Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED requirements are continually evolving. That evolution continues with LEED v4.1, the latest standard for green building design, construction, operations and performance. Although it defines standards for existing buildings, it’s also intended to become the framework for new construction.
As the U.S. Green Building Council explains, “LEED continues to strive to balance the tension between what the market can do with the urgency for the need for high performing buildings. Today’s version of LEED, LEED v4.1, raises the bar on building standards to address energy efficiency, water conservation, site selection, material selection, day lighting and waste reduction.”
If you have responsibility for sustainability or digital marketing, you need to know what the changes mean for building product manufacturers.
The LEED v4.1 Operations + Maintenance credit created changes to the Materials and Resources category for new construction. Every building product manufacturer needs to know how LEED v4.1 defines sustainable building products. This breakdown and the video below will help explain what’s changed.
LEED v4.1: Focus on Materials and Resources Credit – Purchasing
This directly impacts operations and maintenance projects for existing buildings and interior projects. The reorganized structure of this credit combines the Purchasing- Ongoing, Purchasing – Lamps, and Facility maintenance and credits. Key takeaways for building product manufacturers: Option 2 deals with building products, specifically the frameworks and product certifications manufacturers can achieve to help project teams earn the LEED v4.1 credit. It covers many areas, including:
- Recycled materials and products remain a priority. They still follow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Comprehensive Procurement Guideline (CPG) program guidelines.
- Third-party Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are important because they provide proof of impact reductions, especially reductions that fall below industry averages.
- The push toward circularity continues. In LEED v4.1, Cradle to cradle v3 or newer is required. Cradle to cradle is a scoring system of a brand’s commitment to circularity.
- Health Product Declarations (HPDs) must be third-party certified. HPD is a standardized way of classifying the materials used and the health effects of those materials.
- Use of Declare labels that indicate all ingredients in building materials have been evaluated and disclosed down to 1000 ppm. Declare labels use a color-coding system to note chemicals of concern.
- Meeting the ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard. This is a holistic way to communicate the environmental and social impact of furniture products.
- Product Lens certification, a chemical ingredient disclosure tool from UL that provides hazard information for consumers in context.
- GreenScreen v1.2 Benchmark: GreenScreen is a way to measure chemical hazards to human and environmental health, with benchmarks from low to high (1).
- Extended producer responsibility: This is about recognizing the full life cycle of a product. A manufacturer that participates in an extended producer responsibility program understands the company is responsible for not just the creation of the product, but also the recycling, return or final disposal of the product.
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood: This is about how forests are managed. It ensures that a product made from FSC wood comes from a forest that provides environmental, economic and social benefits.
- Bio-based products, or those made from living or formerly living things, must meet the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN)’s Sustainable Agriculture Standard. This means materials are harvested legally and responsibly. They must also be tested to earn verification.
- Zero Waste Manufacturing: This goes back to circularity and extended producer responsibility. Manufacturers achieve certification by minimizing waste at all steps of the manufacturing process, including obtaining materials and what happens with the product after it’s been used. Acceptable certifications include third-party verified TRUE (zero waste certification) and UL Standard 2799.
- Composite wood must meet California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements for formaldehyde, a strong-smelling gas that causes cancer. Formaldehyde is found in glues that hold together pressed-wood products.
- Products other than furniture must meet California Department of Public Health Standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds or VOCs.
- Furniture must have low emissions of VOCS, too. Testing follows ANSI/BIFMA Standard Method M7.1-2011, and must comply with ANSI/BIFMA e3-2011 Furniture Sustainability Standard 7.6.2.
- Products and electronics must meet Energy Star and EPEAT requirements. Energy Star is an energy-efficiency label for appliances. EPEAT focuses on the environmental attributes of computers and monitors.
For a complete look at all the updates, visit the the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v4.1 page.
Are you ready to supply your customers with the sustainability information they desire but don’t know where to begin? Schedule a consultation with one of our sustainability experts and learn how you can accomplish your sustainability goals and gain credibility through transparency.