilns to fire clay bricks
- Wood used in boilers to generate hot water and/or steam for industrial processes
Guido - I don't have any experience with wood derived fuel. I would encourage you to also look at LI ID #1685 - http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=1685 - for some additional information. This ruling can be applied to LEED v2009 projects even though it was written for LEED-NC v2.0. I think it would be important to consider if the wood fuel is actually a value-added product or part of a value-added process.
If anyone has experience with WDF and can answer Guido’s exact question, please jump in.
In developing countries like Egypt the construction waste management is performed by small traders buying scraps from the contractors to resell it to factories and manufacturers for recycling. Most of these traders are illiterate and have no companies work through. They just make a deal with the contractors to pass by the project site and load specific materials. Consequently, we have no papers record the final destination of any recyclables. All what we have are the permit documents the contractors issued for these traders to allow them to get out the project site with the scraps.
My question is; as the scrap traders have no official company papers and are illiterate has no signature, is it enough to get a confirmation letter from the contractor for the waste types and quantities sold to each trader for recycling?
Abdulrahman - Your logic for documentation is clear; however, just because the traders picked up the waste does not mean it does get recycled, does it? It could be discarded after they leave the site. I see your challenge to be to prove that the materials the traders actually pick up really get recycled. And the documentation that you suggest would just prove that certain quantities left the jobsite - not that they got recycled. While I am not in the position to say what GBCI reviewers will accept for backup, I would suggest trying to look at the ultimate disposal of the material - which I understand may be difficult. And that you contact GBCI via Contact Us - http://www.gbci.org/org-nav/contact/Contact-Us/Project-Certification-Que... - to get direct guidance on the situation.
If anyone has experience with this from an international perspective, please chime in.
Thank you Michelle for your quick reply. The contractor assured that the traders recycle the waste they buy from him for two reasons:
First.. they used to work with him and as a big contractor in the region he knows the traders well and what they do with the scrap.
Second.. the traders pay for all scrap they pick up from the contractor's sites and it is obvious they will never pay for something to discard.
So what only in my hand is to get a confirmation letter from the contractor affirming the final destination of all scrap he sold to his traders. What do you think?
Thanks for these clarifications. Information on the contractor’s experience with the traders would be useful to include in the letter. Including in the letter the contractor affirmation of the final destination of the scrap would make things more similar to the documentation in the U.S. Please know that this is just my professional opinion and GBCI has the final say on what it will accept but I think you are on the right track.
Thank you for your help.
We recently received this clarification from a reviewer who expressed confusion about the monthly diversion rate backup that we supplied from our receiver for commingled diversion.
"Monthly commingled diversion rates from receivers are often project specific in the reviews I see on a regular basis. Multiplying the monthly percentage of diversion by the weight of the project loads for each month to get the diversion amount to be used for project is not the approach described in the reference guide and has not been called out an alternative compliance approach."
Our projects are mostly urban and rarely have the space for on site source separation, so we almost always use commingled diversion. It's my understanding over 50 certified projects that is exactly how we calculate commingled diversion. By soliciting the monthly diversion rate from the receiver, and then entering that percentage along with the total tonnage for that month to arrive at the percentage diverted for our project that we can claim based on what the receiving facility diverted that month overall.
Since the comment seems in direct opposition to what we've always done and the way we fill out the credit forms, can anyone shed any light on what this reviewer means?
My experience with commingled is on a per project basis - where the receiver gives us specific diversion percentage based on our project’s actual tonnage/volume. While I can't shed any light on this specific comment, I would suggest contacting GBCI via the contact form (http://www.gbci.org/org-nav/contact/Contact-Us/Project-Certification-Que...) and selecting “Questions about Review Comments.” GBCI is encouraging teams to contact them with questions.
Note: A 5/9/2011 addendum added this to page 359 of the first edition of the Reference Guide: “For commingled recycling the average annual recycling rate for a sorting facility is acceptable for recording diversion rates only when the facility's method of recording and calculating the recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government authority.”
Thanks, Michelle. And I thought we had a well developed construction diversion industry in our area in Seattle! I've only encountered one receiver who would actually dump and sort a commingled project load individually, making it basically project specific.
Our receivers dump all commingled loads they receive together and sort them together, resulting in monthly diversion percentages. It's too expensive for them to sort each project load separately. This "specific" percentage is supplied to us in a monthly report for our "specific" project that we then use in the form and supply as backup, but it's a monthly rate for any project that used that receiver for commingled that month.
And thanks I've already been through the Feedback process and this was the "clarifying" comment.
We were denied this credit for the first time ever in part I believe because of this issue and in part because the receiving facility included diversion for biomass that they sold the resulting methane from. Biomass was not deemed acceptable despite the market because it's basically "landfilled". We could not however obtain a definition for how biomass is different from Alternate Daily Cover which is currently allowed in our diversion methodologies. The facility was government regulated, guaranteed at least 50% diversion and its use was actually mandated by the City our project was in.
I would very much like to understand both the commingled issue and the biomass issue for future projects. Since so far I haven't had any luck with GBCI, I thought I'd reach out. Thanks for the response.
I’m sorry I can’t be more help but it is good you presented this information for other teams. It is unfortunate that the clarifying information from GBCI contradicted past experience.
Regarding the local recycler that sorts by load, the company did this because without any local or state regulation for recycling rates they were not able to figure out a way to account for LEED for commingled waste, which is their business model (one bin - no sorting). So they don’t do the separate analysis for all jobs just their LEED ones.
Regarding biomass vs. ADC, the situation seems very similar with ADC being landfilled. I am glad that in LEED v4 they are closing this loophole - http://www.usgbc.org/node/2601031?return=/credits/new-construction/v4-draft.
Thanks Michelle. I agree that biomass does seem very similar to ADC. Hence my confusion about one being okay in LEED 2009 and one not. Though I know v4 will address this, for the next dozen projects we have going through LEED 2009 we're still hoping for some clarity. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and the offered resource.
For those intersted in biomass, I have received some further clarifications. Biomass basically differs from ADC in two ways - the biomass waste may not be entirely wood based fuel (LI 10061) AND the biomass waste does not have an open market value. It is possible that biomass made entirely from wood derived fuel would comply, but otherwise it does not.
With respect to the documentation issues, our commingled waste is not project specific. Our use of the monthly facility average is satisfactory. We were ultimately awarded the credit, but it can be very painful if there is a fundamental misunderstanding or miscommunication about the documentation during the review process.
Our projects entire building will be built as modular construction and assembled off-site in Brooklyn and when completed will be transferred to Manhattan. How does this work for the credit? Under FAQ it says not to account for off-site waste and only waste on-site. So does this mean we are not eligible for the credit? I must be missing something. Please help!
Courtney - This credit only addresses site generated waste. Will there be no finish work or any other process on site that generates waste including the site worker’s waste? I don't have experience with modular construction so I checked the Addenda and LEED Interpretations Database. Yet I couldn’t find any additional guidance on a situation where modular construction is used - except for a LEED for Homes LI ID #1856 - http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=1856, which is not applicable for commercial projects.
Does anyone have experience with modular construction and construction waste management that can shed some light on this for Courtney?
Thank you Michelle. I don't understand why only site generated waste and why not waste generated for construction? I mean isn't the intention to divert materials from the waste stream? So really the only waste we use in the calculations is the stuff generated on-site and then we can only document the recycled from that total? Seems so weird to me.
You make some great points. Maybe this is something that should be considered for LEED v5?
Courtney-I just finished constructing (or assembling) a modular building on my property and can tell you there certainly will be some small amount of waste. In our case it was wood scrap, cardboard packaging, paint cans for field applied paint, cement fiberboard and some galvanized metal roof scrap. For LEED purposes, it's not so much the amount of waste generated, but the percentage of that amount recycled, donated or otherwise diverted from landfill. So in our case, it was a couple of small site bins-full, most of which was recycled, maybe 60%. You can also count the crew's (beer) bottles and soda cans, etc. I agree it's not a comprehensive consideration of total waste during the unit's life cycle, but that's where LEED is right now.
From LEED v4's C&DConstruction and demolition Waste Management Credit:
Option 2. Reduction of Total Waste Material (2 points)Do not generate more than 2.5 pounds of construction waste per square foot (12.2 kilograms of waste per square meter) of the building’s floor area.
I'd say this can easily be read to encompass prefab construction.
Thanks all! I guess that is where its at for the moment. Not a perfect system for a pre-fab/modular situation, but I guess it does reduce the amount of waste tracking, etc. we have to do for credit calculations!
Our contractor will most likely reuse some waste materials on their other projects if they have any left over. If they document the amounts by weight or volume they haul away does this count towards credit MR Credit 2? Is their any additional documentation required in this case?
John - I’m not sure what you mean by reuse of waste materials. Do you mean the contractor will bring waste from another jobsite to your jobsite, use some of it (somehow), and then have the remainder hauled away and count towards MRc2 for your project? Typically you can’t capture waste from another project with your values for MRc2.
Thanks for your response. My wording may have been not clear. Sorry for the confusion. What I meant was that our contractor may have left over material from our project (wood, metal, plastic) and recycle that waste into projects for their other customers. So they will haul away material from our job site and store it at their property until they are ready to use for another job.
Thanks for the clarification. What you describe is definitely diversion from the landfill. So, yes, I would count it towards MRc2. I don’t think there is any special documentation that you would need - although a letter from the contractor stating how they handle these materials might be a good idea to have as backup.
We have an existing demolition project in which some of the concrete foundations/concrete slabs/block/brick debris can be taken to a recycling facility which will weigh each load, but some of the same debris cannot be taken to the recycling facility (mostly the brick and some painted block) and must be diverted to either a clean fill facility or a brick re-use company. Both the clean fill location and the brick re-use company do not have weighing capabilities. Could we take the weighed loads that we took to the recycling facility and average the weight of each load and use that calculation to determine approximate weights per load of the loads taken to the clean fill site and brick re-use company? OR do we need to utilize the v2009 MR Credit 2 Table 2 Solid Waste Conversion FactorsEstimates are presented in customary U.S. units. Floorspace estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 square foot is approximately equal to 0.0929 square meters. Energy estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 Btu is approximately equal to 1,055 joules; one kilowatthour is exactly equal to 3,600,000 joules; and one gigajoule (109 joules) is approximately 278 kilowatthours (kWh). to determine the weight per load of the hauls that could not be weighed? If we need to use the table, do we use the unit for Mixed Waste or Rubble? My thought is that since all of these loads are essentially the same materials and we have a way to verify what an accurate weight per load is based on the averages we received at the recycling facility, that this unit would be more accurate than those in the table, but I need some advice from those of you more familiar with a similar issue. Thanks!
Jennifer - I have not had experience with your specific situation. We have utilized a truck scale at another facility (like a local feed store) when a scale is not available at the facility our vendor is hauling to in order to get the weight.
The LEED Reference Guide on page 359 (first edition) states that “if exact material weights are not available, use the conversion factorsEstimates are presented in customary U.S. units. Floorspace estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 square foot is approximately equal to 0.0929 square meters. Energy estimates may be converted to metric units by using the relationship: 1 Btu is approximately equal to 1,055 joules; one kilowatthour is exactly equal to 3,600,000 joules; and one gigajoule (109 joules) is approximately 278 kilowatthours (kWh). from Table 2 or another defensible conversion metric to estimate the weight of construction waste.” I think that your suggested methodology could be considered justifiable - although I would suggest comparing it to Table 2 (Rubble) to ensure it appears reasonable.
We have a project in a small town that is very remote. The nearest recycling facilities are 150 miles away by rail or truck. Another option is 1,500 miles by barge. Is there a maximum distance you can travel to divert construction waste?
There is not a maximum distance prescribed by LEED but it will become cost prohibitive to transport waste long distances and may not make financial sense.
We are currently aiming to achieve this credit on a project by providing on site infrastructure to separate waste and divert from landfill. Can you please advise the strategy/methodology that can be used to divert concrete waste
Mohd - Can you clarify what type of concrete waste you are looking to divert? Do you have a demolition project and it is existing concrete slabs or foundations? Or are you referring to excess concrete from pours on your jobsite?
Also consider selecting Single-page view at the bottom of this page and searching for “concrete” to see if any of the existing thoughts could be of use in your situation.
During a demo of an existing building, many items were sorted onsite and sent to a specific recycler. In one case, scrap metal was sorted from the other demo debris and sent to one recycling place. It was then split into copper and brass when unloaded from the truck (the haul tickets have the weight breakdown of each material on it). Can this be considered "scrap metal (copper and brass)" waste with no support documentation needed or "commingled" waste and I need to provide the haul tickets?
My firm’s strategy has always been to only give USGBC/GBCI information that is asked for in the documentation; however, we always prepare a full set of backup so that we have it available and there is no scrambling if a question arises.
I am not positive how LEED reviewers would interpret your situation. So this is my opinion, since the one case you are mentioned was site separated as metals to be diverted yet you do have the backup documentation, I would list the material as diverted (because it was) and keep your backup if they ask for it. Consider looking at http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc2?page=0#comment-30807 below for a discussion regarding commingled.
This credit is related to rennovation/ demolition for an existing or applies to the new buildings also, since its saying to recycle and/ or salvage constrction and demolition debris.
Also, if you can guide us to find a local party in Riyadh, KSA who provides the onsite expertise for the recycling of the construction and demolition. Thanks,
Yes - this credit addresses demolition of existing spaces/building and waste generated from new construction. Regarding your second question, LEEDuser is not set up to that kind of research for you but maybe others who have experience in Riyadh and have a resource will answer this forum. Also consider contacting a local professional’s society that might have experience with the area.
Our site is starting off with a mock up guest room villa as a test bed before we construct the balance of 90 odd guest villas. We intend on starting our waste management plan immediately with the contractor. My question is would a mock up room project require a special submission in the certification process or do we just roll in the waste collection data (or other MR credits for that matter) with the balance of the project? Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks.
John, it seems to me that the mockup room is in the scope of your LEED project and should be included in your waste management plan and documentation.
It depends. Will your mock up room become part of the permanent building? If yes, then it is included. If not, then I would say that it does not have to contribute because it is not 'permanently installed'. You would also track the other MR/IEQ credits accordingly for the mock up room.
If your mock up room is not part of the final building, I would encourage your team to construct and deconstruct the mock up room as close to LEED as you can.
Thanks for the guidance on this. The guest room will a separate building actually that will be a part of a campus application.
We are currently in phase #2 of demolition of a hotel that we plan to convert to a 4 star resort.
My question is: When should we start submitting information to meet this credit? after complete demolition or after whole project completion?
We decided to pursue LEED right after Phase #1 of the demolition and are now having to track back on all the waste haulers records. seems that they just separated the bins as Metals and Garbage.(assuming the rest was just sheetrock)
Also, since the existing hotel was fairly new - all of the existing furniture, carpets, thubs, doors, fixture/fittings etc where sold for reuse. Can we include those in this calculations?
Dulian - MRc2 is a Construction Phase credit so all its documentation will be submitted after substantial completion of the project. Diverted materials can be recycled or salvaged for reuse. All materials from the demolition that are diverted from the landfill - like the carpets, doors, fixtures, built-in furniture, cabinets, etc., anything that would be considered part of the building - can be counted as such in the calculations for this credit. (For instance, usable furniture that was movable would not be considered construction waste but good on you for keeping it out of the wastestream.) You also do need to track all the landfilled material from the demolition (and the construction later).
If your project is registered, consider getting the form for this credit so you can look more carefully at the documentation requirements. As a LEEDuser member, check out the Documentation Toolkit link above as another way to get the form. This will help explain what documentation you will need to provide to GBCI; however, you will want complete records for your own use.
One of the first things a project creates for this credit is the Construction Waste Management Plan, which is a required upload to LOv3. Your project team administrator should be shepherding the overall certification process and providing you with documentation requirements, tips, and milestones. The LEED Reference Guide is a great source of information as well.
Very helpful, THANKS- just purchased the reference guide so I will spend some time reading through it and getting a better understanding of the requirements. We are all very new to LEED here in the Cayman Islands so I will be coming back with a lot of silly questions (apologies in advance) :-)
Dulian, Welcome to the LEED world. I would be happy to be your consultant on call... Just a quick flight down for monthly meetings doesn't sound too bad at all. I have never been there, but am told that the Cayman Islands are wonderful. On a serious note: Your first LEED Construction Coordinator job will bring a multitude of questions but you are at the right place to get the answers. This LEED user forum is second to none and has been a great go to location for answers to questions. Best of luck.
If plastic and paper is collected together in the same container and taken to a common facility where both are recycled, does this count as commingled waste or can we track this as one waste category?
Adrienn - I think it depends on how the information is reported back to you. Do they report an amount/weight recycled for plastic and an amount/weight recycled for paper? Or do they give you an amount/weight of recycled plastic/paper combo? Also how do they provide you information on where the items are recycled - by individual item or as a combination?
Do you have other recycled materials on the job that are collected commingled?
We are having to remove a couple of medium trees from the site. We will be sending these to the local city for mulching, which will be used as landscape materials for residences.
Do we need to include the weight of the trees with our construction "waste"diversion calcs?
Thanks in advance!
Mark Cloud, LEED AP
It's not possible to include "land-clearing" debris in the MR 2 calcs, unfortunately. However, the credit language recommends that it be diverted wherever possible. Sending them to a mulching facility is a perfect example of what is meant--the downside is you can't contribute to the LEED credit's percentage by doing so. You don't mention whether the residences in question are part of your own LEED project? If so, there may be a possibility of including them in the recycled content calcs, but MR 4's restrictions may preclude this now. Might be good to follow up with that.
Your remark on land clearing possibly contributing to recycled content is of particular interest. We have ongoing construction that included "land-clearing" and excavation for building foundation. Our site subcontractor uncovered numerous large concrete boulders, that were broken into smaller pieces and sent to concrete plant for development of riprap. Some riprap materials were eventually returned for use on our site. Rebar removal from boulders was also hauled-off for recycling. We tracked delivery of the concrete and rebar materials for possible use with MRc4. Do these recovered materials that were recycled satisfy requirements of MRc4? Please confirm.
David - I hope Marian will chime back in here. I have not counted landclearing debris for MRc4. Typically I have focused on higher cost items.
And don’t forget regional materials (MRc5) for the riprap, but again, the cost may not be worth the calcs.
Regarding the rebar, it would be part of MRc2 but not MRc4. You recycled it - but did not use it as recycled material in your project.
They can count in some cases toward MR 4. You have to be careful that the rip rap is called out in your specs under the accepted spec sections (CSI divisions/sections) that MR 4 governs. Div 3-10 and selected 31 and 32 sections (31 60 00-Foundations, 32 10 00-Paving, 32 30 00-Site Improvements and 32 90 00-Planting). Sometimes it can fall into sections outside these "acceptable" ones. Your next challenge will be to document the volume of rip rap coming to your project and to assign a cost to it (fair market value). As to your last two questions: unless you are using the concrete and recycled rebar in your own project, however, you can't count them in MR 4, but you CAN count them in MR 2. Does that help? Also, do some research on the MR 4 restrictions of using mulch toward this credit. I think it falls outside the definition of "recycled."
After the first review we received a comment that furniture calculations should be included in all MR credits 3-7.
Furniture is applicable for reused material and thus counted toward MRc3. It is added to the total material cost and calculated into the following credits (MRc3/4/5).
Why did the review advise us to be consistent with either adding furniture to all or exclude it in all MR credits. All supporting forms and documents are consistent (especially due to using the same Excel spreadsheet and total material cost).
Is it something as trivial as typing in "0.0%" in the appropriate spaces although furniture is not applicable nor does it add or change the outcome of the other MR credits. (Again, the total material cost is consistent throughout all submittals, and I am having difficultly placing where the inconsistency lies.)
Personally, If the comment said 'all MR credits' and not something like 'applied to MRc3 - MRc7' then I would ask the reviewer for a clarification. That flies counter to the Reference Guide. But if you count furniture in MRc5 and you applied for MRc3 and MRc7, then yes, you do have to count it there as well.
OR are you in the wrong forum? Look over the resources for MRc3. You'll need to appy a value to the reuse for furniture and make sure it qualifies as reuse.
Reviewers are human so mistakes could be made in the review comments. Or s/he might have just provided a generic comment for these credits since furniture was included. I would just remind them that you were consistent and that the cost of the furniture is included in the total cost for MRc3-7 per the BDC Calculator.
However, I think you are in the wrong forum for this question because the reviewer did not direct you to include it in MRc2.
I've seen previous discussions as to equipment clean-up water waste not being applicable to this credit, but in our project, water and aggregate is generated by the installation of materials. My question is this: with a sprayed-on cementitious fireproofing, waste aggregate and water is hauled off by a washout waste contractor and is taken to a ready-mix recycling facility. There are haul tags to substantiate this. Can we include this material in MR 2 calcs? I would say yes, and there's no downside. Do others agree?
My gut feeling is that this will not fly; however, if you are not counting on the washout water and aggregate to help you get over a percentage threshold for MRc2, I don’t see the downside in including it either. Consider checking out LI ID#5764 (https://www.usgbc.org/leedinterpretations/LISearch.aspx?liaccessid=5764) for a NC-v2.1 situation regarding bentonite. Consider reporting back to LEEDuser if you are successful.
This is more of a general question. Does anyone have experience with Green Building Specifications for Sustainable Development software from UDA (uniteddesign.com)? If so can you tell me about its ease of use and how comprehensive it is for creating contractor specifications for LEED? How does it compare to MasterSpec? Thanks for your feedback.
During coentsruction, a project has a major amount of water waste (more than 50% of the total amount of the waste generated by one production unit), this quantity of water is a result of the production’s equipment washing and cleaning process. The question is: is water considered as part of waste management scope under LEED?
Karim, I would say that it is not. I have never heard water discussed as applicable to MRc2.
However, you should definitely consider it under SSp1.
I am working on the forms for submitting credit MR2 as our project has come to a close. I have the proper documentation from the waste management company, which specifies, by month and by each specific haul date, the amount (in tons) of debris, the amount recycled, and the recycle rate per pick up.
When filling out the form, should I be entering each haul as a separate line item? Or should I combine it by month? Or should I combine it by type sent to each place? The project had about 10 waste pickups per month, over 2 years, so that would be a lot of line items on the form.
I typically summarize quantities by material - cardboard, metals, brick/block, landfilled waste, etc. to show a total for each type of material collected/tracked. If I have a material that was diverted to two different locations or that was collected by two different haulers, then I separate those materials so I can differentiate them on the MRc2 form.
Anyone have any brilliant ideas on what to do with drywall (sheetrock) waste from a major renovation project that we are trying to divert from a landfill but don't have a recycling center within 5 states?
Mark, if the drywall is clean (big if) then it could possibly be a beneficial agricultural amendment. There might be a large producer of compost in the region (such as a company that process municipal waste, or sewage sludge) that could grind it an incorporate it into their product.
I have a client who is moving from Building A to new Building B. They will be buying all new furniture for Building B. Can they take credit under MRc2 for donating their old furniture from Building A before the move?
I would say no for two reasons. First, this credit is for construction waste, furniture does not really fall under that category. Second, unless both buildings are being certified as one project anything done in Building A will out of scope for the certification of Building B. If the furniture from A was being moved to B to be reused it could qualify for Resource Reuse but not in this case.
Off-site sorting of the construction waste was used for our project. The hauler/material recovery facility provided project-specific recycling rates for each haul by material type. We were able to track the tonnage diverted by material and the residual material that was landfilled, which is what has been uploaded onto the LEED Online form.
On the form, if I select "commingled" option and then input 100% diverted, the following note comes up in red text: "If 100% of commingled waste is diverted from landfill, select "Diverted" in the "Diverted or Landfill Waste" column." BUT...If I follow the directions of the note, I loose the option of uploading the commingled waste documentation.
Anyone run into this or can provide a suggestion for how to handle the submission?
After scrolling to the bottom of my haul list, I am also getting this note. This leads me to believe that GBCI expects that a "haul" of commingled waste be broken down so that each line item is a constituent part. For example, what could be listed as 10 Tons of 100% Mixed Recyclables would have to be listed as 5 Tons Conc and 5 Tons Steel and that you would be able to check the "x" and upload documentation. Can anyone confirm whether we can just list a 100% diverted dumpster as a single line item (and forgo) documentation if it was all diverted?
I will add the following food for thought - IF you take the templates note Angie and I are getting at face value ("If 100% of commingled waste is diverted from landfill, select "Diverted" in the "Diverted or Landfill Waste" column"), THEN documentation apparently is not required. Otherwise they could have worded the note to instruct you to break it into constiuent parts.
I was approaching the documentation a little differently...In a spreadsheet, I tracked the tons diverted by material type and the tons landfilled. I was using these totals to fill in the form (for example, a line for concrete at 100% diverted). In my head, it seems like a more concise summary and then the tracking spreadsheet, monthly reports and haul tickets provide backup. But not sure if I am totally off-base with what the reviewers are looking for in regards to commingled.
If anyone can verify that the documentation method outlined in the second post on this string has worked, that would be appreciated. Thanks!
When the form presents the "commingled" option, my guess is that this is intended for loads where a percentage (say 90%) of the commingled waste is diverted and sent to a recycling facility and the remaining percentage (10%) is sent to a landfill. In your case, it sounds as though 100% of the commingled waste was diverted from a landfill in which case I think you are safe selecting 100% diverted and not worrying too terribly much about whether it was separated on or off site. The way I read it is that they only want the supporting documentation if a portion of the waste was not diverted. With respect to different materials, I would try to list them separately as much as reasonably possible. Two other suggestions: 1) You could always upload the backup documents with the Construction Waste Management Plan as a separate file to cover your bases, 2) Use the "Feedback" button shown in the far right column when you first select the credit from the Scorecard or when you go to the "Credit Information" tab for that credit. Ask your question directly to the source (GBCI/LEED reviewers). They are usually pretty good about responding.
Hope this helps.
LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, Managing Principal
Earthly Ideas LLC
Reused building components that don’t reach the MRc1.1 or MRc1.2 thresholds may be applied to MRc2 as waste diversion.
If onsite material is being reused but is not being counted toward MRc1 or MRc3, it may count toward MRc2.
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