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.
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.
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%.
DPost-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.
At 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.
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.
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.
Unless the manufacturer can provide more specific information, teams must use the lower recycled content value in the given range.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Yes, subject to any questions that may come up during a normal LEED review process.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations
To increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials.
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:
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.
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.
Lists of green, recycled content materials organized by LEED credit and CSI section.
The Steel Recycling Institute provides defaults for recycled content of steel based on furnace type.
MasterSpec offers guidance on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.
Support on incorporating LEED requirements into specifications.
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.
This is a materials tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values of products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing.
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.
This is a VOC tracking sheet that helps subcontractors record the low-emitting qualities of the products they purchase and can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing. Use it specifically for earning low-emitting materials credits, but in conjunction with documentation for MR credits.
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.
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).
Use this form to track your concrete mixes and their recycled content and distance to the manufacturing and extraction sites.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each NC-2009 MR credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.
Version 4 forms (newest):
Version 3 forms:
These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."
Documentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.
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.
We receive letters from suppliers and manufacturers documenting the recycled content of the materials, but not declaring the cost per item. So, is this sufficient or the letters must document the cost?
Nouran - Typically the material cost information comes from your subcontractors (or suppliers) while the recycled content information comes from the manufacturer. It is fine to have the letters without cost information.
Certification obtained, site occupied & used - fast forward a couple of years - any reason why Owner can't remove a recycled floor tile he doesn't like and replace it with a product of his choosing?
Robert, if you mean any reason relative to a two-year-old LEED-NC certification—no.
An existing building should be encouraged to pursue LEED for Existing Buildings certification, which would provide some standards for products to be installed in a situation like this.
Does anyone know where I could find a LEED materials form file for MRc4 and MRc5 credits to send out to all the subcontractors working in the project for them to fill out and return. One of them has already turned in a LEED Materials form from 2011 from Paladino and Company Inc filled out, this form includes everything I need from them for each material type (sub contractor name, contact name, spec, date, product name, material cost (minus labor and equipment), material source location, recycled content, and a place for them to sign and date. I tried to find it online but had no luck finding that or something similar. Thank you for your help in advance!
Update - I found one that it perfect on this site.
Filipe - Have you tried clicking on the "Documentation Toolkit" Tab above?
LEEDuser offers several sample forms.
Hi, I cannot access the contents in the Documentation Toolkit
Can you please advise.
Rezkar - My apologies for not noticing earlier that Jon's reply to Felipe's inquiry did not take into account that he (and you) are guests on LEEDuser. Guests only get access to the forum and not the other LEEDuser resources like the Documentation Toolkit. You can find out more about purchasing membership here - http://www.leeduser.com/select.
I wanted to make sure there was something there in relation to Felipe's question - especially if you are considering purchasing a membership, which you should think about. I checked the Documentation Toolkit and there is an Environmental Materials Reporting Form. It states: "This is a materials tracking form that helps subcontractors record the environmental values of products they purchase. This can be distributed to each trade subcontractor and submitted to the GC for filing." It is a one-page PDF form.
Is the clinker a recycled material for cement ?
(Cement clinkers are formed by the heat processing of cement elements in a kiln)
Thank you for your help
Cement clinkers are typically produced by firing limestone and other raw materials in a kiln specifically for the purpose of grinding them up to make Portland cement. Therefore, cement clinkers typically do not qualify as recycled materials.
The term, “clinker” is also commonly used to describe an industrial waste product derived from burning fossil fuels. If repurposed for another use, this kind of clinker could qualify as pre-consumer recycled content. However, this type of clinker is not used to make cement.
However, Portland cement manufacturers sometimes add to their clinkers a percentage of synthetic (FGD) gypsum, fly ash, or bottom ash from fossil fuel waste. Some also add foundry sand, a byproduct of metals casting. Check with your cement manufacturer. I have seen data from some manufacturers reporting 7 to 10% 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." recycled content due to these fillers.
What percentage of backup documentation (Invoices, letters, etc,.) do i have to submit for all the materials that are listed in the LEED form cut-sheet submitted in the application process?
Thank you for your help in advance!
Felipe - The forms for MRc4 and MRc5 list that you have to provide backup for 20% of the materials by cost for each credit. The BDC Materials and Resources Calculator helps you tally the 20% by cost uploads you need. You can check off the items there for backup (Cutsheet Provided2 column) and it will give you a % of total at the bottom.
Thank you Michelle. I made an observation that you can possibly help clarify for me. As i looked over the LEED concrete tracking form and also seeing what our supplier provided, I noticed that the cost for the cementitious material is listed on its own with its respective recycled content. Then in another page the total cost for the concrete mix including all raw materials (stone, pearock, screening, etc.,) is listed with its % of material harvested within 500 miles. My question is, since these are two different costs and are for two different forms MRc4 & MRc5, are they listed with the same name? or do i specify for MRc4 the concrete mix only includes cementitious material for its costs and recycled content? and then in MRc5 I would just write the concrete mix name with its total cost and % harvested or extracted within 500 miles? Thank you in advance for your help.
Felipe - Please make sure you are using the BDC Materials and Resources Calculator, which is an Excel spreadsheet that accompanies the v04 and newer versions of the MRc4 and MRc5 forms. You may need your project team administrator to upgrade your forms if you have v03 or even the dreaded beta. Using this spreadsheet is a much easier way to track and document the MR credits than on the earlier versions of the form itself. You can get the spreadsheet from the Credit Library under Resources - http://www.usgbc.org/node/1731024?view=resources.
I think that your supplier is helping you greatly. They are setting you up to have the recycled part of the concrete mix on a separate line in the BDC MR calculator with the remaining items (less the cost of the recycled items) on another line so that you can easily document the concrete components and avoid double counting. As you indicate, the recycled component is typically also regional.
I label the concrete as "concrete w/o fly ash included" and input its regional attributes and subtract the cost of the fly ash from the overall mix design. Then I put the fly ash on its own line and input its recycled and regional attributes. This way I can help the reviewer see that I am not double counting the recycled fly ash twice for regional. Also, be sure you are using the Supplementary Cementitious Materials information in the Reference Guide to get full credit for the recycled components.
There is a Company which has sent to us some certificates indicating their ceramic tiles have different percentages of pre-consumer recycled content (depending on the model) according to the next phrase:
"recycling of ceramic waste derived from the pre-firing phase of the production process. The unfired tiles which do not comply with our top quality standards are reintroduced into the productive process."
We have doubts about their contribution as eventhough the recycled content comes from the same manufacturing process, this waste is not generated at the final of the manufacturing line. Can this 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." content be counted for LEED or is it exempt as mentioned above?. Thanks so much!!!!
The process described sounds like internal reclamation, not recycling. Reusing unfired clay is a normal practice in the ceramics industry. This practice does not divert material from landfills, and it does not qualify as recycling.
Ceramics factories sometimes also reuse what they call “grog” or “pitchers,” which are crushed remnants of fired clay. Neither does this qualify as recycling if the material comes from the same process that produces the final product.
I am aware of one US tile maker that purchases rejected porcelain from a plumbing fixture manufacturer, crushes it, and incorporates the material into the clay for their tiles. This example qualifies as pre-consumer recycling.
According to the Documentation Guidance in the Reference Guide, if we use the “Actual Material Cost” as the denominator in MR Credit calculations, we should “maintain a list of actual material costs” for materials specified in the referenced Sections. Presumably, this is to substantiate the reported material cost total. What form may this take?
Total material costs can often be derived from Schedules of Value, Pay Applications, Change Orders, and other standard construction cost controls. Will this kind of documentation suffice, or must we require contractors to provide additional, more detailed breakdowns of costs? Must they individually itemize each product that they purchase? Is this level of detail necessary?
In any case, how do we submit this list?
The LEED-Online MRc3 through MRc6 templates require only that we upload the BD+C MR Calculator spreadsheet and cut sheets representing 20% of total material cost. Nothing in USGBC’s current BD+C MR Calculator appears to require itemizing anything beyond the products that contribute to MR sustainable criteria calculations. LEED-Online does not appear to require us to enter a detailed accounting of non-contributing material costs.
Do we include the list in the initial submittal, or is this list a common request during the Preliminary Review?
Jon - Knocking on wood here, but I have never had to substantiate the costs to the Review Team that I have provided for the MR credits. Typically my backup is the construction estimate.
Nor have I ever used Actual Material costs instead of the default value due to the enormity of tracking all those actual material costs. Hence I can’t answer your questions as to what form this should take and whether this is a common request during the Preliminary Review.
If you are using the actual material costs instead of the 45% default value, you do need to keep track of the material costs for every item within the requisite divisions and sections for the MR credits. You input the total value into the BDC Materials and Resources Calculator on the Instructions tab under Step 3. Use the first cell - “Actual materials cost, excluding labor and equipment*” and not the “Total construction costs for the LEED project*” cell.
We've done this on our large projects and it is at the contractors choice. If they want to track the individual costs and they can get them, I'll let them. I'll bullet point Jon's questions.
1. Yes, you maintain a list for everything that is submitted for the MR credits. The USGBC has a downloadable spreadsheet (really the LO v3 form) the contractor can fill out. They can also create their own. It has to be complete. There will be many products on the list that does not have any MR credit. I'd bet the reviewers check the spreadsheet for non-contributing products if the team is using actual costs. It is a long spreadsheet by the end of shop drawing review.
2. Our form (that was based on the USGBC form) lists total cost, labor cost, equipment cost and material costs. Not all suppliers can or will break out all those costs. We only care about total cost (contract) and material cost (LEED). All suppliers will have to do this even if their product isn't contributing to LEED. Yes, those suppliers moan a lot about that.
3. As for submitting, we just upload it. I'm not in LO at the moment and I can't remember the details.I think this gets done in MRc4 and MRc5 - 7 are also calculated off this. Again, it is the contractors problem and not mine.
4. This list should be uploaded at the first construction review. It is not relevant at the design review. There may be open spaces and the contractor should narrate what is missing and that they are committed to providing it.
5. Yes, upload 20% cut sheets. Those cut sheets are proving the MR claim and not proving the costs. We have a LEED documentation submittal sheet that lists costs. To my knowledge, we have never uploaded that information to the GBCI. We do use those submittal sheets to check the contractor's monthly LEED submittal. Our contracts require a monthly LEED update with every pay application.
If you're running a small project, this likely seems like overkill and a lot of work. It is for a small project. Our projects tend to be long, expensive and complicated. The extra documentation saves so much hassle at the end of a project.
Susan – My experience is similar to yours: megaprojects with multiple contractors & multiple vendors, wherein a list of EVERY product furnished by EVERY vendor would be THOUSANDS of line items long. We followed similar procedures to those you describe.
You hit the nail on the head in bullet point #2 when you said, “We only care about total cost (contract) and material cost (LEED).” Allowing vendors to summarize non-contributing product costs like this greatly shortens the list while still fully substantiating the reported totals.
Your requirement under bullet point #5 that contractors periodically update their LEED cost reports is also excellent.
We have found that material costs reported in early LEED submittals rarely match actual final invoices. Costs reported prior to purchase were usually just estimates that could not reflect change orders, price fluctuations, or unforeseen conditions.
I have tabulated costs like this to calculate an accurate “Total Actual Material Cost” on past projects, but those were under LEEDv2.1 & 2.2. Unlike LEEDv3, we were not required to upload cost breakdowns or cut sheets.
Now that I may have to do this under LEEDv3, my concern was what level of detail was necessary. You have allayed my fears. Contractors must carefully itemize materials that contribute to MR Credits (in the numerator). Non-contributing materials must be fully accounted for in the Total (denominator), but it should not be necessary to break down those costs into minute detail.
One thing we find pretty consistently is that certain trades like to provide one LEED calculation after all their product is delivered. Usually these are cast in place concrete, steel and pre-cast items. This has been okay but you do have to keep on top of the contractor so they keep on top of the supplier. Retainage is a wonderful thing.
Otherwise, it sounds like you are on the right path. Good Luck!
Susan - Thanks for sharing your extensive experience on this issue!
Yes, Susan, thanks so much.
You are right, cast-in-place concrete, steel, & precast tend to be the laggards. Contractors usually cannot be sure of exact costs, quantities, & sources of these systems’ components until everything has been placed or fabricated & delivered.
These are also usually the heavy-hitters for MRc4 & MRc5, high in cost, recycled content, & regional materials. Therefore, one must track down actual final costs & sustainable criteria for these items regardless of whether one is using the “Actual Cost” or the “45% Default” calculation method.
We used the budget method for all divisions concerned to calculate the total material cost and we are now using the actual cost for the big tickets items to achieve our objectives.
On some items, we end up with a discrepancy between budget cost and actual material cost.
Sometimes the actual cost is above the estimated one used for the total material cost. Would that be a problem and how can we solve it?
Charline - I'm not sure I am following your question. Do you mean you planned to use the 45% factor for total construction costs (aka budget method) but now you are using actual material cost for the denominator of the fraction used for MRc4? You can’t mix these - you have to use one or the other. If you use actual costs, you have to the actual cost of EVERY material in the affected Divisions and Sections and not just the cost of the materials that contribute to the MR credits.
For the numerator of the fraction for the MR credits, you need to always use the actual costs - not a budget value.
If this doesn’t help, re-post your question and I’ll help you further next week after the holiday weekend
Michelle - You appear to have omitted a verb in the comment above:
"If you use actual costs, you have to ................ the actual cost of EVERY material in the affected Divisions and Sections and not just the cost of the materials that contribute to the MR credits."
What did you mean to say?
Jon - You are correct. I left out the second "have." It should have read: "If you use actual costs, you have to HAVE the actual cost of EVERY material in the affected Divisions and Sections and not just the cost of the materials that contribute to the MR credits"
I need to add to this conversation because I too, like Charline, am running into trouble with reviewer comments on this issue since I tend to use the budget method for the total materials costs, then the contractor's actual submitted materials cost for the calculations. In which case my denominator is sometimes larger than my numerator.
For some context, I am working on projects in the middle east where typically the majority of construction products are imported and the labor costs are actually orders and magnitudes less than some of the products: because of no unions and day laborers that are very competitive on cost (aka cheap, relatively unskilled). My only option is to write a narrative to the reviewer stating that the default materials value used in the US, 45% for materials and 60% labor, does not apply in this region where it is more like 30% to 40% labor and 60% to 70% materials. Will this be enough? Any advice?
I have also worked on and successfully submitted a project which was using lots of high tech HVAC systems which caused this problem to be even more inflated. I wrote a narrative that explained that this new tech was "a risk" for all concerned, added a fear factor that significantly increased the cost by 2X the standard and required foreign expertise. This was enough to pass. Hope it will work again.
Amit and Charlene - I am still not sure what you mean by "budget" method for total material costs. Was my guess that you mean that you apply the 45% factor to total construction costs in the affected divisions and sections (see CSI below)? If so, you need to rethink your strategy. I have heard from both the USGBC Materials and Resources Subject Matter Expert (SME) and GBCI Materials and Resources SME who is a LEED Certification Reviewer. Both stated that USGBC has NOT approved an alternative default materials cost percentage. If using the default total materials cost method, project teams must use the 45% factor. Otherwise, projects should use the actual material costs if the 45% default does not represent the project’s material cost, whether it is because of labor or costly items. FYI: The numerator of these calculations can never be larger than the denominator.
Amit - I did want to note that HVAC equipment is never part of the calculations for MRc3-7. Please refer to Table 1 MR Credit Metrics in the Materials and Resources Overview (page 337 of the first edition of the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction). You are only dealing with materials identified in Construction Specification Institute (CSI) MasterFormat™ Divisions 03–10, 31 (Section 31.60.00 Foundations) and 32 (Sections 32.10.00 Paving, 32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting).
I did not add HVAC equipment to my MR credit calculation (nor Electrical, Plumbing etc.). My comment was in reference to the huge difference between the Overall Project Cost(reported in Plf2) and the Materials Budget Cost in the MR credits.
Thanks for your feedback.
Does anyone know if the contractor can upload an internal MR Calculator for MRc4-7, or do they have to download the excel spreadsheet from the Credit Resources tab in LEED Online, complete it, and then upload? Is an internal calculator acceptable, or should I ask them to re-enter the data?
Miriam - Prior to last week, I would have said you need to use the BDC Calculator. But this thread from LEED-CI answered by USGBC staffer Sarah Buffaloe indicates otherwise - http://www.leeduser.com/credit/CI-2009/MRc4?page=0#comment-50383.
Roof anchors are permanently installed - can they be included in the calculations? I've seen them specified in Division 7 under roofing, Division 11, and perhaps can bu under Division 10. I ask as Division 11 is not to be included in the calculations, but 7 and 10 are.
Where have roof anchors been specified for your project?
If your Project’s Specifications called out rooftop anchor devices in Div07 as a “Roof Specialties,” or in Div05 “Metal Fabrications,” include them in MR Credit calculations. If specified in Div11 as part of “Window Washing” or “Maintenance” equipment systems, exclude the devices from the calculation.
In any case, the cost of such devices is usually negligible relative to a project’s total material cost. Whether you include them in the MR calculation will probably have little effect, either way, on the overall Credit percentages.
Thanks Jon for providing this sound advice. I would anticipate the anchors would be specified in Division 07. I agree that the cost of these items will be fairly small and hence the impact will be negligible.
Our project is utilizing a significant amount of wood reclaimed from an old cannery in the area. There's not enough value in this wood to claim MRc3 or MRc5 credits, however I am curious if this resurfaced and reused wood can be included in the MRc4 Recycled Content calculations.
Hi Tia - Your description sounds like the wood is reused - not recycled. Hence based on what you shared, I would say no - this repurposed material is not recycled and hence cannot be counted here.
Check out FAQs above and “Reused” vs. “recycled” at http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc3.
I hope you have looked closely at your regional materials to ensure this wood can't contribute there with other materials like stone, concrete, plant materials, and many more.
In this instance large wood timbers were salvaged from a demolished cannery, nails were pulled, timbers were milled into various smaller dimensions for paneling and trim, and then resurfaced. Would this time consuming process of changing the original structural timbers into finished wood products fit the definition of “re-manufactured” for the purpose of MRc4 recycled content?
Michelle, I agree that this material fits most neatly as a reused material for MRc3, but I've always thought that reused materials are kind of a subset of recycled content materials, and could be counted as recycled if the submitter chooses. That doesn't apply the other way, of course--most recycled materials can't be called reused. And they certainly can't be claimed in both credits.
But either recycled or reused materials CAN also be claimed as regional (if they fit the requirements), so including these timbers under MRc5 wouldn't prevent Tia from also listing them under MRc3 or MRc4.
I haven't checked the recent CIRs or addenda for this issue, however--is there some ruling that argues against my supposition that this material can go under MRc4?
Nadav - I’m not aware of the subset you are referring to. As I’ve been doing research for clients I’ve kept an eye out for relevant LI’s in LEED Interpretations Database. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything that makes a case for reused as recycled. LI ID #2289 actual indicates the opposite - http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=2289. This non-applicable LI from 2003 (http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=3007) says the opposite thing regarding remanufacturing but this is an older version of MRc3, which rewarded reuse of materials from off site. Please note that I did not do an exhaustive search of LI Database, which would be the definitive source. I would encourage Tia or someone from that team to do that as that is the role of a paid LEED consultant.
However, I was re-reading MRc3’s LEEDuser forum and there is an FAQ there that discusses remanufacturing. (Note: LEED Reviewers typically eschew quoting LEEDuser in responses but…) See “We are demolishing an existing building, crushing the concrete and stone, and using it as fill onsite. Does this count under MRc3?” at http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc3. In fact, there is a current unanswered post on that forum (http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc3#comment-50462) that is asking about this FAQ. I can’t find an LI that backs up this FAQ and it may be based on the non-applicable LI ID #3007 (not valid for LEED 2009), which could be adding to the confusion. This is certainly a misunderstood area that would great to have some more clarity on. Maybe Tristan can provide assistance across forums?
Michelle, LI #2289 refers to virgin rock found on-site, so its not even applicable. Excavation of the building foundation is in effect a form of mining and extraction. Thus, the limestone encountered must be considered a virgin material, since it wouldn't have been used otherwise if the building were never built. Technically, its a stretch to consider it salvage; since it was never part of a building. And since it is land-clearing/earthworks debris, you can't get credit under MRc2. However it does have a cost-value as a building material, so you could use the market rate for quarried limestone as part of your MRc5 calculation, furthermore your extraction (excavation) & manufacturing (breaking & crushing) distances are both 0, since everything happens on-site. This how I understand LI 2289.
Anyhow, I looked at language for MRc3 in the 2009 BD+C Ref. Guide.
Under Section 2. Related Credits, it says: "Remanufactured materials are not considered a re-use of material. However these materials can contribute toward the following credits: *MRc2 *MRc4"
However in Table 1 of Section 6. Calculations: Remanufactured doors are considered a re-used used item for the material cost calculation. This leads me to believe that MRc3 & MRc4 exist on a spectrum (doors into tables [MRc3], doors into mulch [MRc4]). Since the points threshold is greater for MRc4, 10% of cost versus 5%, I'm sure most reviewers will allow you to count your salvage materials as recycled content under MRc4 so long as you don't count them again under MRc3. However it would be an interesting question to ask GBCI.
Jamison - Welcome to this conversation. As you have discovered, there is conflicting information on the recycled/reused issue. (My use of LI ID #2289 was an example of this.)
Tristan Roberts contacted USGBC about a question on MRc3 about this issue and I contacted them today also. Hopefully we'll hear back soon. Stay tuned!
Thanks Michelle. I have a project where we are using some salvage materials but not enough to move it into points territory, and I'd like to see if I could reclassify it as recycled.
I will let you know what I hear. In the mean time and as you probably already know, if the material is regionally extracted, you should be able to count it for MRc5 even if you can't reclassify it.
Michelle, Trinstan. Have you heard anything new from the USGBC, concerning the matter?
Tia - The USGBC Materials and Resources Subject Matter Expert (SME) was out of the office for an extended time so I heard from the GBCI Materials and Resources SME who is a LEED Certification Reviewer. She stated: “The defining factor of whether it can be included in MRc3 or MRc4 would appear to be whether it is remanufactured (i.e. turned into a new product). It appears that salvaged columns which are remanufactured into a product with a new use: trim/finish, would be considered 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. Remanufactured goods cannot apply to MRc3. If the columns were simply refurbished and then used again as columns, then they would contribute to MRc3.” This is good news for your efforts and I hope it works out!
Jamison – I would not take this as wholesale allowance to count your salvaged materials as recycled. You would need to look at whether these materials are actually remanufactured. Tristan is going to respond to your posts on MRc3.
Should I include loads of soil, stone, pipe bedding materials, underground pipe, catch basins or other site work materials to the total cost of materials? Credit requirements say, "Include materials permanently installed in the "project". Does "project" mean only the physical building or outside our building like the concrete drive?
If they do contribute, can stone and soil be counted as regional materials? Can all concrete be counted as recycled or regional materials then or is it just Fly Ash that's recycled in concrete?
Matthew - Please read this post regarding what CSI MasterFormat Divisions and Sections are included in LEED 2009 for the MR credits - http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc4?all-comments=true#comment-46523. Do you have a Reference Guide? If not, you need one. The CSI Divisions and Sections are listed in there.
Project means the area within the LEED Project Boundary (your LEED Site) but then you have to overlay the allowed CSI MasterFormat Divisions and Sections for the MR credits.
Stone can be regional as it is specified in Division 04. Depending on where soils are specified may allow them to be included. For instance, topsoil placement and grading would fall under 32 9X XX and hence be included in MR calculations. But Soils for Earthwork would fall under 31 05 13 and would not be included.
Concrete can be regional and its fly ash can be recycled. You need to review the Supplementary Cementitious Materials section of the Reference Guide (First Edition, Page 373) to get the most value of the fly ash as you get to take its recycled content value based on the mass of the cementitious materials only, rather than on the entire concrete mix.
Please consider opening this URL to see all the comments for this forum and then search for fly ash to further assist you - http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc4?all-comments=true.
I was redirected to this forum from Tristan Roberts i am trying to get some important info on recycled content in broadloom . What is the major difference between recycled content percentages claimed by a manufacturer particually J&J Industries ? For example , this manufacturer simply states that a broadloom carpet has a total recycled content of 25% but does not state that it is by total product weight how different would the percentages be , would they go up or down if it by total product weight? How can a manufacturer claim one percentage value on it own website and claim a different percentage value on the ECCOSCORE site that it is attached to. Is there an industry standard or governmental agency that would oversee these claims or is this something that is just posted .Would'nt this create an unfair advantage to this manufacturer compared to other mills that list their broadloom recycled percentages by total product weight.
Michael - I assume you have contacted Technical Services at J&J Industries directly and asked them your questions. Are you sure information is not by weight? I have not worked with them but I do know that other carpet manufacturers typically provide information by weight for specific products. I am also not familiar with ECCOSCORE - do you mean ecoScorecard - http://jj-invision.ecoscorecard.com? That looks like a great tool for getting documentation based on a specific product. What they have there is how I am used to seeing information from other carpet manufacturers - based on a specific product (style, backing, etc.). Consider reading the Overview in http://jj-invision.ecoscorecard.com/help regarding interface with the manufacturer.
Some manufacturers have their recycled claims verified by third parties but others just post the information based on their own analysis. You might have seen some general recycled information on their website but it seems like the information you would get from ecoScorecard is what you need for documentation. Based on what I read about ecoScorecard and their experience with green building, I would think that the recycled content information there would be by weight.
Can I add the total cost of furniture, and consider it as one item in the LEED form?
Nouran - Typically you'll have different manufacturers and sustainable criteria for components and hence need to enter items on separate lines to utilize the BDC Material and Resource Calculator. But if you are not utilizing sustainable criteria for furniture, I guess you could put it all on one line but they why would you include it? As noted on the Instructions tab for the BDC Calculator, inclusion of furniture is optional.
If your furniture cannot qualify for MR credits, LEED permits you to omit all furniture from the calculation. However, if you omit furniture from one Credit, you must omit furniture from all Materials and Resources calculations.
Materials and Resources Credits 3 through 7 apply to “permanently installed materials”.
LEED gives you the choice whether to include furniture or not.
Thanks Michelle and Jonathan.
I want to add the furniture to MRc4. The only two materials used for furniture are wood and steel. For each material, the supplier provided the total cost and recycled content without the number of items. There are more than 30 types of furniture are used for the building, and it's so hard to define the recycled content and cost of each type. So can I put them in two lines, one for steel and the other for the wood, defining their recycled content and total cost; and consider each one of them as one item.
Nouran – Is furniture a major part of your construction budget?
MR Credits measure a product’s contribution in terms of cost. Therefore, we usually focus on the major budget items when accounting for MR Credits. Most “New Construction” projects spend the most money on the building’s structure and shell.
By comparison, the spending on furniture is usually only a small fraction of the budget. Therefore, even if our furniture’s recycled content were extraordinarily high, it could only raise our overall MRc4 percentage slightly. Moreover, like you, we have found that the recycled content data from some manufacturers is often incomplete or difficult to interpret.
For LEED-NC, we would typically only include furniture in MR Credit calculations if our furniture budget were exceptionally large, and then, only if furniture manufactures could provide complete data clearly showing that the furniture contributes significantly to the Credits we seek.
Remember, what counts favorably toward one Credit may count negatively against another credit. LEED gives you the choice whether to include furniture when calculating Materials & Resources credits, but you must treat it consistently across all Credits. Consider carefully whether including furniture brings you any real benefit.
Fly ash generated from a thermal plant, used to manufacture bricks. It can not use for its original purpose but to manufacture a new product (brick), will it be contribute toward post consumer recycled content?
Pawan - As a guest to LEEDuser, you can't see the FAQs above where pre- and post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. are defined. Fly ash is definitely pre-consumer. Here is part of the definition of post-industrialRefers to material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process. Excluded from this category is reutilization of materials such as scrap that are generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process. Generally synonymous with "pre-consumer." (aka pre-consumer) from above: "Refers to material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process..."
We have the final content $ value of cementitious materials and the m3 of concrete produced as supplied by the contractor.
Could someone advise on the correct way to calculate the recycled content of concrete and what information is required from the contractor to complete?
Please see Supplementary Cementitious Materials section under MRc4 in the LEED Reference Guide. It outlines how to deal with recycled SCMs. See the sample form for MRc4 to determine what documentation is required - http://www.usgbc.org/sampleforms/v3.
“Concrete Mix Designs” are “recipes” that list the mass of each component used in each batch of concrete.
Typically, a structural or civil engineers writes the concrete specification and requires the concrete supplier to submit test reports & other documentation to demonstrate that the concrete meets specified requirements. Though submitted to show structural compliance, these documents can be invaluable for calculating recycled content & regional materials for LEED. These submittals usually include “Concrete Mix Designs”. Mix designs & test reports usually also identify material sources. Your structural engineer or concrete supplier may be able help you read the mix design and show you which quantities you need for MRc4 SCM & MRc5 assembly calculations.
Just be aware that any one project typically uses a number of different concrete mix designs for various applications (foundations, slabs on grade, structural beams, roadway paving, etc.). Special mixes may be necessary to produce the required strength or appearance, to accommodate pumping, or to allow pouring concrete during cold or hot weather. The composition & SCS content of the various mix designs can vary widely.
Therefore, you may need to do a separate SCM calculation for each design mix. For that, your contractor needs to break down cementitious material $ amounts for each mix design used on your project. For MRc5, for each mix, you also want a total cost that includes non-cementitious materials (aggregates).
The volume (m3) of concrete used is not usually relevant to these calculations.
Hello, I have an additional question regarding calculating the recycled content value in concrete. I have a project that is using slag and flyash as a portion of the cementitious materials. If you only use the cementitious value of the concrete mix, we are using between 20 % and 50% of the cementitious material being fly ash/slag. I understand that LEED wants to encourage the use of fly ash/slag and is allowing the project teams to use this higher value for recycled content. My confusion is whether I use this percentage against the total cost of the concrete mix or if I need to break out the cementitious material cost of the concrete. If I have to break out the cost of the cementitious materials, I don't see the advantage over the typical method of calculating the percentage of fly ash/slag over the total mix design. It appears that the total recycled content dollar amount would be very similar in either calculation method. The only way I see an advantage is if you use the recycled content of the cementitious materials only against the total dollar amount of the concrete materials cost. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Pound for pound, concrete’s non-cementitious components (stone, sand, gravel, water) are cheap. Cement, fly ash, & slag tend to be more expensive.
In a typical concrete mix design, cementitious material might be only about 14% of the mix’s weight, but cement & SCMs could comprise 42% of the cost for the same mix. By using the SCM method to calculate recycled content for this mix design, we effectively triple its MRc4 contribution. Pretty good trick!
But it’s more than just a trick. Using slag & fly ash in concrete recycles these hazardous industrial waste products, rendering them inert. Substituting SCMs for cement reduces the carbon emissions that result from cement production. USGBC allows this “trick” to encourage the use of SCMs.
Since we use so much concrete in construction, the overall advantage of using the SCM calculation method can be significant.
Break out the costs of cementitious materials if you can get them from your concrete supplier. You will be glad you did.
Jonathan - Thanks for chiming in on this for Lisa. I appreciate your assistance.
Lisa - I hope you got your question answered. If not, please post again!
We have a project where the permeable pavers that are going in likely will contain recycled/regional materials we can account for. Having said that, the LEED boundary is fairly small, and only encapsulates a small track of sidewalk compared to outside the LEED boundary where additional permeable pavers will be present. My question is, can we take credit for MR category credits outside of our LEED boundary - even though it's adjacent to the site and overlaps between outside of boundary and inside of boundary?
In short: No. The LEED project boundary has to be applied consistently to all credits, so you can't define it one way for MRc4/5 and a different way for the rest of the project.
Why is this area considered outside the project boundary anyway? If it's new work related to your project it seems like it should be in. What would you lose by defining the project boundary to include the whole paver area?
See LEED-2009’s Minimum Project Requirements for guidance concerning “reasonable site boundary”. There are many “musts” & “may nots” that could dictate which boundary fits your project’s unique circumstances. Use these rules to determine where your boundary should be and use the same boundary for all credits.
Then...if the pavers fall inside that boundary, you can count them toward MRc4 & MRc5. Just keep in mind that even if your pavers have significant recycled/regional percentage, if you only spend a tiny percentage of your project’s budget on them, their Credit contribution may just disappear next to bigger budget items.
Focus on big-ticket items for MRc4 & MRc5.
Joseph and Jonathan - Thanks for providing this sage advice to Laura. I concur!
I have a steel supplier who completed a very nice Material Reporting Form for me with a great breakdown of every one of the many products they provided for our project. The purchase order was for almost a million dollars but the total of material costs he is showing comes to less than half. I called to ask about the other $500,000 and he told me he can not and will not include the cost of fabrication and freight.
I have always been told and understand from reading that material cost is what the project pays for the material, including manufacturing (fabrication), taxes and freight. Assuming I am correct in that, do you think I could get away with only including the material cost he provided in the Total Construction Costs for his scope of work so that the missing $500,000 won't count against us
Loretta - The LEED Reference Guide is very clear about costs: “Materials costs include all expenses to deliver the material to the project site. Materials costs should account for all taxes and transportation costs incurred by the contractor but exclude any cost for labor and equipment once the material has been delivered to the site.”
Typically a steel fabricator buys steel from various suppliers and makes the shapes, angles, etc. a job needs. This in-house labor is part of the finished product cost (structural steel unique to the job) and it - along with the cost of freight and taxes - should be part of the material cost that goes into the numerator of the equation for MRc4. As the GC, you should be getting the cost of the material and the supplier’s overall cost. Typically these are different numbers between material costs and a subcontractor’s cost but if it is a supplier and they don’t do any steel erection and just supply the steel, the numbers could be the same.
I am puzzled why a supplier would not want to get credit where credit is due, so to speak. If you cannot reason with the supplier to tell them they are missing having their material count as its full worth, I’m not sure if your approach is the best. I would err towards including the full $1M in the numerator and in the denominator - and that might be easier to justify than leaving out something in the denominator. As the GC, you know what they charged you and what services they provided (as well as the LEED requirements) and could more easily justify this approach, IMO.
P.S. It's been several years since I worked with Crossland on the Erie High Charter School job but I don't think we met then.
I would agree with MIchelle's comments. As a steel supplier, we're generally at the opposite end of the spectrum where we know what steel we've produced but not how much ended up on the project site. That means our documentation generally includes all the information except costs. Our expectation is that a fabricator or sub-contractor would use our documentation as backup/confirmation for the "form" (or whatever the GC requires) for the project. They would then include their cost of fabrications (including freight, value-added and markup).
Is it possible what you have is the steel producer (or service center) documentation which outlines what they have sold to the fabricator? If so, the fabricator may be just passing it along to you without going thru the process of determining what value they bring to the job. That said, I'd be surprised if a project of that size was sourced all from the same steel producer. It'd be extremely unlikely (probably impossible depending on the fabrications) to get all the steel from the same mill. It WOULD be possible to source it all from the same service center however.
Anyway, sounds like a fabricator that doesn't fully understand the credit or some other confusion on how the materials have been documented.
LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal
Earthly Ideas LLC
This credit uses the same baseline material budget.
This credit uses the same baseline material budget. Material that is recycled can also be regional.
This credit uses the same baseline material budget. Material that is rapidly renewable can also contain recycled content, for example cotton insulation made from recycled denim.
Certified wood calculations only consider ‘new’ wood only. Recycled content in composite wood products should be included in MRc4 calculations, but not in MRc7, even if it is FSC-certified.
Do you know which LEED credits have the most LEED Interpretations and addenda, and which have none? The Missing Manual does. Check here first to see where you need to update yourself, and share the link with your team.
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