LEED v4 Resources
• USGBC website
• USGBC webinars
• Environmental Product Declarations
• Health Product Declarations
• Cradle to Cradle certification
The most significant change to the MR
category is that it has evolved from a series
of credits focused on the single attributes
of products to one that embraces life-cycle thinking at both the product and
whole-building levels. To increase transparency in the marketplace, three new credits
involve the disclosure and optimization of
building products. The new credits encourage project teams to choose products with
readily available life-cycle information and
with environmentally, economically, and
socially preferable life-cycle impacts.
SO WHAT IS DIFFERENT?
As a result of the restructuring of the MR
category, product manufacturers will need
to become familiar with new terminology related to building product disclosure.
LEED now rewards the use of products with
Environmental Product Declarations
(EPDs), a standardized way of providing
information about a product’s ingredients
and environmental impacts throughout the
life of the product. To create an EPD for a
product, the manufacturer must use universally accepted Product Category Rules
(PCRs) to produce a Life Cycle Assessment
(LCA). A Life Cycle Assessment is a method
used to assess environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life.
A number of manufacturers of carpets,
ceiling and suspension systems, and countertops have proactively developed EPDs
for their products. Much like when the
first version of LEED arrived on the scene,
product manufacturers will need to educate
themselves on these new requirements or
risk being surpassed by the early adopters.
Designers and retailers will need to educate
themselves as well, not only for their LEED
projects, but also for an understanding of
LEED also now rewards project teams
that use products that:
• Are from manufacturers who have
publicly released a report from their raw
material suppliers, and/or
• Meet the responsible extraction criteria listed in the LEED guidelines for various
types of products, including those that are
bio-based, wood, reused, or contain recycled content.
Reporting must include information
regarding human and ecological impacts,
specifically extraction and land-use practices and other sourcing-related impacts.
Additional recognition is provided for products that limit or eliminate the extraction
of new resources or that use best extraction
In a new Material Ingredient Reporting
credit, project teams are given credit for
selecting products that:
• Have a chemical ingredients inventory
produced using an accepted methodology
• Are verified to minimize the use and
generation of harmful substances.
Health Product Declarations (HPDs)
and Cradle to Cradle certification figure
prominently in this credit. A relatively
new industry initiative, an HPD is stan-
dard format for providing information
about product content and potential health
impacts. It is intended to provide a human
health context for information disclosed
in an EPD. A pilot program of the Health
Product Declaration Collaborative in mid-
2012 involved 30 leading manufacturers,
including suppliers of flooring, furniture,
and decorative surfaces.
The essence of Cradle to Cradle is the
importance of a closed loop, focusing on
products that use healthy and sustainable materials that can be disassembled
and recycled at the end of their life cycle.
Products are evaluated in five categories:
Material Health, Material Reutilization,
Renewable Energy and Carbon Management, Water Stewardship, and Social Fairness. A product can achieve one of five
levels of certification: Basic, Bronze, Silver,
Gold, or Platinum.
WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN TO YOU?
Aside from learning a few new acronyms,
manufacturers will need to gather new data
while retail specifiers will start asking new
questions when sourcing. If the information you need isn’t available, find out when
it will be available. Spend some time educating yourself on the new requirements,
conducting a little more research, and pushing further when answers aren’t readily
available. You’ll become re-energized about
being part of a movement that is once again
leading our industry toward a healthier
future, one green store at a time.
Dee Spiro, LEED AP
BD+C, is sustainability
manager of Boston-based
Bergmeyer Associates Inc.
Rachel J. Zsembery,
AIA, LEED AP BD+C,
is senior associate of
Bergmeyer Associates Inc.