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Group Approves New LEED v4 Guidance

Monday, November 16, 2015

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Ahead of its annual international conference and exposition, the U.S. Green Building Council has announced new guidance related to material ingredient disclosure requirements in the organization’s latest rating system, LEED v4.

The USGBC says its Supply Chain Optimization Working Group—made up of chemical suppliers, building product manufacturers, designers and others—has created “implementation procedures” to supplement Option 3 of the LEED v4 Materials & Resources credit (Building Disclosure and Optimization-Material Ingredients).

©iStock.com / SolishImages

The new guidance document is aimed at providing building product manufacturers with a step-by-step guide for meeting requirements in the LEED v4 Materials & Resources credit. LEED v4 officially launched in November 2013.

The announcement came eight days before the organization kicks off its Greenbuild 2015 conference Nov. 18 in Washington, D.C.

According to Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, the new framework has the “potential to ignite” transformation and “drive more transparency in product manufacturing.”

‘Step-by-Step Guide’

The new procedures, unanimously approved by the working group, are aimed at providing building product manufacturers with “a step-by-step guide” for meeting Option 3 requirements, USGBC said.

The group also developed a framework for a field test of the guidance. Manufacturers interested in testing the new Option 3 guidance are encouraged to register here.

The guidance may also help push the transition from certifying projects under LEED 2009 to using the v4 rating system.

In a survey conducted last year, the USGBC found that 61 percent of respondents were “unsure” or otherwise “not ready” to pursue projects under the new LEED v4 standard.

Thus, the organization extended the period for new project registrations under LEED 2009. It is now due to close at the end of October 2016.

Materials Ingredients Credit

While there are several existing ways project teams can achieve the Material Ingredients credit, the options currently available focus on finished products.

Green building
©iStock.com / grapestock

The announcement regarding the material ingredient disclosure requirements comes eight days before the Greenbuild conference and expo, set for Nov. 18-20 in Washington, D.C.

However, the new Option 3 guidance focuses on rewarding manufacturer achievements related to programs that drive the environmental, health and safety management of hazardous ingredients within the supply chain, according to the USGBC.

These opportunities are uniquely available to manufacturers; are designed to spur innovation; and can have substantial co-benefits and synergies across broad segments of manufacturing, the USGBC explains.

Facilitating Transparency

According to the USGBC, the working group has outlined minimum steps for product manufacturers to enable insight and transparency into their processes: 

  • Publicize guiding principles that include commitments to continual improvement, sharing of information, green chemistry and green engineering.  
  • Implement an ISO-14001-type environmental management system, with added elements for human health and safety that addresses all significant environmental and health impacts of their operations. 
  • Ensure that any direct suppliers of hazardous ingredients have corresponding environmental and health & safety management systems. 

Additionally, there are added incentives for companies that go above and beyond the minimum in situations where, for example, they apply the processes to their entire company or full supply chain, the USGBC notes.

project team
©iStock.com / Rawpixel Ltd.

While there are several existing ways project teams can achieve the Material Ingredients credit, the options currently available focus on finished products.

“The process outlined by the working group helps manufacturers distinguish their products by embedding health and safety-based programs within the fabric of their management and operations,” said Scot Horst, chief product officer, USGBC.

The Collaboration

Over 11 months, the working group held approximately 80 conference calls and several in-person meetings to arrive at the recommendations, the USGBC reported.

“I was inspired by the honest and sincere dialogue among a balance of committed stakeholders,” said working group member Richard Skorpenske, director of advocacy, Covestro LLC (formerly Bayer MaterialScience).

“This type of positive interaction raises understanding and trust and sets a huge example and precedent for the future,” he added.

Another working group member, David Green, manager, applied sustainability, BASF Admixture Systems, commented, “This work group exemplifies that an advancement in sustainability and healthy buildings is really best developed through the understanding and cooperation of all participants along the supply chain.”

   

Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Certifications and standards; Coatings manufacturers; Coatings raw materials manufacturers; Design; Green building; Green coatings; Health and safety; LEED; LEED v4; U.S. Green Building Council

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