NC-2009 MRc4: Recycled Content

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  • Allow time for documentation

    Documenting this credit can take time, since cost and exact percentages of post- and pre-consumer materials must be collected for each recycled item used. 

    LEED requires the base materials budget to be consistent across all MR credits. The LEED Online credit forms help provide consistency across MR credits by applying the same data to multiple credits. Materials used to earn this credit cannot also be counted for MRc3: Materials Reuse, nor for MRc7: Certified WoodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System., but they can contribute to MRc5: Regional Materials and MRc6: Rapidly RenewableTerm describing a natural material that is grown and harvested on a relatively short-rotation cycle (defined by the LEED rating system to be ten years or less). Materials. 

  • Most projects easily earn both points

    The 10% point threshold is easy to achieve for this credit, especially if your project has a lot of concrete or steel. There is also an increasing number of products on the market that have recycled content, making the 20% threshold achievable for some projects. Concentrate on buying “big ticket” items with high recycled content levels. Depending on the building construction, you will generally get more (due to a higher cost) out of tracking the recycled content of concrete and steel over lower cost items like tile.

    Analyze your budget early in design to help inform which materials are more important to specify as having recycled content, this is dependent on your project construction type. Doing your homework early can prevent costly change orders during construction. Big-ticket products that often have recycled content include steel, drywall, insulation, ceiling tiles, concrete, VCT, commercial carpet, and composite substrates.

    Learn the lingo

    Recycled content can be pre-consumer (also known as post-industrialRefers to material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process. Excluded from this category is reutilization of materials such as scrap that are generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process. Generally synonymous with "pre-consumer."), or post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product.. These are valued differently in LEED calculations. Pre-consumer content is worth 50% of its cost value, while post-consumer is worth 100%.

    DRecycled  bottlesPost-consumer plastic being collected for recycling.on’t assume that because an item has recycled content you can count the whole cost of that item towards the credit—the value contributing to the credit equals the percentage of recycled content times the value of the material. (See the Recycled Content Assembly Calculator in the Documentation Toolkit.)  

    People sometimes confuse recycled content material with material reuse and with construction waste management, but they are different:

    Recycled Content material, covered in MRc4, has reused content as a result of the industrial process of making the product—for example, recycled-content carpet may be made of recycled plastic bottles. 

    Material Reuse, covered in MRc3, is the use or repurposing of material from a previous place or role—for example, buying antique wood doors salvaged from an old church. 

    Flooring panelAt this Denver building under construction, the raised floor panels being installed have recycled steel. Photo – YRG SustainabilityConstruction Waste Management, covered in MRc2, is the act of diverting materials from the landfill during the construction process by sending to a place where the material can be repurposed, such as a salvage yard or recycling plant.

  • FAQs for MRc4

    I have recycled content information for a product, but it doesn’t specify whether it is pre-consumer or post-consumer. What should I do?

    Try getting clarification from the manufacturer. If you can’t get any further information, you should take a conservative approach and assume that it is pre-consumer.

    Why can’t I include mechanical, electrical and plumbing components in this credit? What if I consistently include MEP materials in the calculations for all of the MR credits I’m attempting?

    LEED is very clear that no MEP or specialty items can be counted in the MR credit calculations. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that MEP items are very expensive relative to their weight, and including these materials skews the calculations and performance thresholds achieved. Also, LEED considers the performance of mechanical equipment paramount, and so consideration of these materials really falls under performance based energy and water credits.

    The recycled content percentage on the product data sheet is given as a range. What should I do?

    Unless the manufacturer can provide more specific information, teams must use the lower recycled content value in the given range.

    The manufacturer can't give me product-specific recycled content data, but they say that they fall within the national industry average. Can I use that?

    No. Per 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. #10246, recycled content claims must be specific to installed product. Average regional and national claims do not meet the credit requirements.

    This Interpretation has been misinterpreted, however, to mean that recycled content figures must come from specific plants. That is not what USGBC intended. It is allowable to use a company- and product-specific national average, as long as the company has performed the necessary tracking to assure that that average is accurate at the product SKU level.

    Is the default average recycled content value of 25% for steel still allowed?

    Yes. LEED Interpretation #10246 does not apply to steel and teams may still use the default value of 25% post-consumer recycled content. Many steel products have higher levels of recycled content, however, so it may be advantageous to track down product-specific recycled content information.

    Can site materials, such as soil, be included in the MR credit calculations?

    Site materials (31.60.00 Foundations, 32.10.00 Paving, 32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting) that are permanently installed can be included in the MR credits. Just be sure that your material budget assumptions and material costs are consistent across MRc3, MRc4, MRc5, MRc6, and MRc7.

    Are there recycled content claims that I should be wary of?

    Based on review comments that LEED users have reported, LEED reviewers are on the lookout for inaccurate recycled content claims in cases where a manufacturer is claiming pre-consumer recycled content for scrap material that comes off the end of a product line, and is put back in to the same line. According to common definitions, this should not be considered recycled content. This practice is common with certain kinds of glass, and metals like aluminum. Keep an eye on your documentation and do your best to make sure it is valid. If you are asked to justify a specific claim, you could get more documentation from the manufacturer, or plan on having a cushion in your credit threshold.

    Can I count FSC-certified MDF toward both MRc4 and MRc7?

    MRc7 counts only new wood, and MRc4 counts recycled content, so there is no overlap in the credits. You must choose one credit, and not double-dip. For products with FSC Mix and recycled content claims—including many MDF products and complex assemblies that include MDF—LEED Interpretation #10372 clarifies that project teams have to choose which "environmental attribute" they will use to classify the product, and it (and its dollar value) will either go into an FSC "bucket" or into a recycled-content "bucket." 

    If I have one cut sheet that meets the LEED 2009 requirement to upload 20% of cut sheets by cost, for this credit, is that acceptable?

    Yes, subject to any questions that may come up during a normal LEED review process.

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  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Schematic Design

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  • Look at opportunities to use recycled content materials for the project’s potential “big ticket” items.


  • Big-ticket products that often have recycled content include: steel, drywall, insulation, ceiling tiles, concrete, VCT, commercial carpet, and composite substrates. There are more and more products in nearly every category that use recycled content as a way to help LEED projects earn this credit.  


  • The decision to use recycled content material can help guide design decisions, such as using recycled-content steel framing instead of wood framing. However, only letting recycled content drive basic design decisions may be shortsighted and lead to tradeoffs with other credits, not to mention other environmental impact areas. Look for materials that contribute to multiple LEED credits.


  • This credit can often be achieved at no added cost, as there are many products with recycled content that building projects already use. 


  • Use LEED point calculators built into online product catalogs such as those powered by ecoScorecard to streamline data collection and generate submittal documents:

    • Invision Carpet Systems
    • Shaw Contract Group
    • Tandus
    • lees

Design Development

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  • Begin by creating a baseline materials budget. This is the total amount of money that will be spent on building materials. Use the Materials Calculator from the Documentation Toolkit to compile the baseline material list in a way that facilitates adding information on environmental attributes.


  • Your material budget assumptions and material costs should be consistent across MRc3, MRc4, MRc5, MRc6, and MRc7. The LEED Online credit form helps ensure this automatically. 


  • Adding Division 12 Furniture to your baseline materials budget for this credit is optional, but must be applied consistently across MRc3, MRc4, MRc5, MRc6, and MRc7. Analyze the baseline material budget to see if adding Division 12 furniture works to the project’s advantage. Generally, if the furniture helps contribute to the above MR credits it is in a project’s interest to take credit for it—however, it may help with some while making others more difficult.


  • Choose one of two options in creating a baseline budget—the default budget, or the actual budget (excluding labor). The default budget method gives you a baseline materials budget as 45% of your total budget, while the actual budget gives you a baseline based on what you actually spend.


  • How do you decide whether to use the actual material cost or the default budget as your baseline? Try estimating how your actual material costs compare to the 45% default. The lower you can get the baseline, the easier it is to purchase enough recycled material to reach the credit threshold. For example, a project that is renovating an existing building may have low material and high labor costs, so it might be better to use the actual budget instead of the default approach.


  • The default budget is less time-consuming because the contractor does not have to break out the material and labor costs of items that are not being tracked for LEED credits, allowing the project to focus on tracking only the materials that contribute to LEED credits. You can take the total cost (material plus labor) of all items in the applicable CSI divisions and assume that cost of materials is 45% and labor cost is 55%. However, this option may put the project at a disadvantage in terms of getting full credit for the actual value of materials. 


  • Include in your materials baseline budget, the material cost (excluding labor) of all items that apply under CSI MasterFormat 2004:

    • Divisions 3–10 
    • Section 31.60: Foundations
    • Section 32.10: Paving 
    • Section 32.30: Site Improvements
    • Section 32.90: Planting
    • Division 12: Furnishings is optional
    • Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and equipment costs are excluded.

  • Even if you are using the default budget method, you still have to break out the actual cost (cost excluding labor) of the specific items that you are tracking to contribute toward LEED MR credits.


  • How do you know what amount of recycled content material you need to incorporate in your project? Look at the baseline materials budget. Determine how much you need to spend on recycled content materials to reach the credit thresholds. To earn one point, allocate 10% of your material budget; for two points, allocate 20%. Go through your project’s preliminary budget and identify which items could be purchased with recycled content, and what percentages of recycled content they can contribute. Do these items add up to the amount needed to get one or two points?  


  • Use your estimated budget as a guide throughout the project. Don’t fail to earn this credit because you waited until all the materials were purchased before calculating whether you used enough materials with recycled content to gain the LEED credit. 


  • Research products by looking at product cut sheets and manufacturing data to see if a product contains recycled content.  Often a product will appear to meet the credit requirements, but you'll need to ask for more specific information from the manufacturer—see the Documentation Toolkit for examples of this.


  • A single product or material can contribute to multiple LEED credits. For example, a chair made locally, with urea-formaldehyde-free, recycled, composite wood contributes to MRc4, MRc5, MRc6, and IEQc4.4. Not all credits allow this double-counting. Materials counted here cannot also count towards MRc3 nor MRc7—although separate components within a product can. If a product has both certified wood and recycled content steel, for example, each component can contribute to earning the appropriate credit. Focusing on products and materials with multiple environmental attributes also can limit the overall number of items that must be tracked. 


  • Don’t assume that because an item has recycled content you can count the whole cost of that item towards the credit—the value contributing to the credit equals the percentage of recycled content times the value of the material. Recycled content can be pre-consumer (also known as post-industrial) or post-consumer recycled content. These are valued differently in LEED calculations. Pre-consumer content is worth 50% of its cost value, while post-consumer is worth 100%. See the Documentation Toolkit for a Recycled Content Assembly Calculator. For example, if a piece of plywood costs $100, it has 40% pre- and 15% post-consumer content. How much of the total cost can be counted towards this credit?

     


  • Steel is a special case—all steel is made from recycled materials, and it is the only material for which LEED allows you to claim a default recycled content value (25% post-consumer) without providing any documentation. Some steel has 90% or more recycled content, however, so you’re better off documenting the actual amount if you can try to get documentation from your suppliers showing their post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content. 


  • Drywall can be specified with synthetic gypsum, which is a byproduct or removing sulfur from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants, and counts as pre-consumer recycled content. Before using it, however, check to see if it made in your region because the environmental impact of trucking it long distances is likely far greater than any benefit of using it instead of natural gypsum. Either way, the paper facing on drywall is almost always entirely post-consumer recycled.


  • Assemblies


  • When a product is made of multiple components that have different recycling rates, note the following special considerations.


  • The cost value for the LEED calculation is determined by separating each component as a percentage of the total by weight, while accounting for the value of pre- and post-consumer recycled content. See the assembly example below, and a calculator in the Documentation Toolkit.


  • Request that manufacturers provide assembly information broken down by weight. 


  • Using the project’s estimated budget early on to integrate materials with recycled content in the design and specs can help prevent costly change orders during construction. 


  • Instead of tracking recycled content in everything, focus first on “big ticket” items, materials like concrete, structural steel, masonry products and gypsum board to see if you get enough value from them to earn the credit. This approach allows you to Iimit the overall number of items you need to track and document, reducing contractor headaches. If big-ticket items are not enough, target a medium-priced item next, and so on, until you reach your goal.

Construction Documents

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  • Revisit your baseline materials budget as the design evolves to make sure the numbers remain accurate and that you remain on track to achieve your goal for the credit.


  • Research specific products. Incorporate recycled content product requirements into individual construction specification sections.


  • MasterSpec and the federal Whole Building Design Guide (see Resources) offer guidance and sample specification language on how to incorporate LEED specifications in construction documents.


  • Incorporating the LEED requirements directly on the drawings as well as in the specs is a good way to remind the contractor and subcontractors of the requirements. 


  • Analyze the initial cost budget to know what materials the project can target and incorporate LEED requirement language accordingly into construction specs for those specific materials.  The contractor will appreciate not filling out forms for materials that are not recycled, or that have so little cost value that it is a waste of time. 


  • Whenever possible, designate in the construction specifications that contractors use specific sources you have verified as suppliers of recycled content items. This will help save research time for the contractors and ensure credit compliance.


  • Include submittal requirements within each targeted construction spec section and add general requirements to the Division 1 bid package. Include copies of any submittal documents that the subcontractors and general contractor may need to fill out.

Construction

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  • Preparation Before Construction Begins


  • The general contractor (GC) should be oriented to all LEED construction-related issues, such as IAQ management, low-emitting materials, environmental materials tracking tools, and construction waste management. 


  • LEED documentation and materials tracking are usually the GC’s responsibility even though specific materials selection may have been already determined by the architect or designer.


  • The GC should hold an orientation meeting with the subcontractors to review the LEED responsibilities related specifically to their trades. This exercise helps to build trust and is crucial for obtaining buy-in from all participants in the process.


  • Give the GC and subcontractors the following tools to help them track materials data for all MR and IEQ credits. (See the Documentation Toolkit for access.)

    • Materials Calculator:  This is a master tracking spreadsheet that the GC can use internally to compile product information received from the subcontractors. The spreadsheet tracks LEED values across multiple LEED MR and IEQ credits.
    • Environmental Materials Reporting Form: This is a material tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values for products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing. 
    • Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form: This is a VOC tracking sheet that helps subcontractors record the low-emitting qualities of the products they purchase and can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing.
    • Low-Emitting Material Limits: These tables, found with each credit here on LEEDuser, summarize the maximum VOC limits for different types of adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, composite wood, and flooring products. When subcontractors search for low-emitting products, they should consult these charts.

  • Enabling coordination and communication among the GC, subcontractors and design team early in the process can minimize scheduling delays and pushback from subcontractors.


  • Before construction begins, research additional recycled product material availability, not already researched during the design phase to ensure that the project earns this credit. If product decisions are made after construction begins, there may be less time to carefully review data sheets and much greater risk of using a noncompliant product.


  • During Construction


  • The contractor starts gathering and environmental data and cut sheets from subcontractors for approval. 


  • The GC functions as the overall quality assurance provider for this credit. Responsibilities include conducting weekly reviews of subcontractor product submittals and tracking forms.


  • Review subcontractor product suggestions ahead of time to avoid the purchase of inappropriate materials and eliminate the need for costly change orders.  


  • Streamline documentation and research by taking data gathered from subs via the Environmental Material Reporting Form and transfer it into a master spreadsheet for all the items being tracked for each product across MR and IEQ credits. For example, you may need to ask the millworker for regional information for MRc5, recycled content information for MRc4, and information about adhesives installed onsite for IEQc4.1. If one spreadsheet collects all the data, it can streamline your documentation, associated research, and help with quality control. See the Documentation Toolkit for spreadsheets you can work with. 


  • A master spreadsheet facilitates information collection for subcontractors, giving them a road map of exactly what types of information to collect for each product.  


  • Assign a responsible party to input the subcontractors’ tracking forms into the Materials Calculator (see Documentation Toolkit). A LEED consultant or an administrative assistant in the GC’s office may be the best choice for this role.


  • Breaking out specific materials costs (excluding labor) for construction materials that contribute to LEED credits is a requirement for LEED MR credits. Some subcontractors prefer not to do this because there are always hidden markups in the materials that subcontractors purchase at wholesale. However, you can simply include the product markup when breaking out a product’s material cost from installation and labor costs.


  • Transfer all the data collected in the Materials Calculator spreadsheet (see Documentation Toolkit) to the LEED Online form and upload the product cut sheets. 


  • Only a random 20% sampling of product cut sheets need to be uploaded to LEED Online to document this credit.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Keep a list of sustainable materials used on the project so that operations staff can use these products for future renovations.


  • Develop recycled content material procurement recommendations into a purchasing policy. If pursuing LEED-EBOM certification, that would fall under MRp1: Sustainable Purchasing Policy.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    MR Credit 4: Recycled content

    1–2 Points

    Intent

    To increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials.

    Requirements

    Use materials with recycled content1 such that the sum of postconsumer2 recycled content plus 1/2 of the preconsumer3 content constitutes at least 10% or 20%, based on cost, of the total value of the materials in the project. The minimum percentage materials recycled for each point threshold is as follows:

    Recycled Content Points
    10% 1
    20% 2


    The recycled content value of a material assembly is determined by weight. The recycled fraction of the assembly is then multiplied by the cost of assembly to determine the recycled content value.

    Mechanical, electrical and plumbing components, and specialty items such as elevators and equipment cannot be included in all calculations. Include only materials permanently installed in the project. Furniture may be included if it is included consistently in MR Credit 3: Materials Reuse through MR Credit 7: Certified WoodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System..

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Establish a project goal for recycled content materials, and identify material suppliers that can achieve this goal. During construction, ensure that the specified recycled content materials are installed. Consider a range of environmental, economic and performance attributes when selecting products and materials.

Web Tools

BuildingGreen.com

Lists of green, recycled content materials organized by LEED credit and CSI section.

Organizations

Steel Recycling Institute

The Steel Recycling Institute provides defaults for recycled content of steel based on furnace type.


MasterSpec

MasterSpec offers guidance on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.


Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) — Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers

Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications. 

Materials Calculator

Teams can use this tool to track all materials across various MR and IEQ credits. It helps teams develop a roadmap of what information needs to be tracked for different products. It can also be used early on to create the baseline budget and ensure the products that are being used will apply to the various credit thresholds.

Environmental Materials Reporting Form

This is a materials tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values of products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing.

Letter to Contractor for MR and IEQ Credits

Use a letter like this sample to orient the contractor to their responsibilities for all MR and IEQ credits. This letter is an introduction that can be customized for the credits your project is pursuing.

Low-Emitting Materials Reporting Form

This is a VOC tracking sheet that helps subcontractors record the low-emitting qualities of the products they purchase and can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing. Use it specifically for earning low-emitting materials credits, but in conjunction with documentation for MR credits.

Recycled Content Calculator

Use this spreadsheet to determine the value that a given material or assembly contributes to the recycled content calculations for this credit, based on the type of recycled content in the material or assembly, and the percentage by weight of the assembly that contains recycled content.

Recycled Content – Product Cut Sheets

Look to product cut sheets like these for recycled-content information on products you're specifying or considering specifying. Note that while all three of these examples appear to contribute to MRc4, in all cases more information is needed from the manufacturer (see PDF annotations).

Concrete Tracking

Use this form to track your concrete mixes and their recycled content and distance to the manufacturing and extraction sites.

LEED Online Forms: NC-2009 MR

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."

Construction Submittal

HardhatDocumentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.

Recycled Content Specifications

How much recycled content should you look for in key building products? What other sustainability criteria apply? This sample sheet from a project shows how one team set guidelines for different product areas.

370 Comments

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PAWAN DAHIWAL
Apr 10 2014
Guest
249 Thumbs Up

Fly ash - Pre or Post?

Fly ash generated from a thermal plant, used to manufacture bricks. It can not use for its original purpose but to manufacture a new product (brick), will it be contribute toward post consumer recycled content?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Apr 10 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Pawan - As a guest to LEEDuser, you can't see the FAQs above where pre- and post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. are defined. Fly ash is definitely pre-consumer. Here is part of the definition of post-industrialRefers to material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process. Excluded from this category is reutilization of materials such as scrap that are generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process. Generally synonymous with "pre-consumer." (aka pre-consumer) from above: "Refers to material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process..."

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MT A Moriyama & Teshima Architects
Mar 28 2014
LEEDuser Member
109 Thumbs Up

Concrete Recycled Content

We have the final content $ value of cementitious materials and the m3 of concrete produced as supplied by the contractor.

Could someone advise on the correct way to calculate the recycled content of concrete and what information is required from the contractor to complete?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Mar 28 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Please see Supplementary Cementitious Materials section under MRc4 in the LEED Reference Guide. It outlines how to deal with recycled SCMs. See the sample form for MRc4 to determine what documentation is required - http://www.usgbc.org/sampleforms/v3.

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Jonathan Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, Blackburn Architects Mar 28 2014 LEEDuser Member 76 Thumbs Up

“Concrete Mix Designs” are “recipes” that list the mass of each component used in each batch of concrete.

Typically, a structural or civil engineers writes the concrete specification and requires the concrete supplier to submit test reports & other documentation to demonstrate that the concrete meets specified requirements. Though submitted to show structural compliance, these documents can be invaluable for calculating recycled content & regional materials for LEED. These submittals usually include “Concrete Mix Designs”. Mix designs & test reports usually also identify material sources. Your structural engineer or concrete supplier may be able help you read the mix design and show you which quantities you need for MRc4 SCM & MRc5 assembly calculations.

Just be aware that any one project typically uses a number of different concrete mix designs for various applications (foundations, slabs on grade, structural beams, roadway paving, etc.). Special mixes may be necessary to produce the required strength or appearance, to accommodate pumping, or to allow pouring concrete during cold or hot weather. The composition & SCS content of the various mix designs can vary widely.

Therefore, you may need to do a separate SCM calculation for each design mix. For that, your contractor needs to break down cementitious material $ amounts for each mix design used on your project. For MRc5, for each mix, you also want a total cost that includes non-cementitious materials (aggregates).

The volume (m3) of concrete used is not usually relevant to these calculations.

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Laura Charlier LEED Services Director Group14 Engineering
Mar 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
259 Thumbs Up

Recycled/regional material in total cost if outside LD Boundary?

Hi there,
We have a project where the permeable pavers that are going in likely will contain recycled/regional materials we can account for. Having said that, the LEED boundary is fairly small, and only encapsulates a small track of sidewalk compared to outside the LEED boundary where additional permeable pavers will be present. My question is, can we take credit for MR category credits outside of our LEED boundary - even though it's adjacent to the site and overlaps between outside of boundary and inside of boundary?
Thanks!

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Joseph Ford, AIA Architect, RSP Architects Ltd. Mar 17 2014 Guest 289 Thumbs Up

In short: No. The LEED project boundary has to be applied consistently to all credits, so you can't define it one way for MRc4/5 and a different way for the rest of the project.

Why is this area considered outside the project boundary anyway? If it's new work related to your project it seems like it should be in. What would you lose by defining the project boundary to include the whole paver area?

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Jonathan Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, Blackburn Architects Mar 17 2014 LEEDuser Member 76 Thumbs Up

See LEED-2009’s Minimum Project Requirements for guidance concerning “reasonable site boundary”. There are many “musts” & “may nots” that could dictate which boundary fits your project’s unique circumstances. Use these rules to determine where your boundary should be and use the same boundary for all credits.

Then...if the pavers fall inside that boundary, you can count them toward MRc4 & MRc5. Just keep in mind that even if your pavers have significant recycled/regional percentage, if you only spend a tiny percentage of your project’s budget on them, their Credit contribution may just disappear next to bigger budget items.

Focus on big-ticket items for MRc4 & MRc5.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Mar 19 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Joseph and Jonathan - Thanks for providing this sage advice to Laura. I concur!

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Loretta Maine The Crossland Way Coordinator/LEED Coordinator Crossland Construction Company, Inc.
Feb 04 2014
LEEDuser Member
28 Thumbs Up

Material Cost Calculation

I have a steel supplier who completed a very nice Material Reporting Form for me with a great breakdown of every one of the many products they provided for our project. The purchase order was for almost a million dollars but the total of material costs he is showing comes to less than half. I called to ask about the other $500,000 and he told me he can not and will not include the cost of fabrication and freight.
I have always been told and understand from reading that material cost is what the project pays for the material, including manufacturing (fabrication), taxes and freight. Assuming I am correct in that, do you think I could get away with only including the material cost he provided in the Total Construction Costs for his scope of work so that the missing $500,000 won't count against us

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Feb 05 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Loretta - The LEED Reference Guide is very clear about costs: “Materials costs include all expenses to deliver the material to the project site. Materials costs should account for all taxes and transportation costs incurred by the contractor but exclude any cost for labor and equipment once the material has been delivered to the site.”

Typically a steel fabricator buys steel from various suppliers and makes the shapes, angles, etc. a job needs. This in-house labor is part of the finished product cost (structural steel unique to the job) and it - along with the cost of freight and taxes - should be part of the material cost that goes into the numerator of the equation for MRc4. As the GC, you should be getting the cost of the material and the supplier’s overall cost. Typically these are different numbers between material costs and a subcontractor’s cost but if it is a supplier and they don’t do any steel erection and just supply the steel, the numbers could be the same.

I am puzzled why a supplier would not want to get credit where credit is due, so to speak. If you cannot reason with the supplier to tell them they are missing having their material count as its full worth, I’m not sure if your approach is the best. I would err towards including the full $1M in the numerator and in the denominator - and that might be easier to justify than leaving out something in the denominator. As the GC, you know what they charged you and what services they provided (as well as the LEED requirements) and could more easily justify this approach, IMO.

P.S. It's been several years since I worked with Crossland on the Erie High Charter School job but I don't think we met then.

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Keith Lindemulder Environmental Business Development- LEED AP BD&C, Nucor Feb 05 2014 LEEDuser Member 1271 Thumbs Up

I would agree with MIchelle's comments. As a steel supplier, we're generally at the opposite end of the spectrum where we know what steel we've produced but not how much ended up on the project site. That means our documentation generally includes all the information except costs. Our expectation is that a fabricator or sub-contractor would use our documentation as backup/confirmation for the "form" (or whatever the GC requires) for the project. They would then include their cost of fabrications (including freight, value-added and markup).

Is it possible what you have is the steel producer (or service center) documentation which outlines what they have sold to the fabricator? If so, the fabricator may be just passing it along to you without going thru the process of determining what value they bring to the job. That said, I'd be surprised if a project of that size was sourced all from the same steel producer. It'd be extremely unlikely (probably impossible depending on the fabrications) to get all the steel from the same mill. It WOULD be possible to source it all from the same service center however.

Anyway, sounds like a fabricator that doesn't fully understand the credit or some other confusion on how the materials have been documented.

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Loretta Maine The Crossland Way Coordinator/LEED Coordinator, Crossland Construction Company, Inc. Feb 05 2014 LEEDuser Member 28 Thumbs Up

Thank you Michelle and Keith for your responses. It is the fabricator that is supplying from different steel producers and is not doing any erecting, just supplying. My problem with including the full amount is that I don't know how to accurately break out the cost of the 35 different materials they are supplying. I could use the individual material cost he is giving me and figure what percentage it is of the total he is giving me and then figure that percentage from the actual total. Do you think I could justify that route?

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Keith Lindemulder Environmental Business Development- LEED AP BD&C, Nucor Feb 05 2014 LEEDuser Member 1271 Thumbs Up

Your fabricator supplied "almost a million dollars" worth of fabricated steel components to the project. What you need to do is deternine how much of that is recycled content - more accurately, how much is pre-consumer and how much is post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. content.

We can provide a breakdown by product (mill) type. And further breakdown by specific mill. I also suspect that most steel producers here in North America can provide similar documentation to your fabricator. Then it's just a task of "doing the math".

For example, our bar mills (rebar, angles, flats, rounds, etc.) all operate using 99.9% recycled content (0.1% is alloying material which is considered virgin). Further 83% of that is considered post-consumer and 17% is considered pre-consumer. Which means you take 99.9% of your total steel fabrication invoice total and that is your "total recycled content". Then take 83% of that number to get your post-consumer and the remainder (17%) is pre-consumer for which you get half value.

You'd do that for each steel type sourced by a different mill/supplier. Sounds like a lot of work but since the fabricator has the whole BOM already broken down, they've done the majority of the work already. They should be able to provide you a source for each steel type and the mill documentation from their vendor. For anything that documentation is not avaiable you can assume 25% is post-consumer recycled content.

The process is largely the same for MR5 and I'd recommend doing both concurrently. Many times the mill documentation will include data for both credits.

Feel free to contact me if I can help further - keith.lindemulder@nucor.com

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Feb 05 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Keith - I am so glad you subscribe to this forum and provide such information and helpful posts!!! Thanks for offering the personalized assistance to Loretta.

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Loretta Maine The Crossland Way Coordinator/LEED Coordinator, Crossland Construction Company, Inc. Feb 05 2014 LEEDuser Member 28 Thumbs Up

Oh yes, just do it as a total. That is essentially the same thing but it looks much better. I have all of the recycled and regional information so it is easy.

Thanks!

And Michelle-I don't think we ever met either. I was in our NW Arkansas office at that time. Maybe we will get the chance to work together on another project.

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Jonathan Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, Blackburn Architects Feb 06 2014 LEEDuser Member 76 Thumbs Up

We have worked with a few steel fabricators who have become pretty good at getting us the info that we need for MRc4 & MRc5. They give us spreadsheets listing the following:

1. Total steel assembly cost, as delivered, including fabrication.
2. Fabricator’s shop location.
3. Bill of materials quantifying (by weight, not cost) all components by source (steel mills).
4. Locations & post-, pre-consumer recycled percentages for each steel mill (based on mill data attached to the submittal).

The spreadsheet then calculates each component’s percentage of the total weight of all components, multiplies those percentages by the total assembly cost to get a cost for each component, and figures the recycled & regional contribution for each.

Timing may be an issue. Remember that fabricators usually cannot provide complete costs & quantities until after shop drawings have been approved, steel has been fabricated, painted, etc., and the fabrications have been delivered to the Site. Also, gathering all this data can be time consuming & laborious. Fabricators may balk if the Project’s LEED Submittal Specifications do not explicitly require the extra documentation. If it’s not in the Specs, the fabricator may not have budgeted for the extra time.

Since steel can contribute significantly to MRc4 & MRc5, we try to make sure that our steel Specification Sections state clearly what documentation is necessary, as well as the timing of the submittals. We do the same with other big-ticket, multi-component assemblies that are fabricated off-Site.

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Shaunna Shaw Production Control Assistant, LEED Green Associate The Berlin Steel Construction Company
Feb 01 2014
Guest
3 Thumbs Up

LEED Documentation for Steel Subcontractor

I work for a construction company that does steel fabrication and erection. After recently becoming a LEED Green Associate, I am now in charge of completing the documentation for the LEED MR Credit 4 and 5 to submit to the GCs. The documentation process seems extremely time consuming. I would like to know if there are any resources to help me figure out how to quickly and efficiently compile and organize it all.

I appreciate your help.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Feb 03 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Shaunna - Unfortunately, there is not a how to be a good LEED project manager portion of the LEED Reference Guide to prepare folks to manage the documentation process. Depending on how your design team set up the specifications to outline (and streamline) the documentation and submittal process, your effort for the documentation process could be time consuming. I think the best resource that you might need is to consult with a seasoned LEED project manager. You could share where you are in the process, what your specifications state for documentation, and how to move forward for your specific situation. Maybe someone on this forum might be able to share some other thoughts but I think the process is too project specific and detailed to give it fair justice on this forum.

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Joseph Ford, AIA Architect, RSP Architects Ltd. Feb 03 2014 Guest 289 Thumbs Up

Shaunna, I would second Michelle's comment but do have one additional suggestion. Many of the big steel vendors really have their act together when it comes to LEED documentation. One I have had very good experiences with is Nucor/Vulcraft. When I have asked them for information their replies have been timely, complete and accurate. Look at your company's vendor relationships and see if there is anyone there who could serve as a resource.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Feb 03 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Joseph - We are on the same wavelength. I called Shauuna and later we spoke about her issues and getting off on the right foot. I indicated that Nucor would be a great vendor to start with because they have such excellent LEED documentation. I also encouraged her to focus on the high dollar items first and consider using the 25% post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. waste default for lower cost items (if needed). While it is a time consuming process, she needed a few tips to get the ball rolling but I think she has those now.

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Keith Lindemulder Environmental Business Development- LEED AP BD&C, Nucor Feb 03 2014 LEEDuser Member 1271 Thumbs Up

First, big thanks to Joseph and Michelle for the kind words! Everyone on the Nucor and Vulcraft teams (as well as the other products teams) take a lot of pride in taking care of our customer. LEED documentation can be tricky.

As a material supplier which typically has significant value in many projects we feel its important to understand the nuances and work hard to provide value to the process. This is typically made more difficult because there are several steps in the process from steel making to project site. Some subcontractors by steel directly from Nucor and other products may have a more complex supply chain. In any event we do our best to help demystify the process.

I'm always happy to help however I can (Keith.Lindemulder@nucor.com). I'm also sure anyone on our team would be happy to walk you thru the process.

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Shaunna Shaw Production Control Assistant, LEED Green Associate, The Berlin Steel Construction Company Feb 03 2014 Guest 3 Thumbs Up

Thank you ALL for your insight and information. I'm certain I would have made it a lot more complicated for myself.

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Robert Fiala
Jan 31 2014
LEEDuser Member
12 Thumbs Up

Fasteners and Misc Materials

To what extent are fasteners and miscellaneous materials expected to be included in Materials & Resources calculations? Is it acceptable to disregard incidental items or does every set of nails, screws, and bolts need to be itemized and broken down?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Feb 01 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Robert - There is no requirement to include incidental items. The way I work with contractors to approach this credit is to look at the large cost items and/or those with large recycled content and work towards the 10 or 20% overall recycled content requirement, whichever is the goal of the project. You only to include enough products that meet the overall goal - not everyone on the job. After that, if you are short of your percentage goal, then you start looking at smaller cost items - but getting down to fasteners would really be scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

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Robert Fiala Feb 03 2014 LEEDuser Member 12 Thumbs Up

Thank you Michelle. I understand that these costs may not be significant but technically they are part of the overall cost (the denominator of the equations from which the percentages of elligible materials are determined). A submittal for plywood for example might have the cost of nails factored in but since they're a different material the criteria is different than that of the plywood. And if they're not factored in then I guess the cost of the nails is disregarded in the overall material totals.. this is why I am confused. Maybe I'm over-thinking it.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Feb 03 2014 LEEDuser Expert 12101 Thumbs Up

Robert - The cost of the miscellaneous accessories should be included in the material cost. The sub ought to be providing that to the general contractor. Unless you work for a sub, you shouldn't be too worried about the cost of nails, screws, trim, etc. These items should be in the denominator already. As for recycled content, if you get the data with recycled content then you can include the value of the fastener in the numerator.

We used to specify that the subs did not have to provide LEED submittal sheets for fasteners. That only confused the subs into thinking that they had to provide the submittal. We have eliminated that from our specs but occassionally we get a submittal highlighting the standard 25% default recycling rate.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Feb 03 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Susan - Thanks for chiming in; however, if you are still able to edit your comment, consider this change: The cost of the miscellaneous accessories should be included in "the total material cost" (vs. "the material cost").

In the example we are batting around, the plywood cost should be the cost of the plywood to go into the numerator of the fraction (equation) for the calc for recycled content. The cost of everything for the required CSI MasterFormat 2004 sections and divisions prescribed by LEED is where the cost of fasteners would be (if using the default value of 45% of the total cost of these divisions/sections) - in the denominator of the equation.

Robert - You are correct that these insignificant costs are part of the overall cost and hence should be in denominator of the equation if using the default. (I may have been confused as to what you were asking with my explanation.) If you are using the actual costs of all materials, then the price of these fasteners would also in the denominator of the equation as a material cost. I’ve never seen a contractor on an NC job use the actual costs though- because getting the cost of the materials that comply with the LEED MR credits is enough of a challenge - let alone getting the price of each material used on the job, which would be summed to create the denominator of the equation.

I hope we have answered your concern and not over-thought our responses to you. If not, please let us know what questions remain.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Feb 03 2014 LEEDuser Expert 12101 Thumbs Up

Michelle is right as always. I did mean 'total material cost'. ;)

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Michele Helou Principal Sage Design & Consulting
Jan 27 2014
LEEDuser Member
655 Thumbs Up

CONCRETE & FLY ASH

I've got a project with 40% cement substitution (4 mix designs) with fly ash and I thought I would take the opportunity to calculate the recycled content value of fly ash as a percentage of the SCM's only as I thought it would help our recycled content numbers. I typically calculated it as a percentage of the whole mix design.
Here's the issue - if I want to count the concrete materials as regional (and I do), I have to add back in the value of the non-SCM's - stone, sand, etc.
Is this correct - am I missing something?
This essentially defeats the purpose of isolating the SCM's in the first place. Other concerns about fly ash content aside, the production of cement is responsible for over 12% of the world's carbon emissions. Am I the only one who thinks it is ludicrous to think that 'environmental value' is linked in any way to material cost, percentage weight, or any of the allowable methods to give it LEED material credit?
(yes, we will take an ID point - but the structural engineers who struggled to give me 40% will not be happy when they realized how little it did for our LEED rating)

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 27 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Hi MIchele,

I think what you're describing is right. The way I like to think of it, when you choose to do the SCM calc's separately you're essentially taking one product (concrete) and dividing it into two (SCMs and the rest of the concrete ingredients).

So you can get the local materials credit for the aggregates either way, but they'll have a lower $$ value if you've separated the SCMs out.

In response to your point about CO2Carbon dioxide--yes, that's the very reason this special calc method was introduced--to provide a way to get some non-trivial LEED point contribution for cement substitution. Within the context of LEED 2.2/2009, that was the only option. In v4, there is the Whole-building LCA credit, which should address this issue much more directly.

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Michele Helou Principal, Sage Design & Consulting Jan 28 2014 LEEDuser Member 655 Thumbs Up

thanks Nadav - I rechecked my math with each option. Isolating the SCM's does give me $17,200 dollars of recycled content value versus $10,400 using the traditional way by weighted percentage of the whole mix design - (not including the water in the fly ash percentage of the mix). But the total material value of the concrete is $167,000 - so it's really only at 10% for MRc4 - and my goal was 30% - so in a way - the concrete at 40% fly ash is not helping. My thought from this is that each material should be judged on a baseline - not how the math of materials you would have used anyway adds up. I suppose that is what the EPD's will eventually do. With the LCA credit on building envelope in v4 - I think that will be a very involved undertaking for most projects at least at first. But if the studies that are done are published - its true value will be educative.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Jan 28 2014 LEEDuser Expert 12101 Thumbs Up

Have you looked at getting the EP credit for Regional instead of Recycled Content? We do most of our projects with concrete structures and find we easily earn the Regional EP and struggle to get to the 20% threshold for Recycled.

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Michele Helou Principal, Sage Design & Consulting Jan 28 2014 LEEDuser Member 655 Thumbs Up

thanks but it's a steel structure - this concrete is just the slabs on metal deck. the steel came from US Nucor plants - on this continent - but not within 500 miles.

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Keith Lindemulder Environmental Business Development- LEED AP BD&C, Nucor Jan 28 2014 LEEDuser Member 1271 Thumbs Up

Michele, Depending on the project you should have significant value for both MR4 and MR5 with a good mix of steel and concrete. Feel free to send me an email if you'd like me to look over our products. keith.lindemulder@nucor.com

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Kotaro Nakamura
Jan 14 2014
LEEDuser Member
11 Thumbs Up

CSI Masterformat

We have a project that is using CSI MasterFormat 1995, instead of 2004. For LEED MR credits, to tabulate total materials costs, do we need to convert to MasterFormat 2004, or can we use the guidance in LEED NCv2.2 for MasterFormat 1995?

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Joseph Ford, AIA Architect, RSP Architects Ltd. Jan 14 2014 Guest 289 Thumbs Up

Assuming your project is NC2009, I would not rely on NCv2.2 guidance for which divisions/sections to reference because I'm not sure the old Division 2 conversion to the Division 31 and 32 sections LEED includes was an exact translation. For purposes of your calculations, consult one of the published tables to convert your 1995 Div2 specs to the appropriate sections in the 2004 format. I wouldn't bother converting any of the other sections.

Also, I never enter the CSI divisions in the material calculator. It's optional information and providing it just creates opportunities for questions and confusion.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Jan 14 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Kotaro - I am not sure what guidance in LEED-NC v2.2 for MasterFormat 1995 that you are referring to but here's what I would do.

The biggest change between v2.2 and 2009 is that the cost of Division 2 used to be completely included in v2.2 but only a few Sections are included in 2009. You don’t have to convert everything to MasterFormat 2004 but you should convert Division 2 (MF 1995) into the correct Divisions/Sections in MF 2004. Then only count the costs in the listed sections from LEED 2009 (Division 31 (Sections 31.60.00 Foundations) and 32 (Sections32.10.00 Paving, 32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting). Then include the costs from Divisions 03-10 (MF 1995), which are close enough between MF 1995 and 2004.

There used to be good resources online to help you easily convert to MF 2004 but since MF 1995 is so old now that many of those resources are no longer available directly from CSI. I did find this website - http://www.masterformat.com/transitionguide/, which does a single section number conversion. Google “MasterFormat 1995 to 2004” to get some other resources that will help you with the conversion. Look for an Excel spreadsheet (currently one is posted from Stanford) that is very helpful.

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Michele Helou Principal, Sage Design & Consulting Jan 24 2014 LEEDuser Member 655 Thumbs Up

as evident by the comments here and my own questions on a current project - there seems to be a lot of general confusion throughout the years as to what divisions/sections the BDC MR Calculator should include and what should be excluded - with 'gray' areas that presumably would be included if they helped raise the percentages and omitted if they don't (ie paving).
Why can't the usgbc/gbci issue a template BDC Material and Resource Calculator with all the CSI sections that should be included in the first column? This would be incredibly helpful - we could just delete the lines that don't apply. They could issue 2 versions - MF 1995 and MF2004 for LEED NC2009 projects.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Jan 24 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Michele - What a great idea! I too have a long wish list of things I would love for USGBC to implement to make the process smoother and more straightforward. (For instance, wouldn't it be great if USGBC were monitoring this forum and took your idea and ran with it?)

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Michele Helou Principal, Sage Design & Consulting Jan 24 2014 LEEDuser Member 655 Thumbs Up

shhh Michelle - I think they are monitoring ....
reminds me of a quote from Auden Schendler ' the USGBC should be aiding and abetting green projects' ...
;-)

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barbara anderson
Dec 23 2013
Guest
21 Thumbs Up

Level playing field for Recycled Content

Can someone please tell me how a LEED specification specialist establishes the recycled content requirement? The information below is from a specification for 800,000 s/f of ceiling tile, where the total would add up to 25% Total Recycled Content.

“They must also meet LEED criteria defined as follows:
• MRc4: Provide acoustical ceilings with a minimum post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. recycled content of 5% and a minimum pre-consumer recycled content of 40%.
• MRc5: Provide acoustical ceilings with regional content.”

LEED MATERIALS AND RESOURCES CREDIT 4.1 does not say anything about the breakdown between Post and Pre Recycled content. It is ONLY calculated on the “Value of the recycled content”. Can anyone give me a reason why a ceiling tile with 66% Pre-Consumer and 0% Post-Consumer would be rejected? The total recycled content would be 33% which would surpass the 25% requirement.

Thanks

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Dec 23 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Barbara - It is hard to get an exact recycled content value in Part 2 - Products on the specifications. Typically, I just put a recycled content requirement in Part 2 and quantify it only if I have a specific product in mind or if I know I can get postconsumer waste content for a specific product. The specifier on your job may have been trying to get a minimum percentage recycled and hence used 25%.

Please note that each individual product does NOT have to have any recycled content minimum. The overall percentage for the project has to meet or exceed the 10% and 20% thresholds.

Please review the credit requirement language for MRc4 as well as the Reference Guide for additional information on how to calculate postconsumer vs. preconsumer. I see no reason why the ceiling tile you are providing would be rejected.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Dec 23 2013 LEEDuser Expert 12101 Thumbs Up

Barbara,

I'll echo Michelle's comments and add on a couple more. The specifier may not realize how to really specify the project to meet the LEED goals of the project. I've done what Michelle has done and specified a minimum %. But this is done when the products selected vary widely in the amount of recycled content and we want to screen out the non contributors. I've also used the 25% to reinforce the steel default.

Also, since you are posting in NC, Division 9 should not make or break the LEED strategy for the project's MR 4 & 5 goals. I've done several analysis over the years working with division $ breakdowns and LEED. Over and over again, it is clear that these MR 4 & 5 credits are really earned in Div 3, 4 and 5. Division 9 seals the deal from my point of view.

I also see no reason based on recycled content that your ceiling tiles would be rejected. There may be another reason and LEED is taking the blame.

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barbara anderson Dec 23 2013 Guest 21 Thumbs Up

Thank you both for your comments, this is very helpful.

Susan, it is also my suspicions that LEED is taking the blame to allow for single sourcing from the General Contractor.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator Lake/Flato Architects
Nov 19 2013
LEEDuser Member
1180 Thumbs Up

Material invoices

I realize that actual material invoices are not required for upload, but I am on a project right now where many of the subs are giving me a percentage of the contract amount. Is this acceptable/typical?

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Joseph Ford, AIA Architect, RSP Architects Ltd. Nov 19 2013 Guest 289 Thumbs Up

Typical? No. I have always relied on the general contractor to compile cost information. They have to track it anyway and it just seems odd to ask an architect/LEED administrator to sort through subcontractor invoices.

Acceptable? I don't see why not. It just makes it your task to convert the percentages into actual dollars so the material calculator can be filled out.

Another thought - I'm having a hard time picturing what these percentage invoices look like but it seems like it could bring you some grief if you are pursuing MRc7 Certified WoodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System.. You do have to upload line item invoices with dollar values for that credit.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Nov 21 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Greetings from Greenbuild Nation in Philadelphia – hence my delay in responding. I’m surprised the GC is not doing the work you are describing. You need an actual material cost for the materials themselves but maybe you can back that out from what they are providing.

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R. Ted Krasnesky Manager of Sustainable Construction Pepper Construction Company
Nov 14 2013
LEEDuser Member
56 Thumbs Up

Total Material Default Value

I recently challenged a LEED reviewers interpretation of the total material default value. They used the total cost of construciton including the electrical and mechanical costs to deny the project 3 LEED MRc4 points. The following is their response:

"The default value to determine the value of building materials to be considered in MR credits 3, 4, 5, and 6 is 45% of total construction cost. The review team explained this in the construction final review comments. A default value cannot be adjusted by specific project circumstances, such as an unusually large proportion of mechanical and electrical equipment. "

My understanding is that, according to page 372 of the 2009 Edition of the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, to determine the default total cost of materials:

"Determine the total materials cost for the project by multiplying the total construction cost (hard costs only in CSI MasterFormat 2004 Edition Divisions 03 -10, 31 (Sections 31.60.00 Foundations) and 32 (Sections32.10.00 Paving, 32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting) by 45%."

The total construction cost are not to include:

Division 00 Procurement and Contracting
Division 01General Requirements
Division 02 Existing Conditons
Division 11 Equipment
Division 12 Furnishings
Division 13 Special Construction
Disivion 14 Conveying Equipment
Division 21 Fire Suppression
Division 22 Plumbing
Division 23 HVAC
Division 25 Integrated Automation
Division 26 Electrical
Division 27 Data Communications
Division 28 Electronic Detection and Alarm

Is my understanding incorrect?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Nov 14 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Ted - Your understanding is correct but there is a language discrepancy in what is written in the overview section and the Calculations sections of MRc3, MRc4, MRc5, and MRc6, which is puzzling.

There is a subtle language difference on page 337 of the first edition of LEED Reference Guide: "However, LEED for New Construction, LEED for Core & Shell, and LEED for Schools allow project teams to apply a 45% factor to total construction costs (including labor and equipment) from Construction Specification Institute (CSI) MasterFormat™ Divisions 03–10, 31 (Section 31.60.00 Foundations) and 32 (Sections 32.10.00 Paving, 32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting) to establish a default total materials cost for the project. I am trying to point out: “total construction costs (including labor and equipment)” vs. “total construction cost (hard costs only).”

I see that the BDC Material and Resource Calculator (Aug 2012) states: “Includes hard costs for CSI MasterFormat 2004 Divisions 3-10, 31.60.00, 32.10.00, 32.30.00, and 32.90.00 only. Excludes mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components, and equipment.”

That subtle but critical language issue aside, it is very clear that “Do not include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components or appliances and equipment in the calculations for this credit.” per the Reference Guide and the Calculator. I think you have a reviewer who is misinformed. I would consider contacting GBCI via Contact Us (http://www.gbci.org/org-nav/contact/Contact-Us/Project-Certification-Que...) and select Questions about Review Comments from the dropdown menu.

Or, if you are at Greenbuild next week, get an appointment in the LEED Certification Work Zone - http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/events/LEED-certification-work-zone.aspx. I’m going to ask about the hard vs. total costs language issue while I am there.

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R. Ted Krasnesky Manager of Sustainable Construction, Pepper Construction Company Nov 14 2013 LEEDuser Member 56 Thumbs Up

Michelle - Thank you. This information will be helpful in my dialog with the USGBC.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Nov 14 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Ted - Just a note of caution… I recently quoted some information from another LEEDuser forum via the Contact Us form and the reply from the review team was: "Please note that while the LEED User website or LEED User forum information may provide useful guidance based on other project team experiences, information on that site should not be considered precedent setting."

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Jonathan Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, Blackburn Architects Dec 11 2013 LEEDuser Member 76 Thumbs Up

Ted - You are right. The reviewer has misinterpreted the 45% default rule based on old Credit language dating back to LEED v2.0 & v2.1. Since v2.2 was issued, the default calculation required deducting out MEP, Elevators, Equipment, Furnishings, & Special Construction (Div13) BEFORE multiplying by 45%. LEED-2009 prescribed the same calculation. In your response to reviewers, cite the 2009 Reference Guide passages that you list above and cite 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. #3009. The ruling, as corrected 10/25/2005, prescribes exactly the procedure that you used and remains in effect under LEED-2009.
Good luck...Please let us know how this turns out.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Dec 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Jonathan - Good of you to find this LI and point it out to us - http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=3009. I’d be surprised if the reviewer would be citing this since it is a MRc3 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 (now LI) but you never know. Ted - I hope you have gotten a resolution.

I got some answers on the subtle language difference I noted on 11/14 but need to submit a correction to USGBC. More to come on that.

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R. Ted Krasnesky Manager of Sustainable Construction, Pepper Construction Company Dec 11 2013 LEEDuser Member 56 Thumbs Up

Johnatan and Michelle - I appreciate the feedback and LI reference. Currently the USGBC has sent my informal appeal to their LEED expert and I'm waiting for thier response. I'll post their response once it's received.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Jan 31 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

I finally got around to submitting a suggestion to USGBC earlier this week regarding the subtle language issue in the Reference Guide (and in the BDC Calculator) that I noted earlier in this post. I was told the issue would be brought up for consideration when they review proposed Addenda items. Stayed tuned for official word of a change.

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R. Ted Krasnesky Manager of Sustainable Construction, Pepper Construction Company Jan 31 2014 LEEDuser Member 56 Thumbs Up

Michelle & Jonathan - I appreciate your advise. The USGBC LEED expert has reversed the original ruling and approved the 3 LEED points associated with the LEED material default value calculation. They required the following additional doumentation which excludes MEP trades from the total LEED material cost :

"Documentation such as an Excel spreadsheet that shows the hard costs for CSI MasterFormat 2004 Divisions 3-10,31 (section 31.60.00 Foundations) and 32 (Section 32.10.00 Paving,32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting), or a copy of the sworn statement with all of the items that are NOT included in the total blacked out and a revised total at the bottom, would be acceptable."

I ended up giving them both formats. In the Excel speadsheet I translated the sworn statement 1995 CSI divisions into the 2004 CSI format.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Jan 31 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Congratulations! I’m so glad it worked out for your team! Thanks for posting the response so everyone could both learn of the positive outcome and what they required as backup.

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant Taitem Engineering
Nov 06 2013
LEEDuser Member
680 Thumbs Up

steel BOF and EAF

A lot of steel manufactures are providing a "LEED" letter that includes both recycled content values for Electric Arc Furnance (EAF) and Basic Oxygen Furnance (BOF) method of producing steel. If they don't state which was was used for the steel on our project, do I have to ask them to tell me which method was used for the steel on our project and if they don't know should I use BOF, which always has significantly less recycled content than EAF? Is one method more common than another? Also, I am seeing a lot of steel suppliers state that they recover approx. "95-100% of the steel scrap within 500 miles" from their facility. In this case, the only way around this is we would need them to provide an actual location in order to count as regional material, correct? Thanks!

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Nov 06 2013 LEEDuser Expert 12101 Thumbs Up

The EAF or BOF is helpful to know and understand in general but doesn't translate into LEED documentation. If you don't know the recycled content for the steel then you use the default of 25% (see above).

You're right on with the regional extraction but you should go read that thread for more specific advice.

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant, Taitem Engineering Nov 06 2013 LEEDuser Member 680 Thumbs Up

Thank you, Susan. I won't need to use the default value because I do have recycled content information. Let me further clarify, the mfg letter does provide post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. and pre-consumer recycled content values for both EAF and BOF. My question is, do I need to find out exactly which method was used for the steel on our project in order to report the recycled content correctly? And, if i can't find that out should I just use the BOF recycled content values because they are always lower than EAF? Thanks.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Nov 06 2013 LEEDuser Expert 12101 Thumbs Up

Ah, my mistake, I thought you had the furnace type only. If you have the manufacturer's letter on their content, use that. How they got there is interesting but not relevant.

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant, Taitem Engineering Nov 06 2013 LEEDuser Member 680 Thumbs Up

Well although I have the recycled content value per each method (EAF and BOF), I dont have which of these methods was used to produce the steel used on our project. And its because of that I am not sure which recycled content values to use in credit calcs. As I mentioned before, I assume I should use the lower recycled values (as in BOF), but obviously I don't want to unless I have to!

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Nov 06 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Ladies - Good dialogue here. At first I was going to take Susan's approach and say that the industry-wide letters are useless but (when I came back from lunch) understanding that the information is manufacturers specific is important. Yet, Courtney - are you sure it is manufacturer specific and not industry wide? If so, it seems like the manufacturer would tell you what type of furnace they use for their steel production - at least broken down by their product type(s).

I think you are correct on your assumption regarding regional.

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Courtney Royal, LEED AP BD+C Sr. Sustainability Consultant, Taitem Engineering Nov 07 2013 LEEDuser Member 680 Thumbs Up

On the letter I got from the mfg, it says they purchase steel from three different mfg facilities and depending on that supplier, they may have, at any given time, steel manufactured by BOF and by EAF. Further in the letter they provide recycled content values per each BOF and EAF method from American Iron and Steel Institute and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. So, those would be industry wide numbers, correct? What should the letter say to be acceptable? Sorry to belabor this, but there is so much to work and I am constantly confused with how to record steel!

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Nov 08 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

I think yes - they are industry wide numbers. I think the letter would need to say the specific recycled content about the different products your project used. Have you seen Nucor’s documentation - http://www.nucor.com/media/Recycled_Content_Letter.pdf?

For steel, I’ve fallen back to use the 25% PCW default value unless I can get mill certs (mill certificates) or other specific documentation from the manufacturer (like Nucor’s), which has spoiled me.

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Mariah Grife Nov 08 2013 LEEDuser Member 316 Thumbs Up

Michelle -

With the Recycled Content letter you reference from Nucor - Do you feel that there Combined Nucor Steel Recycling rate is not specific enough? Or are you indicating that this is the adequate amount of specificity you need when getting documentation from the manufacturer?

I have Nucor on a project I am working on, and was planning to plug the combined recycling rate in for their recycled value - would this be correct?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Nov 08 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Mariah - I focus on page 2 of the Nucor info. You can get what "shape" steel you have and then you get the specific manufacturing facility - and voilà - you have the exact pre- and post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. recycled content info for your product.

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Mariah Grife Nov 11 2013 LEEDuser Member 316 Thumbs Up

The problem is, multiple kinds of steel shapes were purchased on the project I am on, and I am not sure what percentage of what shape was purchased. Is the Nucor-specific Combined value listed on page 1 of Nucor information not specific enough for LEED Online reviewers?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Nov 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3472 Thumbs Up

Typically I require (and can get) the contractor to break out the steel costs by shape so that I can assign the specific recycled content outlined on page 2 of the Nucor info.

I do NOT think the combined value on page 1 is sufficient - especially since it is a combination of pre- and post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. recycled content. Without the costs by steel shape, I think you have to fall back on the default 25% post-consumer value.

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