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..

    1 Recycled content is defined in accordance with the International Organization of Standards document, ISO 14021 — Environmental labels and declarations — Self-declared environmental claims (Type II environmental labeling).

    2 Postconsumer material is defined as waste material generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product, which can no longer be used for its intended purpose.

    3 Preconsumer material is defined as material diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process. Reutilization of materials (i.e., rework, regrind or scrap generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process that generated it) is excluded.

    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 GCA General Contractor (GC) manages, coordinates, and oversees building construction; may perform some construction tasks; and is responsible for hiring and managing subcontractors. 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 VOCA volatile organic compound (VOC) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. 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 GCA General Contractor (GC) manages, coordinates, and oversees building construction; may perform some construction tasks; and is responsible for hiring and managing subcontractors. 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

Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.

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.

621 Comments

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Richard Metts CPC, LEED AP BD+C Durotech, Inc.
Sep 28 2016
LEEDuser Member

Calculating MRc4 - Recycable Material Credits

Project Location: United States

Please help me to clarify the following cost scenario's as they relate to calculating the MRc4 Material Credits.
1) Fabricated Structural Steel - Do you use the whole cost for the fabricated steel in the calculation for recyclable value or just the material value of the steel.
2) Concrete - Do you use the whole cost for installing the concrete including the plywood, cement & rebar recyclable materials.
3) Drywall - Do you use the whole cost of the drywall system installed in the recyclable material calculation or just the cost of the material times the percent recyclables?

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Byrne Lambkin
Sep 20 2016
LEEDuser Member
69 Thumbs Up

Material Calculator

I am unable to download the material calculator from the Document Tool Kit

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 20 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Byrne—I am not having any trouble downloading the calculator. Maybe the problem has been fixed.

I use Chrome. When I click on a link, I don’t always notice the download “button” that appears in the lower left hand corner of my browser. Clicking the button open the downloaded file. If I don’t see the button the first time, I’ll often click the link again. Each time, another button appears indicating that I have downloaded another copy. I’ll do it again and again, and it drives me crazy!

For the most up-to-date calculator, you may want to use USGBC’s official spreadsheet designed to submit via LEEDonline: http://www.usgbc.org/resources/materials-and-resources-calculator-v2009

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Agata Mozer GO4IT SP Z OO SP K
Jul 29 2016
LEEDuser Member
834 Thumbs Up

Recycled content in road underlay material

Project Location: Poland

In our project coal slate which is a waste from a coal mine will be used to create the underlay for the roads and the building. Can this be included in recycled content calculations? And if it can be treated as recycled content should it be classified as pre-consumer content?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jul 31 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Agata—Material may be considered “recycled content” if it meets all of the ISO-14021 criteria:
. . 1. It is “material that would have otherwise been disposed of as waste or used for energy recovery but has instead been collected and recovered [reclaimed] as a material input, in lieu of new primary material, for a recycling or a manufacturing process.”
. . 2. It is “material that has been reprocessed from recovered [reclaimed] material by means of a manufacturing process and made into a final product or into a component for incorporation into a product.
. . 3. It is either pre-consumer material (“material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process,” excluding “reutilization of materials such as rework, regrind or scrap generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process that generated it”) 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. material (“material generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product which can no longer be used for its intended purpose,” including “returns of material from the distribution chain”).

I assume that, by “coal slate,” you mean, “coal refuse.” As I understand it, coal deposits usually occur layered within other rocks. The rocks are mined and then broken apart to extract the pure coal, leaving behind tons of rock fragments. Mining companies usually dispose of this “refuse” in “gob piles,” in “slate dumps,” and in pits behind dams. If, by reprocessing the material into subbase for paving and concrete, your project diverts the material from its normal waste stream, the material may qualify as pre-consumer recycled content.

The biggest challenge may be that coal refuse often contains traces of coal, sulfur, heavy metals, and acids that can leach out to contaminate soils and groundwater or to interact corrosively with adjacent materials. Before using such materials, your project should consider and address all environmental ramifications.

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Agata Mozer GO4IT SP Z OO SP K Aug 01 2016 LEEDuser Member 834 Thumbs Up

Thank you very much for your reply!

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Vibha Pai Student University of Cincinnati
Jun 19 2016
Guest
217 Thumbs Up

Master's Research Survey

Project Location: United States

I am conducting this survey in affiliation with University of Cincinnati in support of my hypothesis for my Master's thesis. It would just take 10-15 minutes of your time. By completing this survey you would help me in giving my research the required depth in understanding the achievability of the credit points in the Material and Resource category of LEED v2009 and v2013. I will send in the end results of this survey to you, which could potentially make your decision process easier on any future LEED registered projects you intend to work on.

The following is the link to my survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XR3ZVZN
Thank you in advance for taking the time!

Post a Reply
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Jace Christensen
May 18 2016
Guest
11 Thumbs Up

Recycled Content Percentages

Project Location: United States

I am calculating the percentage of materials that contain recycled content. It says MEP type work is not to be included in the calculation. Is this in the recycled value or the total value of materials, or both? I want to make sure I am calculating the values correctly.

Also, is there a place I can go for answers and clarifications to simple questions like this one?

Thanks!

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Renee Shirey May 18 2016 LEEDuser Member 3888 Thumbs Up

Jace, this information is in your LEED Reference Guide book, in the MR Overview section. It clarifies what spec sections should be included in calculating your material costs for the MR credits.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 18 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

There is also a ton of basic information on common questions and avoiding pitfalls... here on this site! In this forum and above in the member content (which you have to pay to see... but is well worth it).

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Renee Shirey May 18 2016 LEEDuser Member 3888 Thumbs Up

I definitely agree with Tristan on that. I would be doomed without my access to Leeduser. SO incredibly helpful, well worth the cost for the member content. I have actively worked on over 10 LEED projects (some completed, some almost done with reviews, some heading to their first round of design review) and use the site weekly. Sometimes daily. Oh heck - sometimes hourly.

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Lyle Axelarris Civil/Structural Engineer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Design Alaska May 18 2016 Guest 1906 Thumbs Up

Same here. LEEDUser is an indispensable resource that has helped me on every LEED project I've worked on.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE May 18 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

The LEEDuser forums are packed with useful information and advice. For basic LEED credit language and addenda for the various LEED Rating Systems and versions, there is also http://www.usgbc.org/credits. As Renee points out, the Reference Guides are essential, especially if you are heading up a LEED project.

However, if you are a contractor or consultant on a LEED project, there is one source that can provide the information most crucial and unique to your project. Consult the project’s LEED Administrator. There should be a LEED-AP leading the project that knows the project’s goals and understands the specific requirements of the particular rating system that the project is using. (For example, the requirements may differ if the project is using NC versus CI, Version 4 versus LEED-2009, or one credit strategy versus another.)

Find this person, establish a relationship, and seek their guidance. They should become your “go-to” person for which information to provide, how to do calculations, and how to format your data. Just be aware, every project is unique. The next project’s LEED-AP may have different needs.

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Martin Meehan Principal Meehan Associates
May 11 2016
LEEDuser Member
334 Thumbs Up

Definition of Assembly

LEED language seems a bit loose about what must be considered assembly.

I see from previous comments from Jon Clifford that assembly is what is delivered to site "assembled", which makes a lot of sense.
However is this anywhere in the reference guide or LEED addenda?

Thanks

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Michelle Robinson Schwarting Re:Vision Architecture May 11 2016 LEEDuser Member 1490 Thumbs Up

Per LEED Ref Guide, MRc4 under 6. Calculations, there's a section titled "Calculating Assembly Recycled ContentAssembly recycled content is the percentage of material in a product that is either postconsumer or preconsumer recycled content. It is determined by dividing the weight of the recycled content by the overall weight of the assembly.":
"An assembly can be either a product formulated from multiple materials (e.g., a composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. panel) or a product made up of subcomponents (e.g., a window system)."
It's pretty much anything that is made of multiple types/pieces of raw materials (ex. concrete, engineered wood floor, SIP, cabinet).

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Martin Meehan Principal, Meehan Associates May 11 2016 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

Thanks Michelle for your response.

Let's use the particular example of a facade glazing system.
Could it be arguably considered a "product formulated from multiple materials" by following that definition?

Having the glazing system broken down in glass and frame by cost, or by weight, can have a huge impact depending on each situation (cost ratio can be 45%-55% while weight ratio can reach up to 90%-10%).

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Michelle Robinson Schwarting Re:Vision Architecture May 11 2016 LEEDuser Member 1490 Thumbs Up

In the LEED Ref. Guide (same section as above), it says it has to be done by % weight. Of course right below that it talks abt. cementitious material in concrete being allowed to be broken out if you can provide the cost of the cementitious materials separate from the cost of the aggregate.

You could always try submitting the cost of the glass separately from the cost of the frame and have two line items in your materials matrix. However, in concrete, there's likely not very much cost associated with mixing the materials whereas with a façade glazing system there may be quite a bit more cost associated with assembling the glass and the frame, which would then be harder to take in to account and/or would reduce your material cost, thereby making the impact of the recycled content be less. But you could try it... Worst case, if the LEED Reviewer doesn't like it, they'll flag it and question it following your preliminary submission.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE May 11 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Martin—In the Reference Guide, the “Calculations” sections of MRc4, MRc5, and MRc6 each state, “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.” Therefore, the starting point should be the assembly that arrives as a unit to the site and that you are able to itemize as a separate cost. For example:

Case 1: Your façade system might consist of glass panels delivered from one fabricator and aluminum framing pieces shipped from a different maker, along with gaskets, connectors, and other accessories from other manufacturers. If your contractor pays for each of these items separately, the most appropriate approach is to treat each component as a separate item or assembly.

Case 2: By comparison, I have worked with “unitized” curtain wall systems, wherein the glass and the framing components are preassembled and delivered to the site as pre-glazed panels to be lifted into place by cranes. The materials cost of such systems is usually considerably higher than the piece-by-piece system described in Case 1 because the cost includes the fabricator’s pre-assembly costs, which occurred off-site, prior to delivery. In this case, the most appropriate approach is to treat the entire façade as one assembly, and calculate the components by weight.

Case 3: Perhaps this is most common. Just as in Case 1, the components arrive to the site separately. However, the contractor pays one price to the glass fabricator for the glass, and one price to the framing supplier to cover, not just the framing, but also the gaskets and miscellaneous components. The framing supplier refuses to provide an itemize breakdown of all the parts and pieces. In this case, even though each framing component might be delivered separately, it would be appropriate to treat them as a single assembly. Since the glass is a separate line item, it would be a separate assembly.

In the end, much depends on how you pay for the product, how the product is delivered, and how much information you can put your hands on.

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Martin Meehan Principal, Meehan Associates May 12 2016 LEEDuser Member 334 Thumbs Up

Thanks Michelle and Jon, I appreciate your clarifications.

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Patricia Lloyd Sustainability Manager Leopardo Companies, Inc.
Feb 26 2016
LEEDuser Member
310 Thumbs Up

New USGBC Issued Materials & Resources Calculator v06

Project Location: United States

Has anyone used this new materials and resources calculator uploaded to USGBC site in Jan 2016 for LEED v3? I am unclear on the regional materials - there doesn't seem to be a designation for where you put the mileage for harvested and manufactured locations. Let me know your thoughts, or what I am missing.

http://www.usgbc.org/resources/materials-and-resources-calculator-v2009

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Feb 26 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Patricia—We have been trying to get clarification from USGBC. See this comment string from the NC-2009 MRc5 page: http://www.leeduser.com/comment/redirect/61864.

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Steven Burke Sustainability Manager, SMMA May 17 2016 LEEDuser Member 69 Thumbs Up

I would also like clarification. Seems like an error made by the USGBC.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE May 17 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Just as an update: On April 8, 2016, USGBC issued a revised version of the Materials and Resources Calculator (v07). For now, at least, you can download this spreadsheet from the same link that Patricia posted above. There appear to have been some modifications to the instructions, but I suspect that v07 does not resolve all the issues that Patricia raised concerning v06.

LEEDuser has a new forum, “LEED Online Status Updates” (http://www.leeduser.com/strategy/leed-online-status-updates) to address issues with the latest LEED Online forms and calculators. There, Michelle Reott is working with USGBC to answer or resolve issues with the new tools. Check in to the new forum for the latest news.

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Elliot Young Designer Rinkachung Architecture
Feb 03 2016
LEEDuser Member
91 Thumbs Up

Fire Extinguisher & Cabinet (MRc4 & MRc5)

Project Location: United States

Hi,
we just received a submittal for fire extinguishers and recessed fire extinguisher cabinets - claiming to have recycled content and regional materials. would fire extinguishers and cabinets be considered "equipment" similar to elevators which are excluded from these credits? I've never seen this before.

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Francis Chua AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Project Architect at NK Architects Feb 03 2016 Guest 214 Thumbs Up

Elliot,
Products in CSI-2004 divisions 3-10 plus some site related sections apply to this credit. Fire extinguisher cabinets and fire extinguishers do belong to division 10. However, the LEED Reference Guide stipulates to "Include only materials permanently installed in the project". Fire extinguisher cabinets are obviously permanent and is no doubt applicable to this credit. Fire extinguishers, since they can be removed, may be perceived as not permanent. In my opinion, they should be considered as permanent because they are required by life safety code to be there at all times. Someone chime in if they have had fire extinguishers accepted by LEED reviewers in your projects.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Feb 04 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Elliot—Francis is right that fire extinguishers and cabinets are in CSI Division 10, so you should include the cost of these items when figuring the “Total Materials Cost” for the MR credit calculations.

However, for most projects, the actual cost to purchase extinguishers and cabinets is infinitesimal compared to the rest of the building. Even if they had 100% 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 reclaimed and manufactured next-door to the jobsite, they could only contribute a fraction of a percent of the “Total Materials Cost” to MRc4 & MRc5.

What’s more, the data that I have seen for these products tends to be sketchy. They often claim a percentage of recycled content for their steel, but these items contain more than just steel. They can rarely identify extraction points or percentages of regional components.

Since the potential for these items to contribute much to MRc4 & MRc5 is so low, I have stopped asking fire extinguisher & cabinet manufacturers to provide complete data. I just request a lump sum cost for extinguishers and accessories and focus my documentation efforts on the big-ticket items. That way too, I don’t have to fuss over whether fire extinguishers qualify as “permanent.”

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Thomas Perkins PE, LEED AP Dirigo A/E, LLC
Jan 25 2016
LEEDuser Member
12 Thumbs Up

Planting recycled conent

Project Location: United States

“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.”

I have just received a submittal from my landscaping contractor for $200,000 worth of various types of plants and trees (section 32.90.00) claiming 0% 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. If I am to follow blindly and include this in my calculation for the MRc4 credit this only raises my material budget and hurts my percentage of total recycled content. I have a hard time believing that planting trees should hurt me in any way. In the other direction, if I am able to assume to have 100% for both pre and post-consumer I have a hard time believing that I can claim a $300,000 recycled content value for a $200,000 purchase.
How should I address this?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP® BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC, a LEED® Proven Provider™ Jan 26 2016 LEEDuser Expert 11528 Thumbs Up

Thomas - The MR credits' percentages are calculated via fractions. Using the Total Construction Cost method, the total cost of the LEED-required divisions and sections times 45% is the denominator (bottom) of these fractions. (For Actual Total Materials Cost, the denominator is the sum of the cost of all materials within the LEED-required divisions and sections.) Using either method, the denominator must be consistent between MRc3-MRc6. (MRc7 is a special case.) The reference you list is related to the denominator of these fractions - the total cost used (whether 45% of construction costs or actual material costs) must be consistent in MRc3-MRc6.

The numerator (top) is the cost of the specific materials that contribute to that credit. For instance, the numerator for MRc4 is the cost of the recycled content materials contributing to that credit. Hence, having no value for recycled content for the planting material does NOT hurt you as $0 is included in the numerator for MRc4. Hope this is clear.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jan 26 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Thomas—Not every product contributes toward every LEED credit. For example, your purchase of trees may not benefit credit MRc4 at all, but if the nurseries that grew the trees are local, the trees could count toward MRc5 Regional Materials. The trees may also help achieve some of the Sustainable Sites credits, but if they require irrigation, they could hurt your Water Efficiency credits. LEED is all about trade-offs.

Many projects spend far more money on structure and envelope materials, such as steel, aluminum, and concrete, than they do on plantings. Such products often contribute significantly to MRc4, offsetting less costly materials that contribute little or nothing.

Therefore, include the cost of the plants when calculating the project’s “Total Material Cost” that is the denominator for the MR credits. If your project uses the “Actual Material Cost” method, make sure not to include the cost of installing the plants in the total.

Finally, you cannot claim $300,000 recycled content for a $200,000 purchase because no product can claim BOTH 100% 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 100% pre-consumer recycled content. The sum of post- & pre-consumer cannot exceed 100%. Since pre-consumer content only counts half under MRc4, a product that has 50% post- and 50% pre-consumer content would only contribute 75% of its value toward MRc4, and a product that was 90%-10% would only contribute 95%.

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Hieu Huynh Environmental Engineer, LEED AP BD+C
Jan 06 2016
Guest
223 Thumbs Up

Recycled content in Steel frame of facade

Project Location: Vietnam

Hi, I would like to ask in case that facade manufacturer cannot confirm recycled content in their steel frame of facade, can I use default number 25% recycled content for steel product as stated in LEED guideline. Is 25% applied to structural rebar only or all types of steel products?

Thanks for your support and advice.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP® BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC, a LEED® Proven Provider™ Jan 11 2016 LEEDuser Expert 11528 Thumbs Up

Hieu - The default recycled content value for steel can be applied to all steel products - including the steel framing of a façade.

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Sarfaraj Khan Commissioning & Sustainability Consultant Green Consulting
Dec 09 2015
Guest
39 Thumbs Up

Anchor Bolt Recycle Content

Project Location: United Arab Emirates

Hi

I have a anchor bolt material and the supplier is saying that the steel is the world most recycle material. Modern steel production methods use at least 25% of recycled steel to make new steel.based on this they state that they hardware items and slotted channel alongs with anchors containing steel have a minimum recylced content of 25%. The steel used in these items are 100% recycled

Hence they provide letter stating above and it also state that they product has 25% pre consumer and 100% post consumer, can this be letter acceptable as reliable and verified source or need more information from the supplier end to meet this credit

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Michelle Reott LEED AP® BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC, a LEED® Proven Provider™ Dec 09 2015 LEEDuser Expert 11528 Thumbs Up

Sarfaraj - A letter from a supplier is typically good documentation but per your inquiry having 25% preconsumer and 100% 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. in the same product is not possible (equals 125%). Typically I use the default 25% post-consumer recycled content for steel materials that have low dollar values because it's not worth the time to track down the actual recycled content. Steel is the only material that LEED allows you to use a default recycled content without tracking down the exact content. Of course, recycled content could be higher than the default and for expensive items, it's worth getting accurate information from the supplier. (In this case, I don't think you have that.)

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Sarfaraj Khan Commissioning & Sustainability Consultant, Green Consulting Dec 10 2015 Guest 39 Thumbs Up

Dear Michelle

Thank for reply

Regards

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Susan Di Giulio Project Manager Zinner Consultants
Dec 01 2015
LEEDuser Member
1889 Thumbs Up

3 LEED projects sitting on a parking & retail layer cake

Project Location: United States

Hi,

We have a campus master site occupying a city block. There are 7 podium floors with a hotel, condo towers and retail sprouting from them that are parsed into 3 separate LEED projects. (This approach was sanctioned in a call to the GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).). We are delineating the LEED Project Boundary for each of the three projects according to metering and mechanical systems, in such a way that 100% of the campus area is within one or another of the 3 LEED Project Boundaries. IE, there is no area in the master site that is not within a LEED project boundary

The whole enchilada is being built by one contracting team, all at the same time, on top of a common, deep matt foundation. Maybe that makes it more of a lasagna. At any rate, there is no differentiation of materials costs, process or personnel as the concrete and steel is erected on site.

We understand that MRc4 & 5 are not eligible for a campus approach, yet there is no reasonable way separate the cost of the major construction materials separately, by building. Is there any precedent for processing these all together in some way? Should we take the aggregate costs and pro-rate them by percentage of floor area?

Has anyone come up with other ways to do it?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP® BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC, a LEED® Proven Provider™ Dec 02 2015 LEEDuser Expert 11528 Thumbs Up

Susan - You post some good questions! I don't know of an officially-sanctioned way. My first thought was an LI (ID #10265 - http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=10265) related to MRc2 and using a gross floor areaGross floor area (based on ASHRAE definition) is the sum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building, including basements, mezzanine and intermediate‐floored tiers, and penthouses wi th headroom height of 7.5 ft (2.2 meters) or greater. Measurements m ust be taken from the exterior 39 faces of exterior walls OR from the centerline of walls separating buildings, OR (for LEED CI certifying spaces) from the centerline of walls separating spaces. Excludes non‐en closed (or non‐enclosable) roofed‐over areas such as exterior covered walkways, porches, terraces or steps, roof overhangs, and similar features. Excludes air shafts, pipe trenches, and chimneys. Excludes floor area dedicated to the parking and circulation of motor vehicles. ( Note that while excluded features may not be part of the gross floor area, and therefore technically not a part of the LEED project building, they may still be required to be a part of the overall LEED project and subject to MPRs, prerequisites, and credits.) weighted average. Interestingly that LI says it is applicable to MRc4 for Core and Shell projects. Maybe this could be used a basis for precedent?

It wouldn't be fair to not get to count these valuable materials. So, unless another LEEDuser has any ideas, I'd suggest you propose a methodology to GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). (since you've already talked to them about your complex project) and see if you can get it sanctioned. (And of course, let us know the outcome!)

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Susan Walter Specifications Director, Populous Dec 02 2015 LEEDuser Expert 21224 Thumbs Up

Could you align the concrete pour and the steel erection with the division of materials by building? You'd have a monthly report in terms of the pay app for materials and the Architect should be there at least bimonthly and could photograph to confirm. If they did steel erection for one tower before moving onto tower two, you could capture that easily. The harder ones are when all three are under construction equally.

What if you took a MRc1 approach to dividing up the materials? A Revit model would make that easier. This may be an approach the GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). would be more familiar with as the pilot credit for LCA used a similar approach.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Dec 03 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

I agree with Susan. Your contractor should be able to break out costs geographically by construction sequence. This is especially true of large projects with big-ticket rebar, concrete, and steel purchases. Most contracts that I have worked with have REQUIRED contractors to break down major items on their Schedules of Value into smaller, verifiable, units of work, often tied closely to the construction timeline. If it’s not too late, I’d make this a contract requirement.

Perhaps the bigger question is, why use the Master Site approach? If construction is concurrent and if each building pursues the same set of credits under the same Rating System, a Group Certification might be more appropriate. In a Group, the MR Credits are documented for the whole project, not building-by-building.

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Robin Dukelow, LEED AP BD+C Sustainability Consultant; Project Manager, Henderson Engineers, Inc.; Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC Apr 20 2016 LEEDuser Member 145 Thumbs Up

Hello, I have a similar situation where we will have a Master Site with 2 NC Projects. Has anyone found a clarification about how to prorate/allocate the site development materials across the MR Credits? - thank you!

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Apr 20 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Robin—As you probably know, the LEED Campus Guidance requires Master Site project teams to divide up the site and define a separate LEED Boundary for each separate project within the campus. The Campus Guidance then requires each “sub-project” to document the MR credits separately. Therefore, you must report the costs and sustainable characteristics of the materials within each boundary separately from one another in such a way that each cost tally includes ONLY those materials installed inside each respective boundary.

Like Michelle and Susan above, I know of no USGBC/GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).-sanctioned way of estimating or prorating the breakdown, either by building area or by site area. (Imagine, if one site was mostly paved and the other was mostly planted, a weighted average would allocate plants to the paved site and paving to the planted site.)

The appropriate approach is to clearly delineate each LEED boundary on the site development drawings and work with your project specifiers, contract administrators, and construction managers to write provisions into the contract documents that REQUIRE the contractor(s) and subcontractors to report material costs separately for each site. This will provide the separate cost tallies required by the Campus Guidance, and it only requires slightly more effort than providing single line items for the entire Master Site. It would certainly be easier (and more defensible) than trying to estimate after-the-fact how much of each material went where.

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Robin Dukelow, LEED AP BD+C Sustainability Consultant; Project Manager, Henderson Engineers, Inc.; Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC Apr 21 2016 LEEDuser Member 145 Thumbs Up

This makes complete sense to me; thank you!!

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Michelle Robinson Schwarting Re:Vision Architecture
Sep 23 2015
LEEDuser Member
1490 Thumbs Up

Inclusion of selective Div. 12 products?

Per the LEED Ref. Guide MR Overview Table 1, CSI Division 12 "may be included with Divisions 3-10, if done consistently for credits 3-7."

Does this mean we can selectively choose which Div. 12 items to include in all the MR credits (ex. include 123116 Mfr. Metal Sandwich Panel Casework but exclude 123623 Plastic Countertops) or does it mean that if we include any item from Div. 12 on the project then we have to include all Div. 12 materials?

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Michelle Robinson Schwarting Re:Vision Architecture Sep 25 2015 LEEDuser Member 1490 Thumbs Up

However in LEED v4 Ref. Guide in the overview to Materials & Resources, under the "Qualifying Products and Exclusions" with regards to passive MEP materials it says:
"If they are included in credit calculations, they must be included consistently across relevant MR credits. However, unlike furniture, if some of these products are included in credit calculations, not all products of that type must be included. For example, if the cost of ducts is included in the MR calculations for recycled content, the cost of ducts that do not meet the credit requirement does not need to be included in the numerator or denominator of the credit calculation."
So in v4 not necessarily all products would have to be included.

Also, there's a really old 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. from 2003 (#3005) that says:
"Materials in CSI Masterformat Divisions 2 through 10 must be included. If a project team chooses to include additional items as part of the base material cost, such as elevators, appliances, hot tubs, or other semi-mechanical/electrical components, it should do so for all relevant material credits, which include MR Credits 3, 4, 5 and 6 (note that MR Credit 7 utilizes a different cost denominator, referencing only the wood-based products of the building). "
So back in v2 you could pick and choose for those kinds of items as well.

Because of these two references, I'm not sure that the entire Division 12 would have to be included. (Both v4 and v2 also had clearer definitions of "furniture" than simply referring to Div. 12...)

Has anyone submitted with only some materials from Div. 12, and what was the LEED Reviewer response?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 26 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

I think the operative words are “if done consistently,” but I came to this conclusion from a different direction.

LEEDv4 has completely revamped the MR credits, so the V4 citation above may not apply to LEEDv3. Indeed, its reference to ducts is irrelevant, as LEEDv3 explicitly excludes HVAC work specified in CSI Division 23. Since this is an NCv3 forum, I will focus on V3.

Similarly, LI#3005, which addressed MEP work as well as furniture, does not apply to NCv3. When this and several other rulings came down, NCv2 requirements were still evolving. In the decade since, newer Reference Guides have supplanted many of these early Rulings.

However, of these old rulings, LI#3901 is still relevant to NCv3. It clarified that built-in furniture may be included in LEED credit calculations. The ruling also allowed non-permanent furniture to be included, “BUT ONLY if furniture is included in the project's scope of work. Furniture must then be included in all relevant credit calculations or none at all…. A common sense approach must be taken when deciding what to include as furniture. LEED certification reviews will ensure that project teams are reasonable with what they choose to include and will not skew the results and conflict with the intent of LEED.”

More recently, LI#10294 provided a clear definition for furniture and distinguished between “permanent,” “base building” “real estate” and “non-permanent” furniture that is “personal property” (http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=10294). This ruling also highlights that CSI Division numbers do not align perfectly with these definitions. Division 12 includes items that, for many projects, are permanent (casework, countertops, walk-off systems, etc.). Division 10 includes items that this ruling excludes as non-permanent furniture (visual display units).

Therefore, when I have documented NC MR Credits, I have included only those Division 12 items purchased as permanent, base-building construction. I have chosen to exclude movable and “non-permanently” affixed furniture and other items bid and purchased separately as furniture, fixtures, & equipment (FF&E).

At a "LEED Certification Work Zone" at a past GreenBuild, a GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Reviewer concurred with this approach. She recommended that we document our rationale in case reviewers question our choices.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP® BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC, a LEED® Proven Provider™ Dec 24 2015 LEEDuser Expert 11528 Thumbs Up

I posed this question to Kristen Vachon Vogel, Certification Reviewer, at the GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Certification Work Zone at Greenbuild in DC. Sorry for my belated post. She confirmed verbally that all of Division 12 must be included or excluded.

She followed up with this via e-mail: "In NC v2009, Div 12 may be included or excluded, as long as it is done consistently throughout the project. If included, all items in Div 12 must be included in the denominator (Total Materials Cost), unless otherwise noted in the guidance (ex. artwork and plants are to be excluded)."

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Peter Doo President Doo Consulting, LLC
Sep 11 2015
LEEDuser Member
3587 Thumbs Up

Calculating material use for mock-ups.

Project Location: United States

When working on large projects with substantial mock-ups, should one include these materials in the project documentation? I would assume that since these costs are in the project budget, they should be included. Often these installations are build off-site. So, I have a similar question about tracking construction waste. What have others done?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 11 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Technically, NC Credits MRc3 through MRc6 all evaluate PERMANENTLY INSTALLED materials from CSI Divisions 03 through 10 and parts of 31 & 32. [Only MRc7 allows the option of counting temporary wood in the FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts. tally.]

Since most mockups are temporary, demolished once construction is complete, these should not count. On the other hand, mockups that are constructed in-place and accepted as permanent construction definitely count. Likewise, you may count materials saved from mockup if they ultimately are incorporated into the project.

Also, even though mockup requirements are specified in the same Spec Sections as the materials being emulated, CSI classifies “Mockups” in Division 01, under “Quality Requirements.” For budgeting, mockups are often broken out as administrative or overhead costs.

Therefore, when I have worked with mockups, I have not included mockups in material & cost tallies, counting only the demolition waste from on-site mockups toward MRc2. Off-site mockups do not count at all.

Still, even the most substantial mockups cost a minor fraction of the typical construction budget. They make little difference either way. I don’t count them, but I also don’t fret much trying to parse out their costs.

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CAROLINE PIN In charge of environmental certification on a jobsite EIFFAGE CONSTRUCTION
Aug 27 2015
Guest
196 Thumbs Up

Assembly Calculator for Materials with Recycled Content

Project Location: France

Dear all,
I use the assembly calculator for a product made with wood and aluminium. I use weight repartition :
Wood = 5%= 100% postconsumer
Aluminium = 75 % = 60% preconsumer
Other = 20%= 0% recycled content.
After calcultation I get a global Cost Contributing to MRc4 Recycled Content but no a global rate(%) recycled for the entire product. I don't know how complete the general Table for Sustainable material.
Can anybody please help ? I hope my question is clear.
Thanks !

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Aug 29 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Caroline – Are you using the LEEDuser “Assembly Calculator for Materials with Recycled Content” (Recycled Content Calculator.xls) from the “Documentation Toolkit” tab above?

The formulas in that spreadsheet calculate the “Assembly Recycled Content Value,” just like “Equation 3” in the LEED-2006 BD+C Reference Guide. Although this value can be useful when evaluating various assemblies, the spreadsheet does not output the post- & pre-consumer percentages that you need to enter into the LEEDonline BD+C MR Calculator spreadsheet.

Calculate the recycled content of your assembly as follows:

Wood.. 5% × ( 100% post +.. 0% pre ) = 5% post +.. 0% pre
Alum.. 75% × (. . 0% post + 60% pre ) = 0% post + 45% pre
Other. 20% × (. . 0% post +.. 0% pre ) = 0% post +.. 0% pre
=============================================
Total 100% . . . . . . . . . . × . . . . . . . . .( 5% post + 45% pre )

Therefore, your assembly has 5% post- & 45% pre-consumer recycled content. Enter these percentages into the BD+C MR Calculator.

You can use this same approach for any assembly…or even make your own spreadsheet to replicate this calculation.

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CAROLINE PIN In charge of environmental certification on a jobsite , EIFFAGE CONSTRUCTION Sep 02 2015 Guest 196 Thumbs Up

It was exactly my problem ! Thank's a lot. I complete the spreadsheet with formulas.

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Noriko Yasuhara Woonerf Inc.
Aug 05 2015
LEEDuser Member
3168 Thumbs Up

Seismic isolation system

Hi,
Our project includes seismic isolation system, because the project building is located in earthquake prone country.
Our question is which construction division does "seismic isolation system" belong? Can it be categorized as equipment? And can we exclude it from the calculation? Any comment would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Aug 05 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

NC Credits MRc3 through MRc7 all evaluate materials classified by Construction Specification Institute (CSI) MasterFormat under Divisions 03 through 10 and parts of Divisions 31 & 32.

However, CSI classifies “Sound, Vibration, and Seismic Control” Systems in Division 13 “Special Construction.” Therefore, you should exclude these materials.

[Project teams outside North America may not be familiar with CSI MasterFormat. It is a standard for organizing construction specifications, costs, and related data. A free outline of the current version is available at this link: http://csinet.org/numbersandtitles .]

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Noriko Yasuhara Woonerf Inc. Sep 10 2015 LEEDuser Member 3168 Thumbs Up

John,
Thank you very much!

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David Brown Charles Brown Glass Co.
Jul 16 2015
Guest
30 Thumbs Up

Assemblies

Project Location: United States

In idiot terms could someone please tell me what makes up an "assembly". I am a glazing contractor working on a LEED project. I have two items needing LEED submittals for the MR4 credit. One product consists of steel, aluminum and glass which the LEED consultant said was considered an assembly but then told me to verify if the other item was an assembly and if so submit info as required.The other product consists of aluminum and glass so this would be considered an assembly as well correct.?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP® BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC, a LEED® Proven Provider™ Jul 16 2015 LEEDuser Expert 11528 Thumbs Up

David - An assembly in LEED terms is "product formulated from multiple materials (e.g., a composite woodComposite wood consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), wheatboard, and strawboard. panel) or a product made up of subcomponents (e.g., a window system)." So your other product composed of aluminum and glass is also an assembly. Assemblies are a bit tricky to calculate and it is unfortunate your LEED consultant is not willing to provide you with the details on what they are and how to calculate them. Recycled content value for an assembly is determined by weight. In addition to the post- and/or pre-consumer recycled content for each component, you'll need the weight of each component (steel, glass, and aluminum) as well as the overall weight of the entire assembly. You also need the cost that you are charging to the general contractor for the product.

Check out the Sample Assembly Calculation worksheet in the Recycled Content Calculator under the documentation toolkit for this credit. The percentages in the %Material/component represents of total product are based on their weight. Hope this helps!

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David Brown Charles Brown Glass Co. Jul 16 2015 Guest 30 Thumbs Up

Thank You - Thank You - Much appreciated!

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jul 16 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

David—Michelle is right. Calculating assemblies is tricky. However, figuring out whether you have an assembly is easier. To put it simply, ask yourself, “What gets delivered to the site?”

For example, if a glass railing system consists of steel framing, aluminum trim, and tempered glass infill panels, and if the parts ship separately, coming together only when they are installed onsite, the system is not an assembly. You would report the costs and the recycled percentages of each component separately.

By contrast, a prefabricated window unit would be an assembly. You would calculate the assembly’s composition as Michelle describes, using the weights of its various components, and report one cost for the whole shebang.

In either case, the costs that you report should include taxes, shipping, and all other expenses incurred prior to delivery (such as off-site fabrication costs). Leave out costs incurred onsite (such as installation equipment & labor).

Are those terms idiot enough?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE May 11 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

For a less simplistic look at assemblies, see the underlying logic outlined in a more recent discussion:
http://www.leeduser.com/comment/redirect/64277.

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Matthew Martin Assistant Site Superintendent, QBS, Inc. Aug 16 2016 Guest 63 Thumbs Up

This may be quite a silly comment but if one shall account for the connectors in an assembly like glass railing systems should one also account for the collective screws/nails/metal pegs/glue for an assembly like plastic laminate casework or wood cabinetry. (I can understand the hardware being counted as a relevant material) It seems overly-meticulous to qualify a wood or p. lam cabinet as an assembly because it is nailed or glued together at delivery. Should one account for the <1% by weight as the nails or screws or am I being inordinately exact? Thank you

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Aug 17 2016 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Matt—It’s not a silly comment at all. You’re just figuring out that you don’t really have to track down everything to document the MR credits. Think about it…millions of components can go into a single building, but counting them all up is unnecessarily finicky. Fortunately, the MR credits are weighted by cost. By focusing first on the products and assemblies that you spend the most money on, you can weed out tiny bits and pieces.

For example, a project with a steel structure spends a large chunk of its budget on steel assemblies. The makers of heavy steel members can often provide detailed MRc4 data reporting high recycled content, but the lightweight odds and ends are often harder to track down and contribute far less to the credit. I work hard to get the most complete MRc4 data for my major steel assemblies, then I work my way down through the materials budget tracking MR credit contributions for all the big-dollar items.

By the time I get to glass railing systems (as in the example above), I may have secured my MRc4 credits, but just to be safe, I may go ahead and track the recycled content in the system. Again, for this assembly, I start with the heaviest components that have the highest recycled content. All I care about is the assembly’s total cost, it’s total weight, the weights of the heavy hitters, and their respective recycled percentages. I just figure the balance of the “other” components at 0% recycled without figuring the individual weights of each one.

Finally, to your cabinetry example: the hardware’s MRc4 contribution is probably negligible, but if you use 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. for MRc7, the assembly calculations are the standard documentation that an FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts.-certified fabricator should know how to provide.

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Mike Stopka Director of Sustainability Solomon Cordwell Buenz
Jul 09 2015
Guest
672 Thumbs Up

Getting total material cost for the project

Hello

I am having a lot of trouble getting a total material cost from the contractor. Is there any good/easy/quick strategy to get this number? How is this typically calculated by the contractor?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP® BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC, a LEED® Proven Provider™ Jul 09 2015 LEEDuser Expert 11528 Thumbs Up

Mike - Are you referring to the Total Materials Cost in the BDC MR Calculator? If so, it is either 45% times the total construction costs for the LEED Project (CSI MasterFormat 2004 Divisions 3-10, 31.60.00, 32.10.00, 32.30.00, and 32.90.00 only) or the actual cost of all materials (excluding labor and equipment) within those same CSI Divisions/Sections.

The easiest way to get Total Materials Cost is to get the contractor to provide you with total construction costs for the project as outlined above. (That really shouldn't be too hard for the contractor to provide.) You can then enter that value into the BDC MR Calculator on worksheet A. Instructions into cell F13. The calculator will multiply it by 45% to arrive at the Total Materials Cost.

For additional information, see Calculating Materials Costs to Achieve MR Credits in the Materials and Resources Overview or the Calculations section in MRc3-6 in the LEED Reference Guide.

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Jennifer Frey Project Manager, Sellen Construction Company Inc. Jul 09 2015 LEEDuser Member 593 Thumbs Up

I have experienced this a few times. Encourage the contractor to just provide summary numbers and let them know that they must exclude their Division 1 costs so no one is going to see their General Condition costs or how they got to specific values. If they can just summarize the divisions Michelle listed above, it should put them at ease that you are not going to have or publish sensitive pricing information.

If they still resist/do not respond, you can also try requesting from the client a copy of the latest construction estimate, which the contractor must have provided the owner. Then you can follow Michelle's direction above. Good luck!

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Mike Stopka Director of Sustainability, Solomon Cordwell Buenz Jul 09 2015 Guest 672 Thumbs Up

yes Michelle, total material costs in BDC MR Calculators.

Thanks for the responses.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jul 11 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Mike—If your contractors haven’t purchased everything yet, they may not be certain yet what their total costs will be. Remember that project costs can be a moving target. Preconstruction estimates may help with goal setting, but these early projections often get fuzzy around the edges.

However, on most US projects, once the contract has been awarded, the Owner & Contractor agree to contract costs established in a Schedule of Values (SoV) submitted by the Contractor. If the SoV itemizes costs by Spec Section, breaking out the total construction cost for the “Default” calculation can be easy. Even better, if the SoV breaks out labor from materials, projecting Actual Material Costs (at least at the beginning of work) may be straightforward.

On the other hand, once a project is underway, Change Orders, unforeseen conditions, market fluctuations, etc. can modify these agreed costs. As a result, the real, final costs may be unknowable until all work is complete.

To keep on top of changes, I have required contractors to submit periodic summaries reporting their spending as the work progresses. [As Jennifer & Michelle point out, this can be a general, Division-by-Division breakdown.] By the end of the project, we can pin down the final, actual totals.

If Contractors assemble these “running tabs” monthly, as they pay their subs & suppliers, and if they submit them to the Owner with their monthly Pay Applications, the cost reports become just another part of their billing ritual, and the extra bookkeeping is minimal.

Of course, the best way to make this happen is to spell out the requirements in the Contract Documents. Project billing and accounting procedures usually are specified in Division 01 of the Specs, under “Payment Procedures,” and in individual Spec Sections, under “Measurement and Payment.” Work with your project’s Owner, contract administrators, and Construction Managers (the people who hold the purse strings), and with project Specifiers, to integrate LEED cost reporting into the project’s billing/payment procedures.

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Haley Duncan Project Manager Silver Oak Cellars
Jun 04 2015
LEEDuser Member
264 Thumbs Up

Materials Tracking

Project Location: United States

Hi, regardless of whether we use the default budget or actual materials cost, must we track every item that falls under the applicable divisions? Or can we only track the items that comply w/ the reuse/regional/recycled/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)./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. credits?

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Michelle Reott LEED AP® BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC, a LEED® Proven Provider™ Jun 04 2015 LEEDuser Expert 11528 Thumbs Up

Haley - To answer your first question - no. The second question's answer is yes.

For LEED BD+C (as compared to LEED ID+C), you only have to track details (cost of product, LEED material attribute) for items that comply with the reuse/recycled/regional/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)./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. credits.

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Susan Walter Specifications Director, Populous Jun 05 2015 LEEDuser Expert 21224 Thumbs Up

While you don't have to track all the items, you may want to aim for that anyway. We find it easier to have the contractor get in the groove of recording materials and tracking them. From a process point of view, it is easier if all submittals are treated the same. Just a thought. If you have a larger project, this may be easier and less likely something you need will get overlooked.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Jun 05 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5467 Thumbs Up

Susan—I am not sure I agree about larger projects. I have worked on such projects that have attempted this approach—requiring MR data for every single Div03-10/31/32 product. It only made a complex project more complicated & costly.

When we make dozens of contractors gather data from hundreds of subcontractors for thousands of products, everyone, including construction managers, architects, and LEED-APs, expends enormous amounts of time, money, & resources generating, transmitting, & evaluating data in mountains of paperwork and servers full of electrons.

LEED-APs can preserve these resources, the goodwill of their Teams, and their own sanity by doing their homework up-front. By identifying the big-dollar, heavy-hitter products during design, they can target construction submittal requirements toward these items. This can allow the LEED-AP to work more closely with the particular parties responsible for the most important submittals. During the busy construction phase, this tactic can also free up contractors and others to focus on IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors., VOCs, Commissioning, and the big-picture activities critical to a successful LEED project.

The “Checklist” tab at the top of this page offers LEEDuser members numerous tips on how to analyze material budgets and research materials to hone down a project’s data tracking needs while still meeting credit goals.

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Rezkar Abdulmajeed Architect/LEED AP SANA Associates LTD
May 03 2015
Guest
233 Thumbs Up

Manufacturer Declaration Letter

Project Location: Canada

We completed the design of our project in 2013 and start construction in 2014. Some of the Declaration letters we received from the Manufacture (To Whom it may Concern) are dated before the start of our project. Is this acceptable or do I have to ask the contractor to provide an updated one.

Thanks

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