Pilot-Credits PC43: Certified Products

  • Increasing use of products with verified health and environmental attributes

    Note: This pilot credit was closed for new registrations as of March 1, 2012.

    This credit is meant to apply the same level of consideration and evaluation of third-party certifications and labels available in the Green Building Sector to all products and materials. The purpose is to communicate the difference between their levels of sophistication in regard to more comprehensive perspectives of sustainability. We want LEED buildings to have more products that we know more about, and fewer products that we don’t know very much about. The credit rewards greater transparency and knowledge about product life-cycles.

    The Certified Products Pilot Credit is a comprehensive approach to valuing certifications according to depth, transparency, and rigor. The credit serves to communicate the present and future certifications that will be recognized in LEED.

    Credit Submittals

    General

    1. Register for Pilot Credit(s) here
    2. Register a username at LEEDuser.com, and participate in online forum
    3. Submit feedback survey; supply PDF of your survey/confirmation of completion with credit documentation

    Credit Specific

    Provide a list of products purchased contributing toward credit and indicate the applicable label/certification. List the cost and number of items purchased per product and calculate the weighted value according to the table above.

    Additional Questions

    • As a LEED project team, how difficult was it to locate the applicable pathway level of certifications/labels receiving credit?
    • How were you able to obtain certification information for products? How difficult was it?
    • What were the major barriers to achieving credit performance? Do you think the threshold is reasonable?
    • How was the total materials cost for non-structural products found? Is it a calculation that is tracked as part of regular construction process or was the number calculated only for the purposes of LEED?
    • What certifications/labels would you like USGBC to consider for inclusion in this pilot credit?  

    Pre-Approved Certifications and Labels

    The LEED Standard for Standards document is planned to be a tool for decision-making in evaluation of certifications, labels, and standards included in LEED. While the minimum criteria are being developed a list of pre-approved certifications is provided in the Appendix. If a certification does not appear on this list but should be considered for the Certified Products Pilot Credit please e-mail the suggestion to pilot@usgbc.org.

    Glossary

    • Environmental Label: environmental declaration claim which indicates the environmental aspects of a product or service (ISO 14020:2000)
    • Environmental Claim statement, symbol or graphic that indicates an environmental aspect of a product, a component or packaging (ISO 14021:1999)
    • Type I Environmental Label Program voluntary, multi-criteria based third party program that awards a license which authorizes the use of environmental labels on products indicating overall environmental preferability of a product within a particular product category based on life cycle considerations. (ISO 14024:1999)
    • Type II – voluntary, self declared environmental claim that is made without independent third-party certification, by manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers and anybody else likely to benefit from such a claim (ISO 14021:2001)
    • Type III Environmental Declaration environmental declaration providing quantified environmental data using predetermined parameters and, where relevant, additional environmental information (ISO 14025:2006) Type III declarations are voluntary, third party reviewed EPD based on a PCR document and program operator and are  LCA based
  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED Pilot Credit Library

    Pilot Credit 43: Certified Products

    Intent

    To increase the use of products and materials with life cycles, ingredients, and attributes understood and optimized to improve overall environmental, economic and social performance.

    Requirements

    Specify and install non-structural products and materials with attributes described below for a weighted value of at least 10% of the total value of all non-structural materials and products. ISO Type I and III Declarations qualify for this credit.

    Compliant certifications are those consistent with the draft LEED Standard for Standards. Wood products purchased for temporary use on the project (e.g. formwork, bracing, scaffolding, sidewalk protection, and guardrails) should not be included in credit calculations for the purposes of this pilot credit.


    Certification Pathway


    A. Single attribute certification

    Verification of a single attribute through third party

    B. Type I Environmental Label/Certification

    Voluntary, multi-attribute based third party certification to a standard or labeling program that has been developed with ISO 14024:1999 and life cycle considerations as its basis and providing an indication of overall environmental preferability of a product within a particular product category.

    C. Type I Environmental Label based on EPD

    Voluntary, multi-attribute based third party certification to a standard or labeling program that has been developed with ISO 14024:1999 as its basis and has been developed referencing ISO 14025:2006 compliant Environmental Product Declarations as the source of the life cycle considerations as well as providing indication of overall environmental preferability of
    a product within a particular product category.


    EPD Pathway


    A. Self-declared LCA

    Publically available Life Cycle AnalysisAn evaluation of the environmental effects of a product or activity holistically, by analyzing the entire life cycle of a particular material, process, product, technology, service, or activity. report following ISO 14044 requirements including an internal or external peer review report or statement.  

    B. Third-party Certified Type III EPD: Industry-Wide

    An ISO 14025 voluntary, third party reviewed LCA-based Environmental Product Declaration in conformance with a Product Category Rule document and program operator for industry wide declarations of a product category. 

    C. Third-party Certified Type III EPD: Product-Specific

    An ISO 14025 voluntary, third party reviewed LCA-based Environmental Product Declaration based on a Product Category Rule document and program operator for specific products.

    The product content that complies with one or more of the attributes described above contribute to credit achievement as follows:

    Certification pathways

    It is possible to combine the multipliers from each pathway; however multipliers are not additive within a pathway. For example, the combination of the Certification Pathway A + EDP Pathway B would result in a 150% multiplier, while Certification Pathway A+B is not
    eligible to be added.

Organizations

LEED Pilot Credit Library

The homepage for the LEED Pilot Credit Library. The LEED Pilot Credit Library is intended to facilitate the introduction of new prerequisites and credits to LEED. This process will allow USGBC to test and refine credits through LEED 2009 project evaluations before they are sent through the balloting process for introduction into LEED.

Articles

Foundations of LEED

Background for the LEED Pilot Credit Library is provided in this foundational document.

22 Comments

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Ben Tucker Vice President / Consulting & Strategic Planning / LEED AP+ Chapman Construction/Design
May 04 2012
LEEDuser Member
167 Thumbs Up

Combining Pathways

It is my understanding from the credit language that you can combine multipliers from the Certification pathway and the EPD pathway which is what we would like to do for our project. Has anyone had any experience with this?

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Melissa Vernon Director of Sustainable Strategy, Interface May 07 2012 LEEDuser Member 559 Thumbs Up

Pilot Credit 43 was closed on March 1st with the launch of the 3rd comment period of LEED 2012. The EPD pathway is now available in Pilot Credit 61: Material Disclosure and Assessment.
http://www.leeduser.com/credit/Pilot-Credits/PC61

Regarding 43, it is my understanding that you can combine attributes from both pathways for a single product, e.g. Interface carpet has NSF 140 - a Type I Environmental Label, and a 3rd Party Certified Type III EPD Product Specific. So the value of carpet contributes 100% from the certification pathway and 200% for the EPD pathway for a total of 300% of the dollar value contributing to the credit calculation.

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Jason Gasperich Director of Sustainability Connor Sport Court, Intl.
Jan 13 2012
Guest
147 Thumbs Up

Pilot Credit 43... How many projects have attemped this credit?

In looking at all of the different certifications available in the marketplace and trying to determine which of these are right for our company and products, I have begun to wonder if there are any projects that have been successful in acheiving this credit. I could see where a product manufacturer might be hesitant to certify their products if a demand for the certified products is not there. Does anyone have any input on this?

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Josh Jacobs Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager, UL Environment Jan 17 2012 LEEDuser Expert 5342 Thumbs Up

Jason,

While I can't speak to whether a building has successfuly received credit for this PC or not, I can tell you that when taken in total, there are thousands and thousands of products certified/verified to comply with the above listed programs. Obviously on this message board we are focused on LEED, but the above programs are called out in numerous building specifications/standards/codes/programs throughout North America. Whether they are a good fit for your company/product is up to your assessment, but I do know that many purchasers/specifiers utilize them in purchasing decisions.

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Ashley Nedza Project Designer, LEED AP BD+C, Baskervill Apr 09 2014 LEEDuser Member 7 Thumbs Up

We are currently attempting this credit and have completed the documentation for the construction submittal . We do not yet know if we've received this pilot credit or not, but per our findings, the majority of our materials selected in design met the minimum requirements for this point. Remember you include all non-structural products in divisions 3-10. It seems like the manufacturers are really on-board with this credit so it wasn't too difficult to find the certifications. This credit really is a team effort between the design and construction teams.

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Chloe Bendistis Sustainability Project Manager The Sheward Partnership, LLC
Nov 30 2011
Guest
184 Thumbs Up

Definition of Non-Structural Products and Materials

Hello,
I cannot find a definition for "non-structural products and materials" and I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction. I assume that the definition includes all materials in CSI MasterFormat 1995 Divisions 2-10, but excludes all structural components such as structural concrete and steel. However, the "Pre-Approved Certifications and Labels" table above addresses chillers, CFLs, and plumbing fixtures, so are MEP items also included? Thank you!

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Bruce Maine Sustainable Design Consultant
Oct 07 2011
Guest
867 Thumbs Up

Pilot Credit 43 ISO 14044

The USDA Forest Products Lab generated an EPD in conformance with ISO 14044. Would this generic, non-product specific documentation qualify for Pilot Credit 43 or LEED 2012?

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Jeff Jones Owner Accountable Recycling Options
Jul 12 2011
Guest
280 Thumbs Up

Pilot LEED Credit for verification of recycling

I am considering submitting a Pilot LEED Credit for verifying (or certifying) the actual recycling of building waste materials, whether it is from construction or an EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. operation. I am curious what LEEDusers think about developing an independent third-party verification system for the landfill diversion documentation that is currently being used to obtain LEED credits? Our company does this for no fee in the Mid-Atlantic region. I recently attended a USGBC event, which a premiere developer exclaimed that 96% of a former large commercial building was "recycled." I happen to know where most of this material went, and I can safely say that was not the case. The Construction Materials Recycling Association, is trying to weed out some of the worst offenders, but their CORE proposal stops at the outbound gates of a recycling facility, and does not follow the materials to the next point(s) in the chain of becoming a recycled product. As a consulting firm, we follow the chain of material recycling or disposal to obtain real recycling rates for our clients. We also believe those recycling facilities that are real deals, should be rewarded for their efforts. Also, obtaining real recycling rates (many are in the 20-50% range), gives the industry much more room to improve for decades to come. Rates of 96% leave little room to improve the industry's performance. I do applaud CMRA for its CORE proposal as a first step.

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Jeff Jones Owner, Accountable Recycling Options Jul 25 2011 Guest 280 Thumbs Up

I would like to stand CORRected, much thanks to the CMRA. Here is what I understand, and anyone from CMRA is willing to add on if they would like:

The CORR proposal is in late development stages, and is intended to improve accountability for facilities which are reporting recycling rates. Part of the goal is to improve the accuracy of the reported rates. One of the methods to do this is follow the flow of materials going to a recycling facility, and then following the complete logistical chain of the materials until they are in fact recycled. The most important part, which I stand corrected from my statement above, is the CORR proposal will go beyond the gates of the "recycling" facility to check the next point in the chain to verify the material is in fact being recycled (or not). As I stated above, I applaud CMRA for this proposal, and I stand corrected on my statement above.

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Jason Grant Principal Jason Grant Consulting
Jun 21 2011
LEEDuser Expert
1205 Thumbs Up

Relevant white paper

For those who are interested, here is a white paper that explores the inter-relationship between leadership performance standards and disclosure tools in some depth:

http://www.jasongrantconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Leadershi...

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Jason Grant Principal Jason Grant Consulting
Jun 21 2011
LEEDuser Expert
1205 Thumbs Up

Performance vs. transparency

In response to criticism of its new Certified Products pilot credit, USGBC appears to be sending the message that all pilot credits are experiments that will be modified before they are balloted, so people like me should provide constructive criticism instead of freaking out. This is an attempt to do just that.

The critical flaw that I see in the current credit structure is that it combines performance-based standards ("Certification Declarations") with disclosure tools ("LCA-Based Declarations"). These are fundamentally distinct and should be treated as complements rather than alternatives. Performance-based standards have minimum thresholds that must be exceeded to achieve certification, but they generally lack transparency. Disclosure tools assess and disclose environmental impacts, but they don't set performance standards of any kind.

Where high-bar performance standards for building materials exist, then there should be strong incentives to use products certified to these standards. Where such standards don't exist, LEED should drive their creation. Credits designed to reward the adoption and continuous progress of LCA tools should not undermine or dilute leadership standards. When it comes to wood, the answer is both 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. and LCA/EPDs, not either/or.

The current Certified Products credit is a step in the wrong direction. It inexplicably reduces forest certification to "single attribute certification" and dilutes it relative to other performance standards and EPDs. It makes FSC equivalent to industry-based forest certification systems with demonstrably lower standards. Given the history of the certified woodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System. credit revision, this is indefensible, even in a pilot credit. The camel's nose is now under the tent, and no amount of hand-waving on the part of USGBC can disguise or negate this fact. The environmental community, committed sustainable design professionals, and others concerned about keeping the "L" in LEED are now on full alert - and are anxiously awaiting the release of the next iteration of LEED 2012.

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 21 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Just wanted to summarize here, for others, an email exchange I had with Jason before he posted this here:

I noted that this pilot credit doesn't exactly create an either/or situation between certification and disclosure, because it allows users to add the contribution from both sides. 

Jason agreed with that, but pointed out that the disclosure side seems to be weighted more heavily. Not to mention, of course, the concern about giving all forest certifications at the same weighting.

What do others think? 

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser BuildingGreen, Inc.
Jun 16 2011
LEEDuser Moderator

credit promotes transparency (not performance)

My colleague at Environmental Building News, Nadav Malin, just posted a great article about this pilot credit: LEED Pilot Credit to Promote Product Transparency—Not Performance. Here are some highlights from the article:

In its newly released Pilot Credit 43, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has created a new incentive for product manufacturers to obtain third-party certification of their environmental claims, and to release environmental footprint data.

Existing LEED credits, most famously the certified woodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System. credit, have focused on the environmental attributes behind certifications, leading USGBC and its members and stakeholders to choose favored programs, notably the Forest Stewardship Council (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.). In contrast, “This credit is about identifying certification types, nothing about our preferences about them,” Whit Faulconer, director of LEED, explained to EBN, noting that as long as the information is public or certified even products with poor environmental footprints can qualify. That’s why, according to Faulconer, there is only one point associated with the credit: product performance is rewarded elsewhere in LEED.

The difference between transparency and performance is not just academic: in releasing this credit, USGBC also published a preliminary list of approved product standards and programs that can be used in claiming this credit. [LEEDuser readers can read that list above.] The list is evolving rapidly, according to Falconer. For example, product emissions certifications such as Greenguard are not included in the initial version because of how the credit evolved, but will be added very shortly. The list includes forest certification programs such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, that have been highly controversial in relation to LEED’s certified wood credit—something that is likely to provoke environmental advocates.

Different types of certifications and declarations are rewarded differently [see table in credit language above]. In the certifications pathway single-attribute claims such as recycled content earn 50 cents on the dollar, while multi-attribute certifications are worth the full dollar, and those based on standards supported by LCAs and full EPDs get double value. No such standards meeting this last requirement exist today, according to Faulconer, because there is not yet enough consistent LCA data to create the benchmark for those standards; this option is included as a indicator of where USGBC wants the market to go.

In the EPD pathway, an LCA that meets specific requirements but is not third-party validated is valued at half, an LCA-based EPD that applies to an entire industry gets full value, and a product-specific LCA-based EPD earns double credit. There are not many product-specific EPDs available right now, but this credit may help change that. “We’re looking to go to market quickly with our EPD program, so those in the industry can see what’s going on with LCA and data,” said Nelson of UL Environment. In the meantime Melissa Vernon, director of sustainable strategies at InterfaceFLOR confirmed that their EPDs will already qualify at the 200% level. Also, the credit allows for double-counting across the two pathways, and most InterfaceFLOR products are also certified under a multi-attribute standard (NSF-140), so they’ll actually count at 300%.

With this pilot credit USGBC is attempting to release an incentive tied to process (independent validation and transparency), not results, but it’s hard to keep those separate. It won’t be easy to keep people from looking at the certifications as establishing LEED’s position on desirable performance.

What do you think about Pilot Credit 43. Will your project pursue it? Is it a good step for LEED to take? Comment below.

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Keith Lindemulder Environmental Business Development- LEED AP BD&C, Nucor Jun 17 2011 LEEDuser Member 1361 Thumbs Up

Why only non-structural materials?

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 17 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

The LCA pilot credit is, I'm told, being recast to address only structural materials.

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Ricardo Sobral Technical Services Director, Lend Lease (AR) S.A. Jun 17 2011 Guest 642 Thumbs Up

Do you know if ISO-based standards are going to be included?

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Alexa Stone ecoPreserve: Building Sustainability Jun 17 2011 LEEDuser Member 2209 Thumbs Up

@Keith Lindemulder and Nadav Malin
I wish they would allow non structural materials like LED lighting. There are some small, local, domestic, manufacturers that are doing some great things as far as recycle/reuse/LCA and cannot contribute.

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Keith Lindemulder Environmental Business Development- LEED AP BD&C, Nucor Jun 17 2011 LEEDuser Member 1361 Thumbs Up

@Nadav.
I understand the idea behind the LCA being available for structural materials. However, with MR-7 (certifiied wood) available for structural products AND this new pilot credit (with expanded certification agencies inclulded) AND the LCA potential for wood structural products, this seems to be a windfall for the lumber industry! Recall, under the proposed LEED 2012 changes, things like recycled content (for structural) becomes a prerequisite. I'm open to other viewpoints but looks anti-competitive to me!

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 21 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Hi Keith,

If all the things you list were actual credits in the rating system I might agree with you, but since 2 out of the 3 are pilot credits, it really doesn't mean that much. Most projects already earn all five innovation points, so having more pilot credits available for certain things doesn't mean more points are available to them. These are really just explorations into new ways of dealing with certain topics.

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Keith Lindemulder Environmental Business Development- LEED AP BD&C, Nucor Jun 21 2011 LEEDuser Member 1361 Thumbs Up

Nadav,

I concur that having more pilot credits available to use as IOD points is a good thing. I also agree that the very nature of the pilot credits will allow them to evolve over time. That said, they ARE available now (at a minimum as a pilot credit) and my comments are exactly what they are - 'comments expressing my view on a new pilot credit'. Therefore, with due respect, I believe it does "mean that much".

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Bruce Maine Sustainable Design Consultant Jun 22 2011 Guest 867 Thumbs Up

Nadav suggested that "the LCA pilot credit is, I'm told, being recast to address only structural materials." Having participated in a LCA study addressing concrete and steel it seems extremely difficult to define multiple scenarios. Beams, columns, slabs, foundations, decking etc. etc. I had assumed that Pilot Credit 1 would have addressed this. At the end of the day it all boiled down to transportation........

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Reinhard Oppl Director VOC Testing, Eurofins Product Testing A/S Jun 29 2011 Guest 1860 Thumbs Up

I think this approach is interesting for motivating the market to use with such programs. But I see almost only US based programs on the preliminary list. Shouldn't we go for adding European and other programs as well, such as EMICODE, Blue Angel etc. Otherwise LEED projects in Europe will find it difficult to identify certified products.

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