NC-v4 MRc2: Building product disclosure and optimization - environmental product declarations

  • A deeper look at EPDs

    An EPD is a standardized format for presenting data from a life-cycle assessment. These EPD data from Kingspan Insulated Panels North America come directly from an LCA and were verified by UL. | Source – Kingspan Insulated Panels North AmericavAn EPD is a standardized format for presenting data from a life-cycle assessment. These EPD data from Kingspan Insulated Panels North America come directly from an LCA and were verified by UL. Source – Kingspan Insulated Panels North AmericaThe arrival of this credit in LEED v4, along with ongoing activity in Europe, has stimulated a flurry of activity around environmental product declarations (EPDs) over the last couple of years, and the pace appears to be accelerating. (See Resources for more background.)

    What’s new

    EPDs, formally called “Type III Environmental Product Declarations” by ISO, are independently verified reports based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies that have been conducted according to a set of common rules (product category rules, or PCRs) for each product category and then peer-reviewed.

    At the heart of the EPD process are “program operators”—organizations that ensure that the EPDs meet the various requirements.

    UL Environment is the leading program operator in the U.S., responsible for the great majoirty of EPDs that have been published to date. These include generic, industry-wide EPDs for the American and Canadian Wood Councils as well as product-specific EPDs for several carpet companies and other major manufacturers. Other organizations vying for the program operator role include NSF International and ICC Environmental Services (ICC-ES), a subsidiary of the International Code Council.

    These program operators don’t do the actual LCA studies behind the EPDs. They simply ensure that the studies follow the appropriate product category rules and that they’ve been translated properly into the EPD format. Because EPDs are relatively new in the U.S., the program operators have been busy sorting out the product category rules while trying to meet ISO’s stipulation to avoid creating duplicate PCRs within a product category. When program operators attempt to produce the first U.S.-based EPDs in a category, they can either create a PCR from scratch—as ICC-ES has done for pressure-treated wood—or adapt one from Europe, which is UL Environment’s preferred approach.

    Option 2 of this credit seeks to reward products that have been certified as preferable by programs with an LCA-based approach. No specific programs have been approved yet, so it is too soon to say what products might comply, but a LEED pilot credit recognizing the BIFMA level certification program for furniture is a likely harbinger of things to come.

    Tips & field notes

    Given the rapidly evolving field of EPDs in the U.S., it is perhaps not surprising that a number of organizations are introducing alternative approaches. Each of these has its own rationale, but the inconsistency with standard practice in Europe and among leading U.S. program operators is problematic.

    Rogue EPDs?

    One example of a different approach is that of the National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), which has chosen to be the program operator for concrete EPDs produced under a new PCR developed by the Carbon Leadership Forum. There is some disagreement as to whether trade associations count as independent third-party program operators per ISO.

    More extreme outliers are the so-called EPDs that the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS) is now producing based on its own proprietary PCR, which it claims covers all products. According to the organization’s May 2012 SMaRT Environmental Product Declaration Policy & Product Criteria Rule, the existing SMaRT product certification program already meets the requirements of an EPD, so MTS decided to include an EPD Summary as part of the SMaRT Summary in order to faciliate SMaRT’s acceptance in Europe. MTS justifies its single-PCR approach based on the efficiency gained by not having to create a separate PCR for each product category. Also, unlike other EPDs, which are designed to be neutral reports on the impacts of a product, MTS touts its EPDs as only appearing on products that have been certified to the SMaRT standard.

    Not 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). along is the emerging Standard for Type III Life-Cycle Impact Profile Declarations for Products, Services and Systems (LEO-SCS-002) from Leonardo Academy and SCS Global Services, which seeks to introduce a more comprehensive LCA method, including health and other impact categories not included in mainstream EPDs. This standard, once approved, could lead to PCRs and EPDs produced according to a structure that can’t be aligned with others on the market. It’s worth acknowledging, however, that the comparability of EPDs—even when they’re produced under the same PCR but by different entities—has yet to be proven.

    At Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia USGBC announced a collaboration with UL Environment to clarify the EPD standards that LEED expects. This initiative will still support other program operators (in addition to ULe), but they'll have to follow formats and use PCRs endorsed by this collaboration.

    Generic industry EPDs

    The LEED credit includes an option for products to contribute, albeit at a lesser value, by being covered by a generic EPD for their industry, not one specific to a single company’s product. Currently, generic EPDs from UL Environment do not list which manufacturers are considered “participants,” so it would be tricky to find products that can contribute in this way, but participant lists might become available as a supplement to the EPD once enough project teams start asking for them.

    Mass-producing EPDs

    Just as UL Environment dominates the program operator market, ThinkStep, based in Europe, is the leading provider of LCA services in support of EPDs.

    Not only is ThinkStep leading the field in doing the LCA studies itself, but the company also has a software platform that major manufacturers can use to produce custom EPDs for each product variation, or SKU (stock-keeping unit).

    Where to find LEED-compliant products

    Currently, the most extensive list of EPDs openly available is in UL’s SPOT database, which lists products with EPDs along with many other certified claims. Others can be found on the ICC-ES website and scattered around the Internet.

  • MR Credit 2: Building product disclosure and optimization - environmental product declarations

    Intent

    To encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts. To reward project teams for selecting products from manufacturers who have verified improved environmental life-cycle impacts.

    Requirements

    Achieve one or more of the options below, for a maximum of 2 points.

    Option 1. environmental product declaration (EPD) (1 point)

    Use at least 20 different permanently installed products sourced from at least five different manufacturers that meet one of the disclosure criteria below.

    • Product-specific declaration.

      • Products with a publicly available, critically reviewed 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" conforming to ISO 14044 that have at least a cradle to gate scope are valued as one quarter (1/4) of a product for the purposes of credit achievement calculation.
    • Environmental Product Declarations which conform to ISO 14025, 14040, 14044, and EN 15804 or ISO 21930 and have at least a cradle to gate scope.
      • Industry-wide (generic) EPD -- Products with third-party certification (Type III), including external verification, in which the manufacturer is explicitly recognized as a participant by the program operator are valued as one half (1/2) of a product for purposes of credit achievement calculation.
      • Product-specific Type III EPD -- Products with third-party certification (Type III), including external verification in which the manufacturer is explicitly recognized as the participant by the program operator are valued as one whole product for purposes of credit achievement calculation.
    • USGBC approved program – Products that comply with other USGBC approved environmental product declaration frameworks.

    AND/OR

    Option 2. Multi-attribute optimization (1 point)

    Use products that comply with one of the criteria below for 50%, by cost, of the total value of permanently installed products in the project. Products will be valued as below.

    • Third party certified products that demonstrate impact reduction below industry average in at least three of the following categories are valued at 100% of their cost for credit achievement calculations.

      • global warming potential (greenhouse gases), in CO2e;
      • depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, in kg CFC-11;
      • 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. of land and water sources, in moles H+ or kg SO2;
      • 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., in kg nitrogen or kg phosphate;
      • formation of tropospheric ozone, in kg NOx, kg O3 eq, or kg ethene; and
      • depletion of nonrenewable energy resources, in MJ.
    • USGBC approved program -- Products that comply with other USGBC approved multi-attribute frameworks.

    For credit achievement calculation, products sourced (extracted, manufactured, purchased) within 100 miles (160 km) of the project site are valued at 200% of their base contributing cost.

    Structure and enclosure materials may not constitute more than 30% of the value of compliant building products.

    SITES-LEED Equivalency

    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.

Articles

The Product Transparency Movement: Peeking Behind the Corporate Veil

An Environmental Building News feature article introducing the key concepts and tools behind the product transparency movement.

Construction Submittal

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

101 Comments

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Douglas Flandro Designer Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc.
Feb 15 2017
LEEDuser Member
67 Thumbs Up

Definition of "Sourced"?

Project Location: United States

The credit language says,"For credit achievement calculation, products sourced (extracted, manufactured, purchased) within 100 miles (160 km) of the project site are valued at 200% of their base contributing cost."

Does this mean extracted AND manufactured AND purchased within 100 miles as in v2009 NC OR extracted OR manufactured or purchased within 100 miles as in v2009 CI? I assume the former, but does anyone know for sure?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 16 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

I am not 100% certain, but I think it's safe to assume it follows the rules of LEED 2009, and all three must be the case. But I think it's also the case that if part of the product has all three attributes (like OSBOriented-strand board (OSB). Consists of wood or plant particles or fibers bonded by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, wheatboard, oriented-strand board, and strawboard. made from locally sourced wood but binderGlue used in manufacturing wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Most binders are made with formaldehyde. from another place), you get to count the locally sourced percentage.

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Keith Robertson President, Solterre Inc. Feb 16 2017 LEEDuser Member 784 Thumbs Up

The v4 BPDO calculator has a simple yes/no question about the local material source: "Does the entire product meet local criteria?"

And from the reference guide: "For a product to qualify for the location valuation factor, it must meet two conditions: all extraction, manufacture, and purchase (including distribution) of the product and its materials must occur within that radius, AND the product (or portion of an assembled product) must meet at least one of the sustainable criteria (e.g., FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts. certification, recycled content)

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Alicja Bieszyńska Skanska
Jan 31 2017
LEEDuser Member
1490 Thumbs Up

international EPD?

Project Location: Poland

My reinforcing steel supplier, which is a global company, sent me an EPD that is based on the american products (it seems to be downloaded from their US webpage). Can I use it for the steel that they produce locally in Poland?
I know the location part of the EPD is not valid, but I expect that the production process shall be the same.
Thanks!

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 31 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

Alicja, I do not believe this can be used in the way you are hoping. Even though the process will be pretty similar, the point of the location data is in part to capture the impacts of the local grid. Also, their raw materials may come from a different place. I believe you will need an EPD that is globally applicable or reflects the impacts in Poland. Others may chime in to correct me, but this is my understanding.

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Alexa Stone ecoPreserve - Building Sustainbility
Jan 26 2017
LEEDuser Member
57 Thumbs Up

EPD Option 2 - Compliance

Project Location: United States

For Option 2 - How do you determine credit compliance with an industry-wide EPD?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 31 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

You compare the industry-wide to a product EPD from a company whose products are covered by the industry-wide average. If the manufacturer has a product-specific EPD that is available for comparison with the industry-wide, they should be able to point you to it.

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Ana García Architectural Green Method
Jan 23 2017
LEEDuser Member
17 Thumbs Up

Generic or Product-specific EPD ?

Project Location: Spain

Dear All,​

An international insulation manufacturer has developed an EPD for all its products consisting in ​rock wool insulation. The plants chosen for the analysis are located in different European countries, and represent the average technology in the company in terms of energy use and emission and the application of environmental technology. Data are weighted by production volume.

According to the EPD, stone wool products are manufactured with the same underlying technology and pass through the same production processes in different production plants.

It doesn't match with the guide definition for generic EPDs, but I'm not sure if it could be considered as a product specific EPD.

As an EPD developed by a single manufacturer for its products ¿Can this EPD be considered as a Product-specific declaration​ for its ​rock wool insulation​ products​, even if it is not for a specific ​production plant?

Thank you for your help!

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 23 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

If the EPD meets ISO standards as required by LEED, then it is product-specific.

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Ana García Architectural Green Method Jan 24 2017 LEEDuser Member 17 Thumbs Up

Thank you Paula!
The EPD meets ISO stadards ;)

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John Doherty Director of Communications Package Pavement - Spec Mix Division
Jan 12 2017
LEEDuser Member

RE: EPD's For Assemblies or Whole Products (Mortars and Grouts)

Project Location: United States

I am reviewing the benefit of generating EPDs for our pre-blended mortar and grout products and the challenge is the guidance via the new rules of LEED v4.

Our products were considered assemblies of products in previous versions of LEED. But it is a little more grey when developing EPD's and complying with the MR Category with assemblies. If I used the previous guidance our LEED form would list 3 products (ie: cement, lime, and mason sand for mortars). [As a side note Cement and Lime manufacturers, which utilize a lot of energy to produce their products, may very well comply with Option 2, as they produce verified sustainability reports annually which tracks greenhouse gases. ]

Now the question is if I we generate finished product specific EPD's, do we still list the components of the assembly and the finished product? In this case how would customers apply the costs for the assembly products (portland, lime and sand) and the finished product (mortar)?
or...
Do I simply list the finished product and the supporting EPD?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 12 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

John, this seems like a complicated question, and I appreciate you bringing it up. I'm going to contact someone at USGBC and see if they have some guidance on this. Thanks!

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Leanne Conrad Project Coordinator Maple Reinders Constructors
Jan 11 2017
Guest
50 Thumbs Up

Product Specific & Industry EPD

Project Location: Canada

Our project may be able to obtain this credit, but it might come down to the last half value for an industry EPD. My question to the knowledge pool is;

May I count both an industry and a product specific EPD?

Initial thoughts are that the product specific supersedes the industry wide EPD but I am left wondering if anyone has had success submitting both in the past? A specific example I have is for an insulated metal panel, I have both the industry and product specific EPDs.

Thanks!

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 11 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

Leanne, that is not addressed specifically anywhere that I know of, but I seriously doubt you can count them both toward Option 1.

The application where you could use both would be in Option 2, where the goal is to compare the actual embodied impacts against a baseline and choose better products based on that.

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Alexa Stone ecoPreserve - Building Sustainbility
Jan 06 2017
LEEDuser Member
57 Thumbs Up

USGBC Approved Programs

Project Location: United States

Is there a bank of "USGBC Approved Programs" we can consult while working through product submittals for the BPDO credits?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 09 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

Alexa, if you mean additional programs not mentioned in the credit language or reference guide, the only way to keep up with that is by keeping up with credit interpretations. This credit has not had any updates to the accepted programs, however. The material ingredients credit has (Declare and UL's Product Lens are both now accepted).

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Leanne Conrad Project Coordinator Maple Reinders Constructors
Nov 23 2016
Guest
50 Thumbs Up

Industry Wide EPD with slightly different product listed

Project Location: Canada

I have located an industry wide type III EPD for gypsum by the Gypsum Association. In the product description it lists the products as "for average 5/8" type X gypsum boards". I am using a 1/2" gypsum and am not certain if I can apply this industry EPD as it states 5/8". What are your thoughts on being able to count this EPD?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 25 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Leanne, I don't think so.

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Leanne Conrad Project Coordinator, Maple Reinders Constructors Nov 25 2016 Guest 50 Thumbs Up

Tristan,

Unfortunately that was my immediate thought as well. I posted to the knowledge pool in case someone had experience submitting already and had success. One can always hope this credit is within reach.

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Akira Kataoka
Nov 15 2016
Guest
11 Thumbs Up

Enhanced EPD program

Project Location: Japan

I understand that USGBC are seeking feedbacks from stakeholders on the draft EPD guidance.

When is the final version scheduled to be ready and when would the guidance become effective?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 15 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Akira, I have to admit I'm not familiar with the draft you're referring to. I thought USGBC's EPD guidance was final. Can you send a link?

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Akira Kataoka Nov 15 2016 Guest 11 Thumbs Up

Tristan

Thank you for the reply. Here is the link to the document I'm referring to:

http://www.usgbc.org/articles/usgbc-seeks-open-stakeholder-feedback-epd-...

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 15 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Akira, the comment period is still open. Then, they would typically take some time to review comments before posting guidance. There is no published timeframe... I would expect anywhere from a couple months to longer.

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Jean DesRosiers vice president Vertima Inc
Aug 26 2016
LEEDuser Member
9 Thumbs Up

EPDs covering several product series

Project Location: Canada

Hi all,

What happens when multiple products are gathered into one EPD? In the context of concrete and masonry products, multiple products can be used on a project, let's say 3 (blocks, pavers, slabs) . However, assuming that only one EPD has been done to cover the environmental impacts of those 3 products, how much point do you get? Are points related to the number of EPD or to the number of products. This is not clear to us.

Thank you

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 29 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Jean, if they are truly three different products by the definition in the ref guide, I believe they would still count as three products from one manufacturer. The EPD should have different sections detailing how the impacts change from product to product. But check against that definition of a "product" in the ref guide before submitting.

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Megan White Sr. Sustainability Consultant , Integral Group Nov 15 2016 LEEDuser Expert 142 Thumbs Up

Jean, thank you for posting this question!
We have a very similar question and looking for some guidance on assemblies and/or products that are made up of multiple materials. Additional examples: Curtain wall systems, windows, skylights, etc. Hypothetically, if there was an industry-wide EPD for Aluminum and Glass, would we be able to claim 2 Industry-Wide EPDs for a window? Or does the Window Industry need to have their own Industry-wide EPD? Or do windows only qualify for Product-specific EPDs?
Thank you!

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Leanne Conrad Project Coordinator, Maple Reinders Constructors Nov 15 2016 Guest 50 Thumbs Up

Another scenario I am looking at is for concrete. While each mix design is intended for a specific purpose (walls, footings, grade beam, slab, etc) the overall purpose could be defined as the same - building construction/support/strength material. May we use the industry level EPD which was produced by NRMCA and have it count for each separate mix? My initial thought is yes, but I would like to hear your ideas as well.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 15 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Given the liberal intent of the credit language here, I think you could count each mix, and similarly each aluminum product.

This should be tested with real projects and contacting 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). to confirm, and please report back here as you go!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 15 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Given the liberal intent of the credit language here, I think you could count each mix, and similarly each aluminum product.

This should be tested with real projects and contacting 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). to confirm, and please report back here as you go!

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Megan White Sr. Sustainability Consultant , Integral Group Nov 15 2016 LEEDuser Expert 142 Thumbs Up

Thanks Tristan. We will add to our inquiry list on a specific project for December. Will report back next month!

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Noriko Yasuhara Woonerf Inc.
Aug 24 2016
LEEDuser Member
3526 Thumbs Up

Structure and enclosure

Quoted from the reference guide: "Structure and enclosure materials may not constitute more than 30% of the value of compliant building products."
How does LEED define enclosure and structure materials? For example, fireproofing paint applied to the structure is included as structure? Waterproofing applied to the enclosure is considered enclosure?

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Aug 24 2016 LEEDuser Expert 6721 Thumbs Up

Noriko—The definitions are in the LEEDv4 Glossary (http://www.usgbc.org/resources/leed-v4-glossary-terms-translations):

Structure: Elements carrying either vertical or horizontal loads (e.g., walls, roofs, and floors) that are considered structurally sound and nonhazardous.

Enclosure: The exterior plus semi-exterior portions of the building. Exterior consists of the elements of a building that separate conditioned spaces from the outside (i.e., the wall assembly). Semi-exterior consists of the elements of a building that separate conditioned space from unconditioned space or that encloses semi-heated space through which thermal energy may be transferred to or from the exterior or conditioned or unconditioned spaces (e.g., attic, crawl space, basement).

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 25 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Thanks, Jon!

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David Browne Architect, CRA Associates, Inc. Aug 26 2016 LEEDuser Member 200 Thumbs Up

I'm not sure Jon fully answered Noriko's question. In my humble opinion, fireproofing paint (mastic?) on the steel, would be considered part of structure, because it's there to make the steel structure compliant with the building code construction type; and the waterproofing would be part of enclosure because it's a component of the assembly designed to keep the elements out. Again, just my opinion, but that's the argument I would use.

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 26 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Thanks, David! I'm trying to get an answer from USGBC.

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 26 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Apparently there hasn't been an official interpretation yet, but Sara Cederberg replied:

My litmus test has been, if it’s on the structural drawings, its structure.  So no, I wouldn’t include fireproofing as structure.

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Aug 27 2016 LEEDuser Expert 6721 Thumbs Up

I would agree with David that I did not fully answer Noriko’s question. I hoped that, by linking her to the glossary, I could help her reach her own conclusion based on the specifics of her particular project. I would also agree, based on the definitions, that waterproofing is part of the envelope, and that fireproofing could go either way. (I have even debated the question with a structural engineer who argued that fireproofing was completely outside his scope.)

In the end, questions like this only matter for products that fall on a Credit tipping point. If this were the case on one of my projects, I would err conservatively or ask USGBC for a credit interpretation.

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Noriko Yasuhara Woonerf Inc. Sep 02 2016 LEEDuser Member 3526 Thumbs Up

Thank you all for debating on this. Very helpful!

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Jon Clifford LEED-AP BD+C, GREENSQUARE Sep 10 2016 LEEDuser Expert 6721 Thumbs Up

Paula/Noriko/David/Sara: This discussion has started me thinking about how to treat materials that one could classify as structure/enclosure, or not, and that could fall on a Credit tipping point.

For example, many projects spend a significant chunk of their budgets on gypsum board (drywall). Some percentage of the board forms part of the exterior wall and ceiling assembly, making it part of the “enclosure.” In many cases, the gypsum is there as fireproofing to make combustible load-bearing elements (such as wood frame) code-compliant. Using David’s rationale, this makes it structural. Still, in most buildings, the lion’s share of the gypsum board is for non-structural work on the interior of the building. To count this portion as non-structure/non-enclosure, are we required to tally the costs and characteristics of the interior gypsum separately from the small percentage used to enclose the structure?

Wood framing raises a similar question. Some is used for exterior walls and interior bearing elements, but some comprises non-bearing interior partitions. The sticks of wood are identical, but it appears that we must track them separately.

Since, for Option 2, structure and enclosure materials may not constitute more than 30% of the value of compliant building products, all this hair-splitting may be necessary to maximize the contributions of non-structure/non-enclosure elements. I am curious how others have handled materials like these.

Since the questions above are applicable to all BPDO Credits, I have posted them to the “Sourcing of Raw Materials” forum. Let’s continue this discussion there: http://www.leeduser.com/comment/redirect/66653.

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Francisca Herrera Architect Idiem
Aug 09 2016
Guest
14 Thumbs Up

MR credit: Building Disclosure

Project Location: Chile

In relation to the Educational Session on EPD that you lead through USGBC, can you please tell me if the EPD compliant with LEEDv4 that you cover through this course, requires that the program under which the EPD was published should be operating and current at the time of the LEED building certification?. I am building an EPD database, but I know many of these come from programs that are not currently operating, would these be useful to comply with the MR credit: Building Disclosure?. I would appreciate your response or if you know of someone that may know this,

Sincerely

María José Valdebenito
Architect, LEED AP BD+C
Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture
University of British Columbia

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Erin Holdenried Sustainable Design Manager AECOM
Aug 04 2016
LEEDuser Member
406 Thumbs Up

SCS not yet approved?

Project Location: United States

SCS certified EPDs are not yet approved? So this industry-wide EPD would not yet be acceptable for the credit?
https://www.scscertified.com/products/cert_pdfs/SCS-EPD-03838_SRI_CFS-St...

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 04 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Erin, I believe it's not necessary for USGBC to explicitly approve any specific framework. If the EPD has third-party verification that it follows the relevant standards referenced in LEED, then it is acceptable. I just took a quick look at the steel EPD, and it seems to adhere to the proper standards.

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Erin Holdenried Sustainable Design Manager AECOM
Aug 03 2016
LEEDuser Member
406 Thumbs Up

cradle to gate scope?

Project Location: United States

Does the compliance with the ISO 14025 standard automatically include cradle to gate scope? Or is the scope stated separately in the product EPD?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 04 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

ISO 14025 does not set the scope. The scope for a product category is determined in the product category rule.

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Erin Holdenried Sustainable Design Manager, AECOM Aug 04 2016 LEEDuser Member 406 Thumbs Up

thanks!

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 04 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

You're very welcome! Don't forget that industry-wide counts as a partial product.

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Jennifer Webb CEO JWAC
Jul 27 2016
LEEDuser Member
12 Thumbs Up

Thermal Barrier Tape and EPD

Project Location: United States

I talked to a leading manufacturer of thermal barrier tape which typically requires an EPD to be included in the credit. The manufacturer has stated that they will not be providing EPD for their fire protection products and putting together "other" information that may help customers acquire LEED v4 credits. What other information could they be talking about? Because this is a large facility, we have fire protection needs throughout the project and don't want to lose the opportunity to get the credit. What should we be looking for to ensure that we stay in compliance with this credit?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 27 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

They are probably talking about achieving other credits (perhaps they're working on an HPD for BPDO-Material Ingredients). I don't know of any other documentation that meets this credit in particular. This makes complete sense, if you think about it. The tape in the building is more relevant to health impacts, including IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors., than it is to your building's carbon footprint or other metrics you'll find in an EPD.

Since credit achievement (under Option 1—with Option 2 elusive for now) is calculated by number of declarations rather than cost, there are likely other products that could contribute to achieving the EPD credit. These other products are also very likely to be more relevant to the actual environmental footprint of your building, so it works out.

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Gary Brock HMFH Architects, Inc.
Jul 20 2016
Guest
8 Thumbs Up

USGBC Approved Environmental Product Declaration Framework

Project Location: United States

It still isn't clear to me what is meant by "USGBC approved environmental product declaration framework" which is applicable for pursuing either option 1 or option 2. Would Cradle to Cradle certification of a product count toward the full value (1 out of 20) when trying to meet the 20 permanently installed products with EPDs?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 22 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

To my knowledge, these multi-attribute frameworks have yet to be chosen. For other credits, the "USGBC-approved" programs are being named through addenda. We're watching for these to start rolling in for Option 2 of this credit.

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Paul Setzer
Jun 03 2016
Guest
46 Thumbs Up

EPD's for architectural woodwork

Hello-

As I read the v4 MR requirement for EPD's, they apply to assembled products. Since a lot of millwork that arrives on a jobsite is an assembled product (cabinet, reception desk, etc), does this mean that in order to comply with the requirement, the millwork company has to develop EPDs? Or can the millworker submit EPDs on components, like MDFMedium-density fiberboard (MDF): Panel product used in cabinets and furniture; generally made from wood fiber glued together with binder; similar to particleboard, but with finer texture, offering more precise finishing. Most MDF is made with formaldehyde-emitting urea-formaldehyde binder. or particleboard, and satisfy the requirement?

Thanks-

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 06 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

I think it probably needs to be the finished product unless the cabinetry is site-assembled. Check out the MR section intro in the ref guide, under "Defining a Product."

Also, just to be clear, no manufacturer will be "submitting" any transparency documents to the project team. ALL transparency documents must be public in order to count toward the BPDO credits. The only exception is full C2CA protocol developed by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry that establishes guidelines for the manufacture of products in ways that harmonize with natural systems. These guidelines require, for example, that products be recyclable indefinitely, contain no hazardous ingredients, and be manufactured using renewable energy. certification, where the "disclosure" piece is covered by disclosure to a third party.

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Charline Seytier CEO, Co-owner. LEED AP BD+C ThemaVerde, France
May 20 2016
LEEDuser Member
1090 Thumbs Up

Compliance of an EPD

Dear all,
We have a Type III environmental declaration form for a product, verified by a third party (Bauen und Umwelt institute). The PDE is based on the Product Category Rules established by the Bauen und Umwelt institute and clearly states that it conforms to the norms ISO 14025 and EN 15804. Nevertheless it’s never mentioned in the EPD form content that it conforms to the ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 norms.
The institute’s PCR as well as the ISO 14025 norm mention the need of conformity to the ISO 14040/44 norms for the validation of the LCA methods and data.
Could we imply that if the form is based on the institutes PCR and conforms to both the ISO 14025 and EN 15804 norms, the form also complies with the ISO 14040/44 norms? And if so, could this be a valid PDE for the credit?

Thank you

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 23 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Charline, compliance with 14025 assumes compliance with 14040. But whether a reviewer will find this acceptable I am not sure. Can you ask the company to send a pdf with all the relevant standards listed? My take: it's probably eligible for the credit, but I would not risk it without explicit documentation from the company.

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Panu Pasanen CEO, Bionova / One Click LCA Jun 10 2016 Guest 56 Thumbs Up

Charline, the EPD is fine. It will comply due to the structure of the standards, for these purposes, EN 15804 implements ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 and they're normative references in that standard.

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Vitor Tosetto Environmental Engineer LarVerdeLar
Mar 31 2016
Guest
94 Thumbs Up

Is external verification always necessary?

Project Location: Brazil

Hi all!

I have a doubt about EPD, could someone help me?

This credit explains that products with LCA (ISO 14044) or EPD (ISO 14025) that have at least cradle-to-gate scope are valued as 1/4.

My doubt is: In this case, can the manufacturer do the product declaration WITHOUT external verification? Auto-declaration is enough?

Thanks.

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Keith Robertson President, Solterre Inc. Apr 05 2016 LEEDuser Member 784 Thumbs Up

By my understanding, a manufacturer's self-documentation is not enough. An example of an ISO 14044 EPD valued at 1/4 is the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute LCA of concrete. http://www.nrmca.org/sustainability/epdprogram/Downloads/NRMCA%20LCA%20P...

I hope that this helps.

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Alyssa Schear Saunders Construction
Mar 28 2016
LEEDuser Member
10 Thumbs Up

GreenWizard

Did GreenWizard cease to exist? I keep getting an error when I go to their webpage?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 28 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, Alyssa. The company went bankrupt near the end of 2015 and the website seemed to blink out of existence overnight, earlier this month. We're not sure if anyone is going to purchase the assets and attempt to reconstitute the database.

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Charline Seytier CEO, Co-owner. LEED AP BD+C ThemaVerde, France
Jan 13 2016
LEEDuser Member
1090 Thumbs Up

Furniture - scope of work for EQ credit impacts MR credits?

Dear All,

If we use the strategy F for the EQ credit Interior Lighting, furniture is ‘officially’ in LEED scope.
Does it mean that we have to include furniture in MR BPDO credits? Or furniture consistency is only within MR credits?

Thank you

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 13 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

I'm not sure it would be so much "have to" as "get to," at least for Option 1! (I don't think Option 2 is currently achievable, though I would love for someone to prove me wrong.)

I think the reference guide is not clear about being consistent across credit categories. However, to be safe (and because it's actually an advantage to have more products to choose from to hit your 20), I would include it.

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Melissa Kelly Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jan 13 2016 LEEDuser Expert 708 Thumbs Up

Hi Charline and Paula,

My understanding was that the scope of this credit for NC applies to "permanently installed" products only. Option F in the Interior Lighting credit lists movable partitions and work surfaces, both of which would typically not be considered permanently installed. The MR category introduction just refers to consistency within the cost calculations for MR credits, so it seems like on a really pedantic level there wouldn't be a conflict (but I might be reading too closely).

There's also an option to include furniture in the IEQ Low Emitting Materials credit, so if you do need to be consistent between the two categories it might have a big impact for a lot of projects! I think I would play it safe and make sure that I had the twenty products covered separately--what do you all think?

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 13 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

Quoting from the ref guide, including furniture is optional in MR:

The MR section addresses “permanently installed building products,” which as defined by LEED refers to products and materials that create the building or are attached to it. Examples include structure and enclosure elements, installed finishes, framing, interior walls, cabinets and casework, doors, and roofs. Most of these materials fall into Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) 2012 MasterFormat Divisions 3-10, 31, and 32. Some products addressed by MR credits fall outside these divisions.

Furniture is not required to be included in credit calculations. However, if furniture is included in MR credit calculations, all furniture must be included consistently in all cost-based credits.

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 13 2016 LEEDuser Moderator

It would be great to find out if you must be consistent between them! My guess is that they did not intend to make them consistent between MR and EQ because they were trying to set a low bar for achievement of HPD/EPD/CSR options.

I was addressing Charline's question under the assumption that furniture is already in the scope of the project. My view is that to get the 20 threshold, it's desirable to also put it into MR. As for going the other way...that is something people will want to consider carefully for sure, if you have to be consistent!

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Christine Richey
Oct 27 2015
Guest
34 Thumbs Up

Crade to Gate or Cradle to Grave

The company I work for is just in the beginning stages of creating a type III EPD for our engineered wood products. It appears as though LEED v4 only requires a cradle to gate LCA, is there an advantage (forward looking or present) to having the LCA cover cradle to grave?

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Craig Graber Sr. Environmental Designer, Atelier Ten Oct 28 2015 LEEDuser Member 82 Thumbs Up

Hi Christine, yes I believe there's an advantage to addressing the full product life cycle but from a practical standpoint my understanding is that manufacturers typically limit the LCA boundaries to cradle to gate (i.e., when the product leaves the factory) because there are so many variables beyond that point - shipping distance, installation, maintenance, repair or replacement, disposal or recycling, etc. Also for consistency the ISO standards that govern LCA's may dictate the system boundaries. You might want to check ISO 14040 and 14044. (caveat: I'm not an LCA expert)

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 28 2015 LEEDuser Moderator

Definitely agree with Craig! Manufacturers have a lot more control over their own processes. Understanding, predicting, and making assumptions about the use phase of building products is quite complicated. For a product like food, looking cradle to grave is much simpler: it gets shipped to specific stores, gets eaten, with the packaging thrown away or recycled within a fairly short time period. With a building product, the functional performance is much more complex. How do you model the environmental impact of the use phase of insulation? When there are thousands of different climates and you know nothing about the rest of the building, like what fuel the HVAC burns? It's quite difficult and involves a HUGE number of assumptions and back-of-the-envelope projections, and that's why most LCAs look cradle to gate. Hope this helps! (Also not an LCA expert!)

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Christine Richey Oct 29 2015 Guest 34 Thumbs Up

Thanks! That give me some food for thought.

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Craig Graber Sr. Environmental Designer Atelier Ten
Sep 22 2015
LEEDuser Member
82 Thumbs Up

ISO requirements for EPDs

Hi, this is Rebecca from Atelier Ten.

The LEED reference guide states that "Environmental Product Declarations which conform to ISO 14025, 14040, 14044, and EN 15804 or ISO 21930 and have at least a cradle to gate scope" are acceptable for documenting compliance.

I am interpreting this to mean that compliant EPDs must conform to ALL four standards:
-ISO 14025
-ISO 14040
-ISO 14044
-ISO 21930 or EN15804

Is this a correct interpretation of the reference guide, or is it acceptable for an EPD to conform to only a couple of the ISO standards listed above?

It's worth noting that the examples of acceptable EPD documentation shown in the reference guide do not mention all four standards.

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Paula Melton Senior Editor, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 21 2015 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, I believe that it needs to comply with them all, but some may actually be buried within the EPD rather than on the front cover. Note the 14025 is for the EPD format for any product; 14040 and 14044 are for the LCA; and 21930 and 15804 are specific to how to conduct EPDs for building products. Anyone else have a better answer?

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