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.
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 submittal form.
You will want to keep all product cut sheets or letters from manufacturer detailing recycled content on file. There is a chance that the LEED reviewer will require you to provide back-up documentation.
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 for New Construction and Major Renovations Version 2.2
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 content such that the sum of 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 plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 10% (based on cost) of the total value of the materials in the project.
The recycled content value of a material assembly shall be 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 shall not be included in this calculation. Only include materials permanently installed in the project. Furniture may be included, providing it is included consistently in MR Credits 3–7.
Recycled content shall be defined in accordance with the International Organization of Standards document, ISO 14021—Environmental labels and declarations—Self-declared environmental claims (Type II environmental labeling).
Post-consumer 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.
Pre-consumer material is defined as material diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process. Excluded is 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.
Use materials with recycled content such that the sum of 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 plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes an additional 10% beyond MR Credit 4.1 (total of 20%, based on cost) of the total value of the materials in the project.
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 EQ 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.
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 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.
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 IEQc4 credits, but in conjunction with documentation for 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.
This template is the flattened, public version of the dynamic template for this credit that is used within LEED-Online v2 by registered project teams. This and other public versions of LEED credit templates come from the USGBC website, and are posted on LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. You'll need to fill out the live version of this template on LEED Online to document this credit.
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.
Dear all, I have some difficulity in understanding the concrete tracking form. My questions:
1. What is "Total Materials Cost of Concrete ($)" Column C? Is it concrete cost by contract?
2. What is "Dollar value of all cementitious materials only ($) [from concrete supplier]" - column G? is this we need to ask the breakdown cost from concrete mix supplier? What if they don't want to breakdown the cementitious cost?
3. The formula for "Total recycled content value from SCMs ($) [(F/2) x G]" -column H is the same formula from LEED MR calculator. If so, what to put in material cost in MR calculator in input tab for concrete? Cost by total in (column C) or dollar value cementitious material (column G)?
Yodi - Do you have access to the LEED Reference Guide (either v2.2 or 2009)? If so, please review the Supplementary Cementitious Materials paragraph and example in either guide. Reviewing this will answer the first part of your question #3 above as supplementary cementitious materials are calculated differently that other recycled-content assembly materials. It will also help you understand that the costs need to be broken down by concrete mix design (related to your #1) and will explain that yes you have to get the supplier to breakdown the costs by component (related to your #2).
After reviewing this resource, please re-post any remaining or new questions. Consider also reviewing the MRc4 forum for LEED 2009 (http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc4) including this specific post - http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc4?page=1#comment-51689 from July 18, 2014, which will help with the second part of your #3.
Yodi—I hope that you have made progress researching your question using the advice and the links that Michelle posted. Here are a few more points that might help.
. . 1. As Michelle noted, you need to break down concrete data by Concrete Mix Design (Column A). That is because most projects use a number of different concrete formulations. Each “recipe” may use a different ratio of ingredients, so the Tracking Form allows you to calculate recycled content of each Mix separately. Column C is the total cost for each Mix Design.
. . 2. To use the Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCM) calculation, you must break out cementitious material costs (Column G). If your concrete supplier will not break out those costs, you must calculate your concrete’s “Assembly Recycled Content” using the conventional calculation (in the Reference Guide paragraphs that precede the SCM paragraphs).
. . 3. Is your “LEED MR Calculator” the LEEDuser v2.2 spreadsheet from the “Documentation Toolkit” tab at the top of this page, or is it the August 2012 BDC MR Calculator that Michelle links to in her post? Her USGBC spreadsheet is for LEED-2009, and it ties in directly with 2009 LEED-Online forms. However, you posted this question to the NCv2.2 forum. If your project is NCv2.2, Michelle’s LEED-2009 spreadsheet MIGHT still work, as the differences between the versions are minor.
Finally, recognize that LEEDuser’s “LEED Concrete Tracking Form” is an EXAMPLE of how to summarize concrete data for MR calculations based on information from contractors that is probably far more detailed. As such, the form may not be ideal for all cases. It appears only to calculate pre-consumer recycled content from SCMs, but it seems to ignore recycled aggregates and other recycled components that some Concrete Mix Designs also incorporate.
Familiarize yourself with the calculations, as Michelle advises, but also learn what you can about the cements, SCMs, & aggregates used in your project’s Mix Designs.
Dear Jon, thank you very much. Yes, I was wronglly posted in here. My project is CS 2009.
Yodi - As a LEEDuser Expert for multiple forums, I have been advised to strongly encourage LEEDusers to utilize all available USGBC resources (Reference Guide, Addenda Database, etc.) as well as other LEEDuser forums before I answer questions - as the answers (and/or some basic background) may be available in a published USGBC resource or the questions may have already been answered on other forums. This is a way to ensure that LEEDusers have done their homework via some basic research.
That said, I only directed you to the Reference Guide for v2.2 or v2009 after reviewing both because the information on Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs) is nearly identical. In addition, Jon is incorrect in his #3 assumption above that I was trying to lead you to use the MR calculator with my direction to this post - http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/MRc4?page=1#comment-51689. Although that post does mention the MR calculator, I was trying to get you to read the information posted there about how to separate recycled components in concrete from other components so that you can easily report MRc4 and MRc5 content without double counting. Please check out the last two paragraphs to help with your question #3.
Concrete is one of the more complicated materials to document because it is an assembly, which is calculated a special way from other assemblies if it has SCMs and can have both regional and recycled components. A concrete supplier’s assistance is essential in having the information you need to correctly document the material.
After reviewing these resources if you still have questions remaining, please do post them on the correct forum for your project, which would be http://www.leeduser.com/credit/CS-2009/MRc4. I'll look forward to helping you there.
I agree wholeheartedly with Michelle! It is critical to work with one’s concrete suppliers to obtain and decipher concrete mix design and cost data, just as it is vital to research USGBC & LEEDuser resources to understand the methods & calculations that underlie each LEED Credit.
Incidentally, USGBC’s “official” LEED-2009 MR Calculator, which Michelle linked to in her NC-2009 MRc4 post, might not have worked perfectly with NCv2.2, but it DOES appear to be the exact match to CS-2009.
In the past 6 months we have noticed that a high recycled content of 70% or more has been required on acoustic ceiling tile. In the past, high recycled content was 50% or more, has something changed in the LEED requirements? I have looked at the LEED V4, the only difference in the calculation i can see is: LEED 2009 – The recycled fraction of the assembly is multiplied by the cost of the assembly vs LEED V4 products meeting the recycled content criteria are valued at 100% of their cost. Does this meant that big ticket items such as flooring, drywall, ceiling tiles and furniture will require a high recycled content to make it easy to achieve this credit?
Barbara—You have posted this question in the LEED-NCv2.2 forum, but you appear to be asking about LEEDv4. You might get a better response by reposting the question on the NCv4 forum for Building Product Disclosure & Optimization – Sourcing of Raw Materials: http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-v4/MRc3.
There, not only will your question will receive attention from those most up-to-date on new LEEDv4 requirements, but the dialog generated will be more helpful to that forum’s readers.
Hello. If an audit is requested, it states to
"1) provide specifications and contractor submittals highlighting recycled content materials installed, and
2) provide cut sheets, product literature or other documentation such as letter from manufacturers that clearly indicate percentage weight by of post/pre-consumer recycled content for each recycled material installed."
How do these two differ from each other? I have letters from vendors/manufacturers stating the recycled content % for material used in the project. I also have data sheets/technical information sheet listing recycled content % for the product. Some have costs while some do not. Do these satisfy the requirements above? Do "contractor submittals" say something else?
I agree that 2) seems like a description of "contractor submittals" in 1) and this list is missing costs. Perhaps it is assumed that the costs have already been documented in the templates/forms on LEED online, so this is listing only the additional information that an audit would require one to submit. For instance, I haven't ever uploaded the specs in submitting this credit, so that appears to be an additional requirement during an audit.
Yes that is correct. The submitted LEED letter template includes the cost for each material already. The audit documents are only required to be submitted if asked by the reviewer to verify the recycled content %.
I think what the review team is asking for in #2 is the breakdown for assembly materials that contain recycled content. This typically would NOT be part of the contractor's submittal (unless they were very savvy) and it would come from the manufacturer. For instance, having the weight breakdown for the recycled content component of the aluminum in an overall curtainwall system. See page 272 of the v2.2 Reference Guide - 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..
I am in the process of copying the information from our construction spreadsheet for the project onto the LEED 2.2 MRc4 spreadsheet, but I don't have enough space. What should I do?
If I remember correctly, the LEEDv2.2 Online form for MRc4 only has space for about 60 entries, but—let me guess—your project used hundreds, if not thousands, of products. It is not necessary to enter every single product into the form.
Most of the products in your construction spreadsheet are probably relatively low-cost items with only negligible Credit value, or none at all. On the other hand, you probably have a number of “Big-Ticket” items that you used in large quantity and spent a lot for. Many of these items, like structural steel, precast, cast-in-place concrete, metal framing, and gypsum board, often have significant MRc4 value. Focus on these.
Try this: Take a COPY of your construction spreadsheet. It should include the cost and post-/pre-consumer percentages for each product. It should also calculate the MRc4 value [ COST$ x ( POST-C% + ( PRE-C% ÷ 2 ) ) ] for each line item. Sort the spreadsheet to put products with the highest MRc4 value at the top of the list. Sum the MRc4 values of first 60 items. Divide by your Total Material Cost (Actual or Default). Is this percentage enough to meet your credit goals?
If so, just enter these heavy-hitters into the form. If not, you may need to tweak the spreadsheet by combining multiple entries for related items. In any case, unless your project is enormous, you should be able to parse the list down to 60 items.
Another alternative is to use the Alternative Compliance Path and upload your entire construction spreadsheet. However, if you overload the reviewers with excess data, you might invite hair-splitting over minor entries. It is better to direct their focus to the critical entries.
For our last v2.2 project, we had the same issue with too many products. We worked with the contractor on getting an excel document that would work for them and for LEED. They were required to update it monthly (it was a long term project). Then we simply put the information in LEED Online by Division and uploaded the excel file with the product broken out by Division and the totals reported in LEED Online. It was easy to implement and easy to report. Other teams have successfully taken the same path.
Susan/Jon - Thanks for chiming in! I was away from all communications while on vacation and just now getting around to catching up on my forums.
Heidi—Are you are shooting for an “Exemplary Performance” ID point?
If so, Susan’s advice to upload the entire spreadsheet may be necessary to document 30% recycled content. However, if you are only going for the first two basic credit points, my abbreviated approach may make more sense.
When we used the “Big-Ticket First” approach on a very large project, we discovered that the two biggest entries (Steel Roof Trusses & First Level Structural Steel) were enough to reach 10% recycled content for the entire project. The next 11 entries (for the remaining structural steel, concrete reinforcing, and interior/exterior metal panels) put us over the 20% threshold. By including metal fabrications, ornamental metal, & curtainwall, we were able to show 22% recycled content. We were able to backup these “Top-20” entries with high-quality documentation.
After that, the law of diminishing returns kicked in. We found that, to reach 30%, our spreadsheet would have had to show hundreds of lesser items. Since we had used all our Innovation points, we chose not to waste the effort. Furthermore, some of the backup documentation for the remaining materials was questionable. We did not want to damage our submittal’s credibility with fuzzy data.
Thanks for the feedback! We aren't trying to get "exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements." for MRc4. I ended up not including some of the low value items and was able to hit 23% within the confines of the LEED spreadsheet. I do have the same issue for MRc5 though and do need extra lines for that credit. We are going after Exemplary Performance on MRc5 but we are just over the 30% including everything so I can't shorten the list very much. So far I have it set up so it is on 2 forms (with the first form referencing the total from the second form on the bottom line). That gives us enough space to include everything. I do have the contractor backup spreadsheet, but it has a lot of other information on it, which might be confusing.
Heidi—Excellent! Remember too that you may be able to combine some entries on your MRc5 Form. On the same project that I described above, we had DOZENS of submittals for various concrete mix designs use for everything from piles to paving. All reported between 98 and 99.9% regional content. Instead of listing each submittal separately, we combined them into 2 or 3 entries to save space.
We also combined all the submittals corresponding to each entry into a single PDF as backup. This was only in case the Reviewers questioned our submittal. (They didn’t.) If I remember correctly, LEEDv2.2 does not require backup data with the initial submittal.
It is my understanding you can include Furniture when applying for LEED credits. Does this include outdoor furniture as well, eg benches or picnic tables made with recycled plastic?
This question is a duplicate of the one right below it. See that answer for additional information.
Please note that Division 12 (where site furnishings are listed in MasterFormat 2004 (Section 12 93 00)) is optional for inclusion in the MR credit calculations in LEED 2009. Here's the official language: "A project team may include materials costs from Construction Specification Institute MasterFormat™ Division 12—Furniture and Furnishings as long as this is done consistently across all MR credits."
Many project teams do not include this optional division.
My understanding is that you can include Furniture in your request for LEED credits. Can you include outdoor furniture as well, say a bench or picnic table made with recycled plastic?
Robert - In LEED-NC v2.2, MR Credits 3-7 utilize materials contained in CSI MasterFormat 1995 Divisions 02 thru 10. Site Furnishings are listed in 02870 in that system. Hence outdoor furniture as you describe could be included.
Note: LEED 2009 (v3) does not use the same version of MasterFormat or same divisions. Instead it uses CSI MasterFormat 2004 as a reference and Divisions 03-10 and Sections 32 1X XX, 32 3X XX, and 32 9X XX. Site Furnishings moved to 12 93 00 in that new MasterFormat and hence could not be counted there. Most projects are using LEED 2009 (v3) today.
We manufacture rockwool insulation and percentage of recycle during process is about 10 %, however our client is requesting to provide him 0 % under MRc4 Recycled Content (% Pre-Consumer), We are confused how can we furnish such request
Shreekant - I too am confused by this request. Why would they want 0%? While not wanting to send you to competitors, these websites might help you understand what others are doing - http://www.thermafiber.com/SustainabilityLEED/RecycledContent and http://www.naima.org/insulation-knowledge-base/insulation-and-the-enviro....
You might also want to check out - http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2009/9/25/Mineral-Wool-Res....
Also, look at the FAQs above regarding definitions.
Feel free to post again with more details.
Perhaps they are requesting that you declare 0% pre-consumer so that all 10% counts as 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.? Since pre-consumer only gets half the credit of post.
Frances - That is a good assumption if the requestor is inexperienced and thinks you can just switch between post-consumerWaste generated by end users (households or commercial, industrial and institutional facilities) of a product no longer able to be used for its intended purpose that is recycled into raw material for a new product. and pre-consumer, which as we know is not the case.
In the FAQS for MR4, there is a question about the requirement to upload 20% of cut sheets by cost. Where is this requirement? It isn't in the resource book, it isn't on the online template, and I don't see it spelled out anywhere in the info on LEEDuser.com. Was this in an Addenda?
Stantec, sorry, I think that text should have been qualified in its appearance here on the v2.2 page. It is a LEED 2009 standard.
I am wondering if anyone has had success, or thoughts, about a project using reclaimed wood to count towards the recycled content credit. I've read, on this site, legitimate concerns about "double-dipping". However, it seems to me that if we are not pursuing the salvaged material credit, we are not double-dipping, and reclaimed wood is the ultimate in 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. Conceptually, at least, if the reclaimed wood were then in used in an assembly (say in an off-site pre-fabricated ceiling slat assembly), this could count as recycled content, no? So what the reclaimed wood is just site constructed, could we then count towards recycled content (again, with the caveat that we are explicitly not pursuing the salvaged material credit).
Chris - While your suggested strategy has some merit, I think the LEED issue is that the material that you have is reused and does not have recycled content. And that reused material has not been manufactured into something new like a recycled one, which is a distinction between the two material types. So, even if you are not pursuing MRc3 and wanting to avoid a perception of double counting, you can’t add reclaimed material to MRc4, which documents recycled contentmaterials. You probably looked at Learn the Lingo above regarding Materials Reused vs. Recycled content. Check out the FAQ “Reused vs. Recycled” in MRc3 - http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-v2.2/MRc3.
Can wire mesh and flat ties be used to contrubute to the recycle credit for a project.
Yes, they should be specified in Div 3 which qualifies it for inclusion. You can also apply the default 25% recycled content which is explained above.
Can asphalt be considered recycled content under MRc4 if a percentage of the mix is from recycled materials? This asphalt is being used as pavement for the parking lot and not part of the building structure.
Robert - The MR credits (3-6) are based on the qualifying materials as a percentage of overall costs for 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’d think that asphalt paving would be specified under 31.10.00). So, yes - you can count the recycled materials in your parking lot’s pavement.
Nawkaw Corp. has developed stains for concrete and masonry that are low VOC and contain 20% recycled content. We even have a Lithium based stain that reflects ultra violet light, which can reduce the amount of heat transferred into a building by keeping it cooler--saving energy costs. How can we get these products LEED certified?
Bruce, buildings are LEED certified, people are LEED accredited, and products are neither. You can provide documentation to LEED project teams demonstrating that your products comply with LEED requirements for relevant credits that they might be pursuing. If you look at documentation your competitors might be providing you'll get the idea.
Bruce - I was writing this response when Tristan chimed in. Materials and products are not LEED certified. Materials and products, however, do contribute to helping teams achieve various LEED credits in the MR and IEQ categories. Your company’s literature needs to reflect the LEED attributes (low VOC, recycled content) of your materials so specifiers and contractors have the information. Check out http://new.usgbc.org/help/can-i-get-my-product-or-service-leed-certified for additional information. I have a couple of other resources I can share with you. Can I reach you at email@example.com?
I am using LEED NC 2.2 and am wondering what or how much documentation is required to prove recycled content. Do I simply need to fill out the template or do I have to provide cutsheets/submittals/etc for each piece of material I am claiming and upload them. It does not say upload is required just says 'other documentation'.
Jon - My philosophy is never to give reviewers more than is asked for in the credit's documentation. While I was in DC last week, I confirmed your question with GBCI. This version of MRc4 does not require any uploads; however, the reviewer may ask for some verification as part of a clarification request - especially if s/he see information that does not jive with what s/he is used to seeing for a material or product but wait until it is requested.
LEED NCv2.2 Reference Guide Third Edition October 2007 (including errata sheets)
On Page 271 under Calculations, it has been stated that "LEED requires that the information be from a reliable, verifiable source.
What is considered as reliable, verifiable source?
For e.g. LEED information in the form of declaration letters from manufacturer's / supplier's, printed LEED information, Published Product Literature...
Or it is all together a different perspective asking for the origin of information. For e.g. manufacturer / supplier.
Typically the source is the manufacturer, in the form of a letter, cut sheet, literature, PDF, etc.
As the LEED Coordinator for a Structural Steel Fabricator, I always supply actual material cost for all steel fabricated for a project and i've never had any problems with my submittals. One of my GC's is now telling me that i need to include the cost of shop labor, delivery, detailing, OH&P, etc. in the cost of the material supplied so that the dollar figure i provide on the Sustainable Product Data Sheet matches our PO amount. Is this correct?
Typically you would provide the cost of the products "as delivered" to the project which, I understand, includes any materials, shop labor (anything not performed on-site), etc. All that "value-added" is relevant to the project cost.
does anyone have a sample letter template to send to subcontrctors notifying them of the LEED requirements for the project?
Kelly, we have a sample in the LEEDuser Doc Toolkit—shown above.
Thank you -- I knew there was one but just not clear on where it was located.
What is/are acceptable documentation for justifying EP for Recycled Content>30% and Regional Material>40%? I plan to just upload my excel spreadsheet that I used to keep track of all the material, which shows the post-/pre- recycled content and regional information. Thank you
Joe, use the same documentation you would use for regular credit documentation.
I understand the 45% rule is designed to easily factor out the labor to install the products. We have vendors that supply material only (rebar, metal building, doors & frames, etc) and we contract or use in-house labor to install. Do we use the full (actual) cost of the material only, while using the 45% rule for those products supplied and installed by a subcontractor.
The 45% value is an option that you can use for the entire materials baseline, but you can't use it selectively. In calculating the denominator for the materials credits, you have to either itemize the cost (materials only) for all materials, or use the 45% value and not itemize any materials. (Of course, you would still itemize the cost of any materials that contribute to the calculation for use in the numerator.) If you sign up as a member of LEEDuser you can download a calculator that lays all this out for you.
I am looking for opinions on or experience with reporting metal laboratory casework in an NC project.
After confirming that it is industry standard to specify this product as manufactured casework in division 12, I think we are on track to exclude it as we have excluded all the furniture in division 12. However, we have some concerns that the permanent installation may bring this item into question. The pieces are installed in very much the same manner as the wood/plam casework; however those items are specified in division 6 and are included in the LEED reporting.
The dollar value of the casework is large enough that it will impact our materials credits, so we want to confirm the correct way to report before submitting for review.
I wouldn't worry about being challenged on something like that. If your project team has specified those items in Division 12, then the reviewers have no basis on which to say that you have to include them.
Can fire damper include in LEED material calculation?
I found only a fireplace damper in CSI MASTERFORMAT DIV.10.
Yes, if you specified it in Division 10.
I was wondering if Precast Manholes, Site Water distribution items, storm drainage and Sanitary sewer components - mostly steel and brass fittings and valves can be included in MR-C4. I understand that plumbing items cannot be included for this credit. However, these items fall under civil Engineer spec Division 2 - Site Construction. My version 2.2 reference guide tell me that "This credit applies primarily to CSI MasterFormat 1995 divisions 2–10". Any thoughts?
If you're specifying them in Division 2 then you can include them, as long as you include everything that is specified in those MF sections (you can't selectively just include the items that help you earn the credits).
Can imported items such as fill material, select fill, road base, capillary water base, landscaping bolders qualify as recycled content.
As long as the items you're importing onto the site meet the requirements of recycled content (they have to actually be waste from some process that would otherwise have been disposed of), then you can count them.
We have a hotel project which is looking at purchasing green mattresses, so we would like to include those in our MR credits 3-7. But the remaining furniture will be standard hospitality furniture with few or none of the MR credit 3-7 attributes. Can I just line item the mattresses or do I have to include all of the project's furniture?
Tim, if you include one piece of furniture you need to include them all in your calculations. LEED doesn't want you cherry-picking furniture with green attributes to beef up your calculations.
Can I exclude the weight of the water in the concrete calculations for recycled content since it evaporates from the end product and it totals anywhere from 9-10% of the total weight of the Mix design? Water weight is only diminishing the percentages of the actual recycled content which ends up in the building.
We break out the individual components in a concrete mix and know that others do as well.
Nicholas, LEED NCV2.2 allows a project team to calculate the recycled materials in Concrete one of two ways:
1: the same as other materials using all ingredients in the calculation.
2: Using only the Cementitious Materials Content and the % of Supplementary Cementitious materials used. This second method has a ptential to return higher % and $ value, and encourages the Reduction of Portland Cement, and Increased use of recycled cementitious materials like Fly-ash and slag, keeping these materials out of landfills, and greatly reducing the amount of CO2Carbon dioxide produced for Portland Cement production.
We are a distributor of doors, frames and door hardware. 2009 LEED Reference Guide states not to include electrical components in MR LEED calculations. Would electrical door hardware (ex. locks, exit devices & door closers) fall under this? There are some door hardware vendors that provide recycled content and manufacturer locations for electrical door hardware on their LEED statement amongst all their other products. I usually will leave it out of the LEED submittal, but sometimes the contractor will reject the LEED submittal if I do not provide this electrical door hardware information on their forms. Should I be sending this out? Should these door hardware vendors take this information off their LEED statements? I know that door hardware is not a big ticket item in regards to contributing to LEED credits, but sometimes the contractors really want this information. Thoughts?
I don't know about other project teams but door hardware in general is such a small contributor to the LEED calculations that we do not normally even track it. The only time it is, is if the contractor gets all the information from the supplier and we're going for Exemplary PerformanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements.. It does not occur often. Because I'm so used to not including electrical components, I would not include electrical door hardware components in the credit calculations.
Regarding precast concrete mix design. The manufacturer said for the hallow core slaps ,they are using micro silica instead of GGBS for the concrete mix design. My question is micro silica has recycled content ? same like GGBS.
Can we consider recycled content credit including micro silica in the precast concrete mix design ?
Based on what I know about micro silica (which is not much, but this Wikipedia entry helps), I'm not sure micro silica is recycled. It sounds more like a normal product of mining/extraction operations.
I believer silica fume used for concrete is an industrial by-product much like fly ash and slag. "Silica fume, also known as microsilica, is a byproduct of the reduction of high-purity quartz with coal in electric furnaces in the production of silicon and ferrosilicon alloys." http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/materialsgrp/silica.htm
I haven't seen it included in the contractor MRc4 submittals but I had assumed this was because it is not used in significant proportion -- it is much more expensive than fly ash and slag -- and concrete is usually treated as an assembly where % mass is used for recycled content value of the assembly.
I would very much like to know if USGBC sees silica fume otherwise, however, so I don't try to include it if the contractor provides its proportion on future projects.
Based on descriptions I'm finding on BuildingGreen.com and elsewhere, I don't see any reason that silica fume wouldn't be considered a preconsumer recycled material. I think you're safe there.
And it can count for more than you may realize--in concrete you're allowed to calculate the amount of cement substitutes as a fraction by mass of just the cementitious ingredients in the mix--in effect, treating them as if the cemetitious parts are a separate product from the aggregates (this is explained in the Reference Guide in more detail).
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.
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