One of the biggest problems I have with the LEEDv2.2 and LEEDv3.0 MR credits is with MR Credit 5: Regional Materials. This credit currently defines regional materials as materials that are both harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the project. The INTENT of the credit is to support the use of indigenous resources and reduce the environmental impacts resulting from transportation.
The following is an example to illustrate my concern:
Product A is harvested 500 miles east of the project and manufactured 500 miles west of the project. Therefore, the total traveling distance of the product from cradle to grave (from the harvest location, to the manufacturing location, and then finally to the project) is 1,500 miles. Product B is harvested 700 miles east of the project and manufactured 300 miles east of the project. Therefore, the total traveling distance of the product from cradle to grave is 1,000 miles.
This is the flaw within MR credit 5. Product A is transported 500 miles more than product B, yet product A contributes towards the credit because it was both harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the project, and product B does not. This contradicts the credit intent: To reduce environmental impacts resulting from transportation.
It is unfortunate that this flaw was overlooked in both LEEDv2.2 and LEEDv3.0; however, it looks like LEED 2012 will eliminate this flaw by eliminating the harvesting requirements all together, and making more stringent requirements for manufacturing and purchasing locations. The proposed modifications to the reference guide will be addressed in two new MR credits, which address both structural and non-structural building materials. The intent of these credits is (in part) to reduce environmental harm from materials manufacturing and transport. The portion of these credits titled “Support Local Economy,” requires that project teams use building materials and products that are manufactured and purchased within the Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) as defined by the US Office of Management and Budget statistical area that the project is located in. For projects located outside a prescribed CBSA, materials and products shall be purchased within the projects county.
While the proposed LEED 2012 requirements do eliminate local harvesting requirements, it is generally in the best interest of the product/material vendor to harvest/extract materials locally anyway. I believe the new MR credits address the more important issue of buying local materials (both manufactured and purchased locally), which will accurately address the intent of the credit by reducing transportation between purchasing & manufacturing locations and the project.
My father told me once, “There are two ways of doing things… Right, and Again.” I have found that statement to be true in so many aspects of life. As I work with LEED project teams to complete construction credits, I have found that the same way of thinking goes with contractor training. Either offer thorough training to the entire team in the beginning of construction, or you’ll most likely encounter hiccups along a very tedious construction documentation path, and be forced to repeat the training.
Contractor materials and construction waste training involves training the general contractor, and all subcontractors, to meet the requirements for several construction credits. Training is especially important for those who have never been involved with a LEED project – as much of the documentation they will be required to record and submit is unfamiliar.
This training should involve an overview of the requirements for the following credits:
• MRc2 – Construction Waste Management
• MRc3 – Materials Reuse
• MRc4 – Recycled Content
• MRc5 – Regional Materials
• MRc6 – Rapidly Renewable Materials
• MRc7 – Certified Wood
• IEQc4 – Low Emitting Materials
The Construction Waste Management Credit (MRc2) will require that the general contractor implement a construction waste plan (we’ll skip the details on creation of the plan), and collect waste pull tickets and hauler delivery tickets. It is important to inform the team that they must collect these tickets regularly, and ensure that required information is indicated on the tickets. As a LEED Consultant, it is important to review and verify that tickets with necessary information are being collected regularly, and keep the project team informed about the percentage of waste diverted as well as how far away they are from goal.
The Materials Credits (MRc3-7, IEQc4) will require that the general contractor, and all subcontractors, purchase materials and products that will help contribute to achievement of these credits whenever possible. Educating the team about how to look for and ask for local materials, materials with recycled content, rapidly renewable materials, and materials with certified wood, should be part of this training.
Correctly documenting the materials used on the project is one of the most important aspects of the training. To make it easier for everyone, providing the contractors with a Required LEED Material Data Sheet (RLMDS) will help make the documentation process smoother. Showing the contractor how to find this information on product information sheets (PIS) and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) will help them to find it for other materials. Indicating that this information can be written in a manufacturer letter (on manufacturer letterhead) if it cannot be found on the MSDS or PIS should be explained as well.
As a LEED consultant, regularly reviewing material submittals and RLMDSs throughout the project is in important part of the training as well. This will help to identify any mistakes or misunderstandings and if needed, repeat the training. Hopefully, if the training is implemented well and it the contractors understand what is required, this should be a painless process. It’s much easier to do it right the first time, than to have to repeat it again.
Tags: certified wood, Construction Waste Management, Danna Lopez, IEQc4, LEED, linkedin, low emitting materials, materials, materials reuse, MRc2, MRc3, MRc4, MRc5, MRc6, mrc7, rapidly renewable materials, recycled content, regional materials, RLMD, RLMDS, training, USGBC
Jun 16, 2011 Editorials
LEED boundary, site boundary, project boundary, property boundary. While each of these terms can refer to different types of boundaries, they are commonly used interchangeably and incorrectly among team members of a LEED project. This can obviously cause a lot of confusion and miscommunication, and ultimately lead to time consuming and expensive mistakes in a LEED project. For this reason, it is critical that the different types of boundaries are differentiated for project team members, and that the LEED boundary is clearly defined and established in the beginning of the project.
Organizing a meeting to discuss the LEED boundary and the credits it can affect is an important step in the LEED process. Having all team members present at the meeting is very important, as depending on any one team member or company to inform other project team members of the established LEED boundary is often not a good idea. Team members involved can include the architect, contractor, landscape architect, plumbing engineer, owner, and civil engineer. Several entities are involved because several LEED credits, each demanding the expertise of a different professional, are affected by the LEED boundary. These credits include (but are not limited to) the following:
• SSc2 – development density and community connectivity
• SSc5.1 – site development – protect or restore habitat
• SSc5.2 – site development – maximize open space
• SSc6.1 – stormwater design: quantity control
• SSc6.2 – stormwater design: quality control
• SSc7.1 – heat island effect: non roof
• SSc8 – light pollution reduction
• WEc1 – water efficient landscaping
During the meeting, CLEARLY define the LEED boundary on a project drawing. This could consist of something as simple as drawing a big bold red line on the drawing. Luckily, USGBC has made it easier to use a consistent boundary for all LEED credits in LEED version 3 with the introduction of PI forms. The PI forms require the assignee to upload a drawing with LEED boundary clearly defined, indicate the site area within the boundary (in square feet), and indicate the area of the footprint of the building (square feet). This information is then automatically exported to the affected credits. This helps to avoid having different LEED boundaries and/or site area values for different credits. It’s important to know your boundaries, know the difference between them will save money and time on your project.