Materials

Life-Cycle Assessment

Life-Cycle Assessment

Life-cycle assessment is a process or technique to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with a product over its entire life-span. In the case of a building, life-cycle assessment evaluates the impact of all building materials used in a building through all the stages of its life which include extraction of material, manufacture, transportation, use, and final disposal or end of life. Life–cycle assessment can be used to evaluate the overall environmental impact of the whole building or to quantify the impact of a single material in the building. LEED 2009 awarded points for building material reuse; however, LEED v4 awards points for whole building life-cycle assessment under the “Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction” credit in the Material and Resources category. There are two variants under life-cycle assessment: Cradle-to-grave (open loop assessment): The cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment approach includes assessment from the resource extraction phase to disposal phase Cradle-to-cradle (closed loop assessment): The […]

The Three Types of EPDs

The Three Types of EPDs

This post is a follow up to our earlier post on Environmental Product Declarations. Three types of Environmental Product Declarations can contribute towards Option 1 of the Environmental Product Declarations credit. A product with any of the following three documents below will help a project team achieve the 20+ product threshold needed for credit achievement. Product-Specific Declaration Industry-Wide (Generic) EPD Product-Specific Type III EPD These three types of EPDs are meant to accommodate the various stages of EPD development throughout the different industries. Based on the stage of development, each type of EPD is valued as a quarter of a product, half of a product or one whole product in terms of how much each document contributes towards LEED compliance. All EPDs must be publicly available, however the materials an EPD does or does not reference will help determine what kind of EPD it is. Once the project has reached the […]

Environmental Product Declarations: Standards & Process

Environmental Product Declarations: Standards & Process

The transition to LEED v4 brought many changes to the material credits, including a brand-new credit all about Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). An EPD is a verified and registered document that communicates the life-cycle assessment (LCA) of a product based on the product category rules (PCR). EPDs must also be consistent with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards such as ISO 14025, 14040, 14044, EN 15804 or ISO 21930. These standards address how to perform a LCA, what data to include and how to compile that data into an EPD. Below is a breakdown of all the necessary components that contribute towards creating an EPD. EPD Standards EPD Process As mentioned above, the PCR and ISO Standards are the building blocks to creating an EPD. The first step is finding or developing a PCR, which involves the EPD Program Operator. Common Program Operators include UL Environment/UL Spot, ICC-ES, ASTM, […]

Material Ingredients

Material Ingredients

This brand new credit requires products to have material ingredient transparency through demonstrating the chemical inventory of a product to at least 0.1% (1000 ppm). The most common report is a Health Product Declaration (HPD), which is a standardized format that gives full disclosure of known hazards, as well as a product’s content, emissions and other health information. Other popular reports include Cradle to Cradle, Declare Label and furniture may comply using the ANSI / BIFMA e3 certification program. Resources: HPD Library by Smithgroup JJR: http://hpd.smithgroupjjr.org/Pages/default.aspx Cradle to Cradle: http://www.c2ccertified.org/products/registry Declare: http://living-future.org/declare-products STRATEGIES: Early material vetting is required to ensure 20+ different products from 5+ different manufacturers is met Target Option 1 early for easy credit achievement – most of the required programs within this credit are well established HPD’s are published under Version 1.0 or 2.0 – both can be used to achieve this credit Keep an eye out […]

Sourcing of Raw Materials

Sourcing of Raw Materials

A new Option 1 focuses on manufacturers that have publicly released information on sustainable sourcing and extraction methods of their suppliers. Reporting can be self declared and receive 1/2 credit or 3rd party verified for full credit. A number of corporate sustainability report frameworks are acceptable including the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Report. While a more familiar feeling Option 2 focuses on things like FSC certification, material reuse, and recycled content that have now been combined under a 25% threshold by material cost. The two other contributing categories include bio-based products as verified by the Sustainable Agricultural Standard and products backed by manufacturer extended producer responsibility programs. Every product that can be sourced within 100 miles, which is the new regional materials boundary, doubles the cost contribution to the Option 2 cost calculation. So the combination of materials and regional cost doubling helps make the threshold accessible (though you generally […]

Environmental Product Declarations

Environmental Product Declarations

This brand new credit requires products to have an Environmental Product Declaration. Otherwise known as EPD’s, these documents are independently verified reports based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) that are conducted according to product category rules (PCR’s). Leading program operators such as UL Environment, Institut Bauen und Umwelt and NSF International ensure that EPD’s meet the various requirements outlined by the product category rules. Strategies: EPD’s are becoming common practice within the industry and should be relatively easy to collect and document Keep an eye out for EPD’s that conform to ISO 14025, 14040, 14044 and EN 15804 or ISO 21930, such as Industry-wide (generic) EPD’s and Product-specific Type III EPD’s for higher product value within the credit achievement calculation Early material vetting is required to ensure 20+ different products from 5+ different manufacturers is met Target Option 1 early for easy credit achievement, while Option 2 will lag because of […]