The LEED-certified New York Edition Hotel chose to refurbish the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company building, a National Historic Landmark, preserving cultural value and embodied resources.Unlike many of the other Materials & Resources credits, this credit is about overall design and construction choices rather than using specific products.
This credit is applicable to any construction type, but the ways in which you can assess and document life-cycle impact reductions depends on where you’re starting.
Start by reviewing the four credit options to see which best applies to your project. The first three options all deal with building reuse, while the fourth option is broader.
Historic buildings have obvious cultural value, but preservation of any existing structure also provides environmental value by reducing the need to extract, manufacture, and transport new construction materials. This in turn lowers the life-cycle environmental impacts of a building—and can lower the cost as well.
If your building is on a historic registry, you’ve practically achieved this credit already. If not, you’ll need to show that it’s eligible for such a designation through alignment with existing local or national criteria for historic buildings. Check with your local planning board, or a government register of historic places, to determine if your building might be considered to have historic value.
If you’re attempting this path, you must show formal approval for design changes from a historic authority, planning committee, or historic buildings professional, even if your building is not officially on a historic registry.
Options 2 and 3 are available for any existing building but may not be right for every existing building. Because compliance is based on the total amount of conserved materials, these options are best suited for projects where material preservation is a major project goal.
If there is substantial demolition or renovation work planned, Option 4 (see below) may be a safer bet. To guarantee success, develop a preservation plan and perform credit calculations as early as possible in the design process.
For these options, compliance is based on the percentage of surface area that’s being reused or preserved. Both exterior and permanently installed interior elements should be included in these calculations, including the surface area of up to three separate layers in each assembly.
For example, if you keep a brick wall but replace the drywall on the inside face, you’ll still get partial credit for preserving the assembly. If there are more than three layers, you can even pick which three to include. However, one layer must be structural, and the other two layers must be interior and exterior finishes.
For buildings officially considered blighted or abandoned by a local authority, up to 25% of the surface area can be excluded from the calculations if it’s deteriorated or damaged. Hazardous materials can also be excluded from both options. If you remove a layer of an assembly and don’t replace it, you can exclude that layer from the calculations since you haven’t created a demand for new materials. Lastly, window assemblies are excluded from credit calculations, so you won’t be penalized for upgrading to more-energy-efficient frames.
Salvaged materials from both on and off the project site can contribute to reuse calculations. This provides a path to claim the environmental benefits of the reused materials if it’s too difficult to estimate replacement costs for MRc3: Sourcing of Raw Materials. However, salvaged materials are only significant in the calculations if they replace an existing material—in which case the salvaged layer gets counted as reused. If it’s a newly added layer, then it has a neutral impact in the calculations, so it’s not possible to achieve this credit through adding salvaged materials alone.
Life-cycle assessment (LCA), as it applies to buildings pursuing LEED, involves creating an inventory of the environmental impacts associated with building materials’ manufacture, transportation, use, and disposal. Think of it as a life-cycle costEconomic cost of a product or building over its expected life, including first cost, operating cost, and, when appropriate, cost of disposal or demolition. estimate, only in this case the “costs” are metrics in key environmental impact areas (called “indicators” in LCA terminology). Commonly used LCA indicators represent atmospheric impacts, fossil-fuel resource depletion, and some ecological effects.
LCA is intended to be an iterative modeling tool that informs decisions during the design process, much like an energy model. It’s a time-intensive process, but if it’s set up to support broader project goals and not just the LEED credit, LCA can be a rewarding way to validate sustainability strategies that are otherwise hard to assess.
How you use the LCA will likely depend on when the process begins relative to design decisions, the context of your project, owner commitment, and the time and resources available to updating the model. Committing to using LCA as a tool throughout the design process will reduce the risk of missing targets and can help you get the most value from the process.
To achieve this credit, your project must demonstrate at least a 10% reduction in global warming potential and at least two of the five other basic indicators (ozone depletion potential, acidificationBuild-up of acidity in soil and water bodies from acid precipitation, which gains acidity as it falls through an atmosphere containing certain pollutants, especially sulfur dioxide from coal-burning power plants., eutrophication1. Eutrophication is the increase in chemical nutrients, such as the nitrogen and phosphorus often found in fertilizers, in an ecosystem. The added nutrients stimulate excessive plant growth, promoting algal blooms or weeds. The enhanced plant growth reduces oxygen in the land and water, reducing water quality and fish and other animal populations.
2. The process by which bodies of water are starved of oxygen and light by algae and other plants that multiply due to excessive concentrations of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Typical sources include fertilizer runoff and poorly managed wastewater treatment systems, frequently including home septic systems., tropospheric ozone formation, and non-renewable energy resource depletion). Since many choices may have tradeoffs in environmental impacts, decide early in the process which indicators you want to prioritize.
Next, think carefully about which elements have the most influence over your project’s life-cycle impacts, and which areas you have the most control over. This credit specifically excludes all MEP equipment and operating energy, so it’s all down to design optimization and material selection.
For a newly constructed building, there might be a few specific materials that provide opportunities: maybe all the glass on the market turns out to be essentially the same in terms of environmental impacts, but you have control over selecting a locally made concrete with high fly ash content.
Items such as interior finishes and furniture are optional, but don’t plan to spend too much time over details in your LCA that have small effects on life-cycle impact reductions. These items should really only be included when other opportunities are limited, or if the LCA is going to help inform selection of a particular type of product.
There are many different databases and public LCA tools out there. Some are free, some aren’t, some are easy, some are complex, and some even integrate with existing design software. It’s important to find a tool that aligns with your experience level and will provide the right information to document this credit. Start by asking the following questions:
Just like an energy model, the results of an LCA only make sense as a comparison against a baseline. However, unlike an energy model, there are no hard-and-fast requirements for what should be included in that baseline.
The LEED Reference Guide provides some specific requirements for the baseline that are designed to create one that is “functionally equivalent” to the proposed case. In other words, the baseline should meet the project brief and any regulatory requirements, and have the same gross floor areaGross floor area (based on ASHRAE definition) is the sum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building, including basements, mezzanine and intermediate‐floored tiers, and penthouses wi th headroom height of 7.5 ft (2.2 meters) or greater. Measurements m ust be taken from the exterior 39 faces of exterior walls OR from the centerline of walls separating buildings, OR (for LEED CI certifying spaces) from the centerline of walls separating spaces. Excludes non‐en closed (or non‐enclosable) roofed‐over areas such as exterior covered walkways, porches, terraces or steps, roof overhangs, and similar features. Excludes air shafts, pipe trenches, and chimneys. Excludes floor area dedicated to the parking and circulation of motor vehicles. ( Note that while excluded features may not be part of the gross floor area, and therefore technically not a part of the LEED project building, they may still be required to be a part of the overall LEED project and subject to MPRs, prerequisites, and credits.), program, and location as the proposed building. It should also use assemblies that can meet the insulation requirements of EAp2: Minimum Energy Performance (don’t forget, in this case the minimum energy performance required by LEED certification is another functional requirement!). Lastly, the source, quality, and precision of the data should be the same in each case to create a valid comparison.
Outside of that guidance, the requirements are vague because what defines an appropriate baseline really depends on the project’s context and goals. It is critical to begin the LCA with a clear understanding of what you’re comparing your project against and how that comparison will drive design decisions, as well as what design variables will be in play.
Use the LCA as a tool to evaluate potential major decisions, and weigh the change to each of the six indicators against other considerations (such as energy consumption, cost, or availability).
Start with an early conceptual model and include major structural and envelope components, even if generic. The results of this early model may not match your final design, but it’ll provide the relative contributions of each material to the building’s overall impacts and tell you where the best opportunities are for further reduction—and where not to spend too much effort on alternatives. For example, window assemblies might have high embodied energy1. Embodied energy is the energy used during the entire life cycle of a product, including its manufacture, transportation, and disposal, as well as the inherent energy captured within the product itself.
2. The energy expended in the process of creating a product, often including the fuel value of its constituent parts as well as transportation to its point of use., but if your building’s window-to-wall ratio will only be 15%, then it will make more sense to focus on the wall assemblies instead.
If LCA is pursued early enough, compare the LCA impacts associated with potential structures and surface-area-to-volume ratios of different massing options. These very early decisions tend to provide the greatest opportunity for reducing LCA impacts though reducing overall material needs. In later phases, the effects of each remaining decision typically diminish, making it difficult or impossible to achieve the required reduction at the very end of the design process.
As the design progresses and becomes more detailed, the LCA should get more detailed as well.
Continue to update the model and track how the impacts change relative to the original results, until the project’s goals are met.
Yes, you can also reference international guidelines to determine eligibility for a historic building designation. However, you’ll also need to hire a historic building specialist to advise on alterations and demolition. That means this option is best suited for projects where there’s a strong commitment to preservation.
Unfortunately, this is an area of the credit where there’s no flexibility. Both the proposed and baseline buildings have to have a 60-year lifespan in the assessment, since in reality there are likely to be major changes in ownership during that time. This requirement might reduce the benefits of selecting materials that have low replacement rates for some projects, but for others it might be beneficial.
Depending on the materials selected, the lifespan of the building, and its performance, operating energy can have much higher life-cycle impacts than construction or demolition. While the reference standard for this option does include this end use, the LEED credit does not—and it’s because you’re already receiving credit elsewhere in the LEED rating system for reducing operating energy. The scope of this credit is only focused on impact reductions from building materials.
To encourage adaptive reuseAdapted reuse is the renovation of a space for a purpose different from the original. and optimize the environmental performance of products and materials.
Demonstrate reduced environmental effects during initial project decision-making by reusing existing building resources or demonstrating a reduction in materials use through life-cycle assessment"1. An evaluation of the environmental effects of a product from cradle to grave, as defined by ISO 14040-2006 and ISO 14044-2006.
2. The practice of quantifying and characterizing all the resource and pollution flows associated with a process or product, for the purpose of documenting its environmental impact. It is defined by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) as a compilation and evaluation of the inputs". Achieve one of the following options.
Maintain the existing building structure, envelope, and interior nonstructural elements of a historic building or contributing building in a historic district. To qualify, the building or historic district must be listed or eligible for listing in the local, state, or national register of historic places. Do not demolish any part of a historic building or contributing building in a historic district unless it is deemed structurally unsound or hazardous. For buildings listed locally, approval of any demolition must be granted by the local historic preservation review board. For buildings listed in a state register or the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.), approval must appear in a programmatic agreement with the state historic preservation office or National Park Service (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).
Any alteration (preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation) of a historic building or a contributing building in a historic district on the project site must be done in accordance with local or national standards for rehabilitation, whichever are applicable. If building is not subject to historic review, include on the project team a preservation professional who meets U.S. federal qualifications for historic architects (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.); the preservation professional must confirm conformance to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).
Maintain at least 50%, by surface area, of the existing building structure, enclosure, and interior structural elements for buildings that meet local criteria of abandoned or are considered blight. The building must be renovated to a state of productive occupancy. Up to 25% of the building surface area may be excluded from credit calculation because of deterioration or damage.
Reuse or salvage building materials from off site or on site as a percentage of the surface area, as listed in Table 1. Include structural elements (e.g., floors, roof decking), enclosure materials (e.g., skin, framing), and permanently installed interior elements (e.g., walls, doors, floor coverings, ceiling systems). Exclude from the calculation window assemblies and any hazardous materials that are remediated as a part of the project.
Materials contributing toward this credit may not contribute toward MR Credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization - Sourcing of Raw Materials.
For new construction (buildings or portions of buildings), conduct a life-cycle assessment of the project’s structure and enclosure that demonstrates a minimum of 10% reduction, compared with a baseline building, in at least three of the six impact categories listed below, one of which must be global warming potential. No impact category assessed as part of the life-cycle assessment may increase by more than 5% compared with the baseline building.
The baseline and proposed buildings must be of comparable size, function, orientation, and operating energy performance as defined in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance. The service life of the baseline and proposed buildings must be the same and at least 60 years to fully account for maintenance and replacement. Use the same life-cycle assessment software tools and data sets to evaluate both the baseline building and the proposed building, and report all listed impact categories. Data sets must be compliant with ISO 14044.
Select at least three of the following impact categories for reduction:
This LEED credit (or a component of this credit) has been established as equivalent to a SITES v2 credit or component. For more information on using the equivalency as a substitution in your LEED or SITES project, see this article and guidance document.
This article features advice from LCA experts and designers who’ve tried it, and explores the nuts and bolts of whole-building LCA—including its limitations.
This document, provided through the Whole-Building Design Guide, offers sample language for specifying products that have LCA data.
This free webinar demonstrates how to use the Athena Impact Estimator to perform whole-building LCA.
This is an exhaustive overview of multiple ways of using LCA to reduce a building’s overall impact. Topics and suggestions are quite farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters).-ranging compared with the narrow requirements of MRc1.
This free software tool permits life-cycle comparison of structural and other building systems to support LCA-focused decision-making throughout the design process. Data is available by North American region. Athena IE does not integrate directly with BIM or other design tools.
This subscription-based software allows side-by-side comparison of a baseline building with alternatives to support LCA-focused decision-making throughout the design process. Data is available for Australia, or global averages can be used. eTool LCA does not integrate directly with BIM or other design tools.
This Revit plug-in tracks environmental impacts in real time while designers create models in the popular building information modeling (BIM) software Revit. It was developed specifically to help project teams meet LEED v4 requirements. Data is national for the U.S. Tally does not integrate with other BIM tools, and its utility in very early design (before modeling begins) is limited.
Documentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.
Kindly advise on software which can be used in Pakistan, their cost and complexity of use.
One Click LCA can be used in Pakistan. We implement a methodology to allow for regionalisation of datasets to reflect conditions where no native qualifying datasets exist. The regionalisation methodology we use is third party verified. As for complexity, it is very easy to use. If you wish to consider it, happy to help.
Panu, we're happy to have you mention your own product here on this forum, but we'd be most appreciative if you could be more inclusive in responses. Can you advise on whether other common software programs can be used in Pakistan? thanks! :)
Sorry, I really would not know.
Ok, thank you. Sorry, I'm a little sensitive about vendors talking about their own stuff on our forums. We try to keep it agnostic about specific products. But I realize you may not have knowledge of others.
I've done a research on different software including asking experts in this forum, contacting experts where I work, Japan, and USGBC.
Long story short, you have software that can be used in any country, as long as you have the expertise to use those software and have access to an acceptable database.
Here is the response from USGBC:
"It is recommended that the team try to find a tool with local data sets. If that is not possible, then please use data sets that are relatively close and provide an narrative explanation. Note that regional data for non-US and non-European locations is available for several LCA Practitioner tools, such as SimaPro and GABI. It would not be acceptable to use a dataset that is not compliant with ISO 14044, or to omit any of the impact categories listed in the credit requirements.
Please refer to "Further Explanation" for this credit in the LEED Reference Guide for Building Design and Construction v4 and the 7/1/15 addenda (http://www.usgbc.org/sites/default/files/LEED%20BD+C%20v4%20Reference%20...) for more information."
Using LCA practitioner tools can be time consuming though.
Other less time consuming LCA tools which are designed specifically for LCAs on building projects include eTool, Elodie and IES IMPACT.
Hi. I'm trying to understand what is a data set compliant with ISO 14044.
Is the reference guide referring to item 188.8.131.52 "Data quality requirements"?
184.108.40.206.1 Data quality requirements shall be specified to enable the goal and scope of the LCA to be met.
220.127.116.11.2 The data quality requirements should address the following:
a) time-related coverage: age of data and the minimum length of time over which data should be collected;
b) geographical coverage: geographical area from which data for unit processes should be collected to satisfy the goal of the study;
c) technology coverage: specific technology or technology mix;
d) precision: measure of the variability of the data values for each data expressed (e.g. variance);
e) completeness: percentage of flow that is measured or estimated;
f) representativeness: qualitative assessment of the degree to which the data set reflects the true population of interest (i.e. geographical coverage, time period and technology coverage);
g) consistency: qualitative assessment of whether the study methodology is applied uniformly to the various components of the analysis;
h) reproducibility: qualitative assessment of the extent to which information about the methodology and data values would allow an independent practitioner to reproduce the results reported in the study;
i) sources of the data;
j) uncertainty of the information (e.g. data, models and assumptions).
Where a study is intended to be used in comparative assertions intended to be disclosed to the public, the data quality requirements stated in a) to j) above shall be addressed.
18.104.22.168.3 The treatment of missing data shall be documented. For each unit process and for each reporting location where missing data are identified, the treatment of the missing data and data gaps should result In
— a "non-zero" data value that is explained,
— a "zero" data value if explained, or
— a calculated value based on the reported values from unit processes employing similar technology.
Data quality should be characterized by both quantitative and qualitative aspects as well as by the methods used to collect and integrate those data.
Data from specific sites or representative averages should be used for those unit processes that contribute the majority of the mass and energy flows in the systems being studied, as determined in the sensitivity analysis performed in 22.214.171.124. Where possible, data from specific sites should also be used for unit processes that are considered to have environmentally relevant inputs and outputs.
Yes. Unless you are an experienced LCA practitioner, you are not going to be out finding or building a custom dataset. Most of the mainstream software programs will offer ISO-compliant datasets. If you're unsure, ask the creator of the software.
Thank you for confirming this.
I'm looking for a LCA software to use in our projects in Japan. We have two issues with the only architectural LCA software available in Japan, the database is not ISO 14044 compliant (I don't know what part of it is not compliant), and the software does not have all outputs required by LEED.
There is an available software with ISO 14044 compliant Japanese database that is not an architectural software and I'm afraid we would have to compile all materials that go into all products that are used in order to erect a building.
I wonder if it is acceptable to use a architectural software with a ISO compliant database for another country for this credit. Any opinions on that?
LCA software developers who watch this page: Any thoughts on how to get an appropriate dataset for Japan? Thanks!
Some LCA software have methodology in place to allow for regionalisation of datasets to e.g. reflect conditions where no native datasets exist, such as Japan as well as other economies which lack data meeting LEED (or BREEAMBuilding Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, the first widely used green building rating system, developed in the U.K. in the early 1990s, currently used primarily in the U.K. and in Hong Kong.) LCA data requirements. One Click LCA would be happy to oblige. The methodology we use is third party verified.
Looks like Dionisio has done plenty of homework on LCA in Japan and probably knows more than we do. Assuming that it's not an option in this case to stay within the Japanese CASBEE rating program and its LCA resources (Japan has long-standing whole-building LCA activity, under the umbrella of a public-private partnership, I believe), then Dionisio has correctly identified two imperfect choices: either start from scratch with software/data non-specific to buildings (which takes too much time and expertise and may have data gaps), or use a buildings tool with data not tailored for Japan (which may create errors in the results). Perhaps the JaGBC would have an opinion on this.
In option 3 of this credit “Building and Material Reuse” we must reuse or salvage building materials from off site or on site as a percentage of the surface area. Does the reuse of building aggregates (from demolished walls, floors, etc) as landfill on the same project parking lot contributes towards the credit?
Good question, Isabel. The reference guide seems to assume you will use salvaged materials within the surface of the structure. I don't see anything specifically stating your scenario is not allowed, but I think this would be more in the spirit of Building Product Dislcosure & Optimization - Sourcing of Raw Materials, Option 2.
On the FAQ of this page the following is written:
How does the LCA consider operating energy? Isn’t that going to be the biggest source of environmental impacts?
On the reference guide however, the operating energy performance seems to be included in the life-cycle assessment"1. An evaluation of the environmental effects of a product from cradle to grave, as defined by ISO 14040-2006 and ISO 14044-2006.
2. The practice of quantifying and characterizing all the resource and pollution flows associated with a process or product, for the purpose of documenting its environmental impact. It is defined by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) as a compilation and evaluation of the inputs":
"The baseline and proposed buildings must be of comparable size, function, orientation, and OPERATING ENERGY PERFORMANCE as defined in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance"
Am I misreading it?
Second question. As written above, the operating energy performance is defined in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance. Does it mean that both the baseline and proposed building should operate as a minimum compliant building per the EA prerequisite? It makes more sense to make the baseline operating energy equal to the proposed building in my opinion.
No, you're not misreading it! The point of this credit is to characterize embodied impacts of materials. Energy use is already covered in the EA section, so it's up to the design team to optimize for both at the same time. There is no overlap because that would double-count energy optimization.
we had similar doubts in the past and after a comprehensive communication with USGBC it was stated that "the intent for the MR Credit: Building life-cycled impact reduction is to encourage adaptive reuseAdapted reuse is the renovation of a space for a purpose different from the original. and optimize the environmental performance of products and materials. The energy consumption of a project should be irrelevant. The baseline and proposed buildings must serve the same programmatic function, and must meet EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance by adhering to the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2010, Appendix G, Opaque Assemblies, Vertical Fenestration, Skylights, and Roof Solar ReflectanceAlso known as albedo: the fraction of solar energy that is reflected by a surface on a scale of 0 to 1. Black paint has a solar reflectance of 0; white paint (titanium dioxide) has a solar reflectance of 1. The standard technique for its determination uses spectrophotometric measurements, with an integrating sphere to determine the reflectance at each wavelength. The average reflectance is then determined by an averaging process, using a standard solar spectrum, as documented by ASTM Standards E903 and E892 and Thermal Emittance sections."
Eventually, and after not addressing energy usage in the LCA model (as this was addressed in the corresponding EA prerequisite) we did manage to earn the credit for a v4 project.
Thank you Paula and Chalampos!
So, we are not counting the daily energy usage, just the impact of the
buildng materials, right?
The baseline building would be a minimum compliant EA minimum energy performance prerequisite building, while the proposed building would be itself because it meets ASHRAE's 90.1-2010 Appendix G.
Correct, it' all about materials. Energy is covered under EA.
I've got a follow up question on how to interpret USGBC's wording on using ASHRAE 90.1-2010 for the creation of the baseline.
When deciding on what materials should go on the baseline building for LCA calculations, are we free to choose between ASHRAE's table 5.5-1-8's "assembly maximum" or "insulation minimum r value"?
The LEED reference guide for this credit states that the LCA option can only be used on new buildings or extensions to existing buildings. In the flowchart in LEEDuser in order to determine the different options, it seems that LCA is can be used for existing buildings. This seems to be a contradiction.
Emmanuel, good catch! That chart needs an update!
Does anyone know of companies that will perform an LCA for this credit? Also, I'm looking to get in touch with a project team that has successfully met the LCA option for this credit. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
Lots of LCA practitioners would no doubt be happy to help, but I'd start with your favorite engineering firm. If they don't offer it themselves, they might have a good recommendation.
I’d second Paula’s recommendation that a first step is to reach out a project team member you already know. Our experience performing the WBLCA is that there are benefits to keep it integrated with the design process, specifically having someone on the design team do the WBLCA keeps the feedback loop “tight” and allows the WBLCA to best shape the final design. That being said, with good communication I’m sure you could also have an independent party doing the WBLCA and then sharing the results with the Architect and Engineer.
As farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). as teams that have achieved the credit, I’m not aware of any teams that have formally achieved the credit yet. (Others speak up if you know) Due to the fact that in v4 the WBLCA is part of the “Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction” credit, and some of the other pathways in that credit have construction phase requirements, we have been told by GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). that they won’t review the WBLCA until the project’s Construction Phase submittal. We have a few v4 projects currently under construction where we completed the WBLCA during design and have all the documentation waiting for review until the project can make their construction phase submittal.
For those headed to LA Greenbuild and minded to get bit more solid understanding of use and requirements of LCA in LEED context, I'll be co-presenting an education session. It's on Friday October 7th, 2016 at 8 am, and the reference is G13 Delivering standardized LCAs from existing design data.
Early bird bookings to Greenbuild are open, hope to see you there.
I went to Greenbuild but unfortunately missed your session. Is there any way I could get a copy of your presentation material?
Thank you in advance!
Sure, if you email me at email@example.com and I'll send it.
Our building we are working on is not existing and will be built new on the site. Do we still qualify for Mrc1 option 4? Looking for any advice to getting started if we are able to get this credit.
Absolutely, Mike! The whole-building LCA option is definitely designed to support new construction.
If I have chosen Athena as my LCA Estimator, do I just use the building plans to start measuring my global warming potential, etc.?
Hi Mike. The Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings will give you the results you need for the LEED credit you're talking about. You have two choices for how you tell the software about your building. You can use an existing bill of materials (from a CAD/BIM file or by doing manual take-offs), or you can let the software estimate your material quantities based on geometry and loading etc inputs. The easiest way to get acquainted with the process is to watch our series of short video tutorials here: http://calculatelca.com/resources/watch-tutorials/impact-estimator-for-b...
Hello, I’m Marius, I’m an intern in an environmental office in France. I’m working on Materials and that’s why I have a few questions about this credit and particularly Option 4.
I worked with the software Elodie developed by CSTB in FRANCE.
My questions are:
What if we haven’t any environmental data?
For example, with Elodie we don’t have any technical floor or incomplete Data (LCA only for production). If materials chosen by the architect have no EPD’s or environmental data, or if materials aren't in the database of LCA tools what can we do?
Can Athena Impact Estimator be used for projects located in France?
The Athena Impact Estimator has North American data, so we generally advise against using it for projects anywhere besides the US and Canada.
I am doing some research on BIM-LCA and I would like to know if on eveBIM-Elodie, the architect can make some type of change on the existing data?
I don't know EVE-BIM but I know that it's based on Elodie's data which is mostly based on INIES (French Environnemental Database). You can modify only datasheet which are not on the INIES. But you can create a new datasheet with your own information (based on EPD's for example) and modify it if necessary.
Thank you Marius! But in EVE-BIM-ELODIE, it´s possible to add your on data and still have a LCA that takes that new that into account
The credit says cradle to grave so it is obvious that this part has to be included. Is there any guidance how should it be included? Having in mind two methods:
The most simple method:
Simply assuming all of the building elements will not be deconstructed after 60 years by proving such products typically have longer life expectancy and that the building is durable.
Simple method (would make sense to make difference between baseline and proposed case for the credit assessment; to benefit recyclable product + products to be incinerated with thermal recovery potential):
By inspiring from DGNB diverting the materials into following groups and assuming the possibility of Part D inclusion – New product stage such as recycling potential
- Metals + Mineral building materials – Deconstruction + Transportation + Processing + inclusion of positive impact by reuse The reemployment of materials in the same or a related capacity as their original application, thus extending the lifetime of materials that would otherwise be discarded. Reuse includes the recovery and reemployment of materials recovered from existing building or construction sites. Also known as salvage.(Part D)
- Timber + Plastics - Deconstruction + Transportation + Processing + inclusion of positive impact by thermal recovery (Part D)
- Materials to be landfilled - – Deconstruction + Transportation + Processing + Landfill
Complicated method: Will rather not propose :)
Thanks for ideas/comments.
Since B stage is compulsory to be included I would like to ask similarly how deep should we dig in. Having in mind the following:
B1-B3 – Bearing in mind all MEP is out of the assessment. What should be included in these parts? Can’t we just simply forget them?
B4-B5 – I would assume we should input life expectancy of those materials with lifecycle shorter than 60 years. This would be for sure finishes of interiors and facades + windows/doors. The rest of relevant materials can be omitted? I understand for the credit assessment purposes this part can be different for baseline and proposed, am I right?
B6 – Is this part really included? Based on the other conversations here at LEEDUser I do not have a clear conclusion. If yes should it be the EAc1 ASHRE 90.1-AppG Baseline or the proposed case? By having it in the overall credit assessment it would make the credit 10% threshold much more difficult. Is it really for sure that the B6 part (same for baseline and proposed) is calculated within the 100% resp. to be assessed within 10% threshold of the credit?
B7 – Water usage is not listed in the credit relevant benchmarks. This is why I think it does not have to be included in the LCA. Am I right?
I do have a lot of questions since this credit approach is brand new + the whole LCA analysis is definitely not yet wide spread on the market.
Since A4+A5 is specified to be included in the LCA is there any further guidance on the depth of information to be provided? In my mind it really could be very simple or tracked deeply as it used to be in LEEDv3 2009.
Very simple method (can be used in the logical schematic design phase):
- Transport based on volume (m3) or weight (tons) with averaged distance to the site as also used in some EPDs
- Construction installation based on weight (tons) as movement on the site
- Both will differ between various basis of construction (like timber frame versus cast in concrete)
Very complicated method (cannot be used in the logical schematic design phase):
- Transportation: All relevant materials will be tracked from manufacturing plant to the construction site + transportation means used
- Construction site energy consumption will be measured
Petr, can you please clarify what you mean by A4 and A5? I'm not sure I understand your question.
I am using the phases listed in ISO 21930 cited by the Reference Guide. Construction Process: A4 - Transport to Site, A5 Construction Installation.
By reading the guide now more carefully A5 seems to be out of the LCA for the purposes of the credit.
Thanks for any kind of guidance/ideas.
Petr, what software are you using to do your LCA? Is it offering you variables for these different levels of depth?
Paula, we would like to use openLCA since it incorporates the only large EU useful database of contruction materials - Oekobaudat. But the interpretation of the credit should not be related to the software used...
No, it should not. I was asking because software programs designed for whole-building LCA are likely to be less open-ended, with the system boundary more readily defined since these tools are specialized for buildings and intended for use by building design professionals rather than LCA professionals. If you're using professional software like openLCA, you're going to have a lot more leeway to define your own parameters.
I'm not an LCA professional, but I'm assuming you are if you are using openLCA. My guess would be that the depth of your assessment is not important, as long as it 1) meets the requirements of 21930 and 2) is the same between baseline and design models.
Life-cycle stages B6 Operational Energy and B7 Operational Water are not in scope of LCA for LEED.
At one point the full reference guide text mentions over-encompassingly B1-B7 but the relevant bit "scope of the analysis" is clear: resource extraction or harvest, building product manufacture, on-site construction, product maintenance and replacement (where warranted), and deconstruction or demolition and disposal
There was a comment about Oekobau.dat and European databases in this thread (Petr already knows but for other forum users). Several European databases including Oekobau.dat, IBU, EPD Norge, Environdec, Spanish and soon also French databases are integrated into our One Click LCA platform.
In the Step-by-Step Guidance under Option 4 it states that we should include "environmental impacts associated with all the life-cycle stages for the building structure and enclosure: resource extraction or harvest, building product manufacture, on-site construction, product maintenance and replacement (where warranted), and deconstruction or demolition and disposal over the assumed 60-year service life." Specifically, it includes on-site construction. However, in the system boundary description below it says we only include "sections A-1 thru A-4, B-1 thru B-5, and C-1 thru C-4."
A4 is defined as transport to the construction site.
A5, which is not included, includes the actual construction impacts (fuel use, water use, etc).
Which section is correct? Should we be including on-site construction impacts?
Hi, I read this so that the on-site construction is in the scope but only for Products which are defined as the mandatory scope of LCA below. Essentially this translates into additional demand for basic materials and construction products to account for on-site losses (which are themselves in A1-A3). Still this would not account for materials used for temporary structures only used at the site and not ending up in the building.
Maggie, our interpretation is that this credit intends to include on-site construction effects, although the language in the reference guide is certainly confusing (not to get in to the weeds, but for starters, the A1, B1 etc nomenclature is from EN 15978:2011 and not the cited reference of ISO 21930:2007, among other errors in this text regarding which modules to include). To try and help LEED teams navigate the credit and hopefully earn the points, we put together an extensive guide with our interpretation and tips: http://www.athenasmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Athena_Guide_to_Whol...
The online version of the reference guide has actually been corrected now to refer as follows: "as defined in EN 15804-2013 sections A-1 thru A-4, B-1 thru B-5, and C-1 thru C-4.", so this bit is clear.
Thanks for helping with this, Panu and Jennifer! So great to have you both on the forms.
Thank you all but I'm still a little confused. Jennifer is saying that on-site impacts (fuel combustion, water use, waste disposal, etc.) are included but Panu is saying they are not, just the additional wastage material from installation. Which is correct?
And I really think A5 should be included in the description "EN 15804-2013 sections A-1 thru A-4, B-1 thru B-5, and C-1 thru C-4", as A5 is the installation scenario and thus defines the wastage rate.
Yes, A5 should be included in the list in the reference guide. We know the intent of the credit is to include on-site construction effects like energy used to operate construction equipment, which means omitting A5 from the list is an error in the guide.
I can't comment on the intent, only what the reference guide and standards define. The A5 is excluded and reference guide makes specific mention to "exclude excavation and other site development" which sets aside some of the on-site activity specifically. However my earlier comment was not quite accurate: EN 15804 indeed specifies the increased material demand from wastage in the A5. Which leads to the the LCA for LEED v4 being specified in the currently applicable rules on net materials demand basis (whether it should be like this is of course a different, and a quite valid question).
For anyone interested in this I'm giving an education session with the chairman of CEN/TC 350 (EN15804 etc) at Greenbuild; it's Friday Oct 7 at 8-9 am and title is "Delivering Standardized LCAs from Existing Design Data" and link is here:
Materials and Resources / Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction / Option 4 / Life-Cycle Assessment"1. An evaluation of the environmental effects of a product from cradle to grave, as defined by ISO 14040-2006 and ISO 14044-2006.
2. The practice of quantifying and characterizing all the resource and pollution flows associated with a process or product, for the purpose of documenting its environmental impact. It is defined by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) as a compilation and evaluation of the inputs" Software Tool:
What is this tool, and where can I find it, and is the tool accessible on the LEED Website? Is it free to use? If so, where on-line can I access it? If not, what is the cost? How can I get a hold of this tool?
Richard, you need to use a whole-building LCA tool. Such tools are very powerful and complex, so they are not part of LEED Online. There is a free whole-building LCA tool called the Athena Impact Estimator. You need to register with them in order to download, but it doesn't cost anything.
We are studying a building in Saudi Arabia that has a fully glazed facade shaded with an exterior facade system made of ultra high performance concrete. The shading decreases the direct irradiation on the façade and thus the cooling demand of the building.
Would it be valid to compare the proposed building (with the façade/shading system) to a baseline building that does not have the shading but it has, for example, 5% of the cooling demand? (if the cooling demand that we save, only because we implement the shading system, is 5%)
Besides the façade, the rest of the building’s u-values and energy performance is the same, and the baseline building meets the minimum energy requirements. It is just that with the implementation of the facade, the cooling demand is further reduced.
This way we basically compare the environmental impacts of the façade/shading material to the environmental impacts of the extra energy production that would be needed for cooling if there was no shading. Although, it is stated that the baseline building and the proposed building should have the same energy performance, this approach coincides with the “Behind the intent” section in the LEED guide:
“An LCA also allows the design team to understand the trade-offs of material selection and energy performance and find an appropriate balance between the two. For example, high thermal mass can reduce a building’s peak energy demands; an LCA can quantify the environmental damage associated with the additional materials used so that the team can compare those effects with the benefits for energy performance and then make more informed design decisions.”
No. The intent is one thing, and the actual rules are another. The Reference Guide states that the following must remain the same between the baseline and design:
You will get credit for the shading in the energy model, so you don't get to double-count it in the LCA model. I suspect it would simply be too easy to game the system if they allowed exceptions like this. (It's already pretty game-able, but that's another topic!)
Just to clarify that operating energy performance does not mean operating energy, since this is an issue analysed in the EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance. The energy consumption of the project should be irrelevant. The baseline and proposed buildings must serve the same programmatic function, and must meet EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance by adhering to the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2010, Appendix G, Opaque Assemblies, Vertical Fenestration, Skylights, and Roof Solar ReflectanceAlso known as albedo: the fraction of solar energy that is reflected by a surface on a scale of 0 to 1. Black paint has a solar reflectance of 0; white paint (titanium dioxide) has a solar reflectance of 1. The standard technique for its determination uses spectrophotometric measurements, with an integrating sphere to determine the reflectance at each wavelength. The average reflectance is then determined by an averaging process, using a standard solar spectrum, as documented by ASTM Standards E903 and E892 and Thermal Emittance sections.
I'm not sure I understand your comment, Charalampos. Are you replying to me or to Jody? Are you saying that the reference guide means something different by "operating energy performance" than it does by "operating energy"?
Hi Paula. What I intended to mean that during a conversation with the GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). we got a reply that the energy consumption of the project should be irrelevant with the LCA model. Hence, the question still is whether the result of the energy model in terms of kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. would be an input to the LCA model or just the materials used to achieve the specific energy usage of the model. If the latter is the case, then the reference guide should clearly clarify that by "operating energy performance" it is meant that "the baseline and proposed buildings must serve the same programmatic function, and must meet EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance by adhering to the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2010, Appendix G."
To give you an example: Imagine an energy-intensive building (e.g. a data center) which needed increased amount of energy 40% less than its baseline. This building, although energy efficient (compared to its baseline), if its energy consumption (kWh) was entered in the LCA model (and keeping it the same for baseline and proposed case), then by definition the reduction required in the LCA impact indicators would not be possible because the impact of the tremendous energy usage would neutralize the improvement in the impact indicators.
In other words, entering kWh in the LCA models would make sense only if the baseline and proposed cases were allowed to use their corresponding baseline and proposed energy usages and not the same one.
this is less of a question but rather food for thought and feedback that could (should) be used for future addenda to LEED version 4:
Many metals can be manufactured either from ore plus scrap or from 100% scrap. The global metals industries have issued a recycling declaration highlighting the environmentally questionable practice of specifying metal products on the basis of high scrap content. The reason is that metal recycling is already very economical and the recycled metal market is mature. Since there is strong demand for metals there is a limited supply of used metals available for recycling into new products. Therefore primary metal production generally fills the gap between the availability of secondary material and total demand (www.world-aluminium.org/media/filer_public/2013/01/15/fl0000130.pdf)
What does that mean in practice? When high recycled content is specified for a specific project it would only direct recycled feedstock towards designated products and away from production where recycling is most economical. Therefore there is no global additionality in terms of environmental benefit.
Researchers at the University of Bath in the UK broadly share this concern. They developed an alternative approach for calculating a balanced recycled content value for metal products that takes into account both recycled content and recyclability (INVENTORY OF CARBON & ENERGY, Version 2.0, Annex B: Methodologies for Recycling, 2011). It seems that for products with a well-established scrap material market such as steel, aluminium and other metals this value should be used for environmental lifecycle assessments.
However, it seems that LEED version 4 encourages the use of metals made from scrap in a number of ways. There appears to be nothing to stop any LEED AP/LCA analyst assuming that all metals (mainly steel I suppose) in the baseline buildings are made from ore and scrap and then assuming metals made from scrap (i.e. 100% recycled content) in the design building to help achieve the points. Am I correct in that assumption, and if so, shouldn't this loophole be closed in future versions?
I would very much welcome responses by relevant USGBC members and LEED User members.
Meike Borchers, LEED AP (via Juliana Moreira)
Any idea if this credit could be followed for an innovation point under v3? We are reusing an historic church, with an addition. We don't qualify for MRc1 under v3 because the addition is too large compared to the exisiting, and adding the "waste avoided" to the construction waste calcs under MRc2 really isn't even a drop in the bucket.
(I will post this under MRc1 v3 as well.)
I believe this is possible, yes. Best to check directly, however.
in the UK we are using a LCA tool called IESVE IMPACT. It assess a total of 13 indicators (including those listed in the credit requirements) and follows the EN 15978 style life stage reporting standard. It takes into account:
– Product stage (‘to gate’)
– In-use and
– End of life
Does anyone know whether or not IESVE IMPACT is an approved LCA tool for this credit?
The Reference Guide specifically mentioned Envest II as a good option for the UK. That doesn't mean IESVE IMPACT isn't good, but you don't mention whether the tool is capable of characterizing whole-building life cycle. As the Reference Guide notes, "Ensure that the selected tool can be applied at the whole-building level and produce results for the relevant indicators." I'm guessing your question may ultimately need to be answered by GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). before you proceed too farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters)..
That tool is based IMPACT database. I checked earlier this year the specifications for that, and one of the environmental impact categories uses a different characterisation method than listed as accepted ones (CML, ReCiPe and TRACI) in LEED v4 LCA Reference guide full text.
When conducting a LCA will the baseline and proposed building have the baseline and proposed energy usage accordingly (as per Minimum Energy Performance calculations) or will both have the same energy usage?
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