I thought it might be helpful to follow up on my last article and give you an overview of the potential changes in the material and resources section of LEED version four. You need to understand that these changes are not yet approved but they are scheduled to be voted on in the month of June 2013.
To start you need to know that almost all of these credits have changed so everything you have known will no longer apply. These changes to the materials and resources section of the LEED programs are so radical that many are concerned if the tools and resources will be available to meet the requirements. Due to these concerns, the U.S. Green Building Council has delayed launching the new systems from 2012 to 2013 and will allow the current program (LEED v3) to be used until 2015. However, beware that test projects for LEED v4 are currently being worked.
Almost immediately you will notice in the individual credits there are at least two options and within each of those options are several avenues to choose. For example let’s take a look at the proposed MRc3: Building product disclosure and optimization – Sourcing of raw materials. Under this credit there are two options with one of those options having five potential avenues which are as follows: bio based materials, new wood products – FSC or USGBC-approved equivalent, material reuse, recycled content and USGBC approved program.
The next thing you will notice is that you will need to learn new terminology such as: core based statistical area, cradle to gate, chemical abstract service registration number, environmental product declaration, and life cycle analysis. I have addressed environmental product declarations in a previous article but you need to start asking your material suppliers what they are doing regarding this matter.
One other credit that has stirred up quite a bit of controversy is MRc4 building products disclosure and optimization – material ingredients. This credit requires compliant products to have chemical inventoried to at least 0.1 percent (1000ppm). Additionally, in May 2012 the American Coatings Association expressed concern that the requirement for all interior architectural coatings, adhesives and sealants undergo emissions testing is not practically feasible in the marketplace and will limit access to compliant products.
In closing, one of my biggest concerns is whether or not we will know which option and which avenue the project will be pursuing at bid time. Although it has become substantially better, we still see many projects that want to pursue LEED requirements but are not specific about which credits that want to pursue.
This is a brief overview of what probably will be coming but for the specific language go to www.usgbc.org and go to the credit library. When you get there select the program and version you want.