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LEED v2009
Commercial Interiors
Materials and Resources
Recycled Content

LEED CREDIT

CI-2009 MRc4: Recycled Content 1-2 points

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LEED-AP BD+C

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Credit language

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Intent

To increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials.

Requirements

Use materials, including furniture and furnishings, with recycled content1 such that the sum of postconsumer2 recycled content plus 1/2 of the preconsumer3 content constitutes at least 10% or 20%, based on cost, of the total value of the materials in the project. The minimum percentage materials recycled for each point threshold is as follows:

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Frequently asked questions

Is the default average recycled content value of 25% for steel still allowed?

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Can site materials, such as soil, be included in the MR credit calculations?

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Are there recycled content claims that I should be wary of?

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Can I count FSC-certified MDF toward both MRc4 and MRc7?

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If I have one cut sheet that meets the LEED 2009 requirement to upload 20% of cut sheets by cost, for this credit, is that acceptable?

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I have recycled content information for a product, but it doesn’t specify whether it is pre-consumer or post-consumer. What should I do?

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The recycled content percentage on the product data sheet is given as a range. What should I do?

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The manufacturer can't give me product-specific recycled content data, but they say that they fall within the national industry average. Can I use that?

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Addenda

10/1/2013Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In Table 4, delete the first row entirely reading "Total Construction Cost" and in the second row change "Default Total Materials Cost (45% of total Construction Cost)" to "Total Materials Cost".
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/14/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Replace the paragraph with the text "Excluded from the credit calculation is the salvaged and refurbished material value of reused materials as defined in MR Credit 3.1, Materials Reuse and MRc3.2, Materials reuse - Furniture and Furnishings."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
1/28/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

When removing petroleum contaminated soils there are two options for disposal. One would be to haul the contaminated soils to a hazardous materials landfill. The other option is to incinerate the soil to burn off the petroleum and remediate the soil into a environmentally safe product. In the case of Biomed project we elected to have the contaminated soils recycled (incinerated). During the site cleanup WT removed 787.4 TONS of contaminated soils from the project site. We are currently applying for the "Brownfield Credit" which all of this documentation will be sent to document the cleanup. Also LEED specifically says that land clearing waste (soils) cannot be included in the waste management plan, but for this case we feel that because of the soils were recycled from a hazardous material that we should be able to apply the tonnage to our waste management calculations. Can we use this toward this credit too?

Ruling:

Incinerating soil to remove contamination can not be considered recycling and apply to MRc2. It is not clear that incinerating contaminated soil is environmentally preferable to landfilling. Both hazardous waste and soil must be excluded from calculations for MRc2, and incineration is not an allowable diversion method, per the LEED-NC v2.2 Reference Guide. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
3/10/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Intent: "Increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials." The project targeting LEED-CS certification is located in Ontario, Canada. The LEED-CS Reference Guide requires that "SCMs as a percentage of total cementitious materials" and the "Dollar value of all cementitious materials" are provided by the manufacturer. The Redimix Concrete Association of Ontario states that concrete mixes are confidential, and as such will not divest the "Dollar value of all cementitious materials" as required by the LEED-CS Reference Guide. (For LEED Canada-NC projects, it is standard practice in Ontario for concrete suppliers to provide the overall recycled content of concrete in a signed letter.) To accommodate this situation, we propose the following documentation approach to the LEED-CS version of the SCM calculation. Following these steps will mathematically yield the same result as the procedure outlined in the LEED-CS Reference Guide: 1) The supplier determines the recycled content value due to SCMs for the entire project by multiplying the "SCMs as a percentage of total cementitious materials" and the "Dollar value of all cementitious materials". 2) The supplier provides a signed letter indicating the recycled content value due to SCMs for the entire project. 3) When completing the letter template, instead of providing the value of all cementitious materials and the recycled content, we provide the recycled content value due to SCMs, and indicate that the recycled content is 100% (pre-consumer). Please confirm if this approach is acceptable.

Ruling:

The project team has requested an alternative compliance path for determining the value of Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCM) due to confidentiality issues. If SCMs are used as part of the percentage recycled content, a letter signed by the concrete supplier/manufacturer or professional engineer must be submitted that certifies the reduction in Portland cement from BASE MIX to ACTUAL SCM MIX (as a percentage of weight). This can be provided as a total reduction in Portland cement for all the concrete used on the project. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2013
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

For applicable MR credits, is it acceptable to use new or updated versions of CSI Master Format editions in lieu of versions referenced in reference guides or submittal requirements?

Ruling:

The applicant is requesting a ruling on whether or not the project Can use CSI Master Format 2010 Edition, Divisions: 03-10, 31 (Section 31.60.00 Foundations), and 32 (sections 32.10.00 Paving, 32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting), in lieu of CSI Master Format 2004 Edition. Yes, it is acceptable to use new or updated versions of CSI Master Format editions in lieu of versions referenced in reference guides or submittal requirements. Ensure that the Master format divisions used correlate to the referenced the CSI Master Format version in the LEED reference guide for that rating system.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/1/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The proposed project site is located on a military base that has potentially unexploded ordnance on-site.Protection from potential detonation during construction is required by the federal government to shield pedestrians and existing housing across the street from the project site. As a part of the project, a detonation barrier is to be constructed prior to start of excavation. This barrier can be built using various material but must have substantial foundations and structural strength to withstand large explosion forces. After construction is completed, the detonation barriers would be deconstructed to allow access to the site.The project team is proposing to incorporate salvaged local material into the design of these barrier walls. May the salvaged material qualify for MR credit 5 for regional material, MR credit 4 for recycled content?

Ruling:

The project team has inquired whether materials used for a temporary (during construction) detonation barrier can be included within the project material cost accounting since it is mandated to be built, particularly as it relates to recycled content, local material content, and construction waste management. No, the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building and Construction 2009 Edition Materials and Resources credits 3, 4, 5,and 6 "Include only materials permanently installed in the project" temporarily installed materials are considered equipment and cannot be included in MR Credits 3-6.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
8/2/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our project features a custom Glazed Aluminum Curtain Wall skin. The curtain wall contractor will obtain custom-made glass, aluminum, and steel components from its suppliers. In order to facilitate material transport and installation, the contractor has elected to construct unitized curtain wall sections of various sizes and shapes in the shop before transporting the sections to the site and mounting them on the building. Because the curtain wall sections are composed of multiple materials, the sections could be considered individual "assemblies" according to the Reference Guide. If an assembly calculation is used, the relative weights of the components in each section would have to be used to determine the recycled value of each individual section. We submit that it is appropriate to calculate the recycled value of the curtain wall using the original components, rather than performing an assembly calculation for the individual unitized sections. The custom-made glass, aluminum, and steel components used in the construction of the sections can be accounted for pre-assembly. The contractor is able to identify the cost and recycled content information for each type of material. Since the recycled content value of the curtain wall\'s component materials can be accurately tracked using our proposed approach, the intent of the credit is maintained, as preference can be given to materials containing recycled content. Please confirm if this approach is acceptable.

Ruling:

The project is inquiring if it is acceptable to calculate recycled content based on actual components of an assembly rather than the weight of the assembly. This approach is acceptable as long as the project has access to individual cost and recycled content information for each of the assembled product\'s components. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/29/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Methodology #1 Each co-mingled load of construction debris is weighted at the MRF and visually inspected then the percentage of each recyclable material is tallied. The recyclable materials are then processed for sale on the secondary market. The tallied data is documented in a running monthly report created by either the MRF or the Hauler and is submitted to the contractor for the project. Methodology #2 The MRF\'s self-reported recycling percentage rate (for the entire facility) is applied toward specific LEED projects\' delivered co-mingled tonnage brought to that facility. We are aware of the CIR ruling dated 12.2.05 stating that a project can use this methodology if a facility has government oversight over a facility\'s recycling rate calculations. In our case we have government oversight of the MRFs overall recovery rates but the reporting methodology required by the oversight agency doesn\'t account for C&D debris - asphalt, gypsum wallboard, and concrete tonnage which is processed through those facilities. LEED NC v2.2 accepts and credits concrete towards MRc2 but this disconnect between how the oversight agency tracks materials versus what is actually processed in a facility doesn\'t allow for accurate reporting and subsequent award of LEED credit in our local market. Please let us know if one or both methods are acceptable for tracking and documenting co-mingled boxes for MRc2.

Ruling:

This CIR asks if the USGBC can advise if one or both of two listed methods for documenting the recycled content of commingled waste are acceptable. In Methodology #1, if the facility is giving project specific recycling rates, they need to document actual percentage of material recycled based on actual weight or volume of material. Visual inspection is not an acceptable method. For "Methodology #2," the facility must be able to document that the "method of recording and calculating the recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government authority" in accordance with CIR dated 12/2/2005. If the facility\'s reported recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government, then it can be used toward achievement of the credit. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2012
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

We are performing a comparative analysis for fiberglass insulation regarding MR Credit 4: Recycled Content. Depending on the manufacturer, recycled content is reported either a plant- and product-specific average, or a country-wide average (various plants and products). We have contacted a manufacturer using North American average recycled content claims, and they state that the recycled content across their facilities and product lines can range from 0-70%. Are country-wide recycled content averages acceptable as documentation for MR Credit 4: Recycled Content? If country-wide averages are not acceptable, what level of specificity is acceptable?

Ruling:

***Update 1/1/13: The original ruling is no longer valid and has been superseded by the language below. The project team is requesting clarification regarding the documentation of recycled content for Materials and Resources Credit 4: Recycled Content. Recycled content claims must be specific to the installed product. The installed product refers to a unique product distinguished by color, type, and/or location of manufacture as identified to the consumer by SKU or other means. It is acceptable to use an average recycled content value stated by a single manufacturer for a single product. Recycled content claims for custom products are required to be product specific; industry wide or national averages are not acceptable for the purposes of LEED documentation. Note, for the purposes of LEED, steel has a previously established industry average of 25% post-consumer recycled content which does not require documentation on a per product basis. In all cases, if recycled content is given as a range then the lowest recycled-content percentage will be used for LEED documentation. Applicable Internationally.Original Ruling: The project team is inquiring about the acceptability of using a country wide average value for recycled content of a product. An average recycled-content claim, especially one that incorporates multiple product lines or places of manufacture, does not meet the credit intent and is not acceptable for LEED documentation. The product that is known to have zero recycled-content may be unduly benefiting from the recycled-content of other products/manufacturing facilities. Recycled-content claims must be specific to the installed product (and therefore place of manufacture), regional or national claims do not meet credit requirements. If product-specific recycled content is given as a range, then the lowest possible actual recycled-content number must be declared for LEED documentation. GBCI recognizes that this presents a challenge to design and construction teams as it is often not possible to specify or even identify-- the location of manufacture for a number of materials. It is hoped that manufacturers will respond to market demand for useful, credible product information. Note that this ruling does not apply to steel products, which have an established average recycled content of 25% and do not require documentation on a per product basis when that value is used in the LEED calculator. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
12/2/2005
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our project is located in Los Angeles, California. Construction waste is sorted at the jobsite into various boxes i.e. wood, metal, concrete/inert material, drywall/gypsum, co-mingled recycled waste (small wood scraps, wire cuttings, conduit, metal stud cut offs, etc.), and general trash boxes. A contracted hauler regularly collects these boxes. General trash is taken directly to the landfill where it is weighed and then buried. Separated recycling materials are taken to various certified City of Los Angeles recycling facilities where they are weighed and processed. Co-mingled recycled waste is taken to special certified recycling facilities where the co-mingled mix is weighed and then the recyclable materials are removed from the mix and sent to appropriate facilities for processing. This process does not allow for each recyclable material type from the co-mingled load to be weighed separately. The City of Los Angeles\' Department of Sanitation audits all of the co-mingled sorting facilities on a regular basis and establishes a yearly average recycling percentage rate for "each" facility. The certification recycling percentage rates vary. When calculating the construction waste recycling percentage for MRc2.1, will the USGBC accept the City of Los Angeles\' annual recycling percentage rate for the "specific" facility that accepts this LEED project\'s co-mingled component of the project\'s waste stream?

Ruling:

The average annual recycling rate for the specific sorting facility is acceptable as long as the facility\'s method of recording and calculating the recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government authority (as is the case for your project). Applicable Internationally.UPDATE 10/1/12: Made applicable to LEED EB 2008 and 2009.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/3/2006
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

As stated in CIR ruling dated 8/29/2003, "Mechanical (mainly HVAC ductwork and equipment) and electrical system components (smaller infrastructure-type items such as wires, cables, junction boxes) are to be excluded from the LEED calculations. If a project team chooses to include additional items as part of the base material cost, such as elevators, appliances, hot tubs, or other semi-mechanical/electrical components, it should do so for all relevant material credits, which include MR Credits 3, 4, 5 and 6." Does this exclusion include thermal insulation for mechanical and plumbing systems, or is mechanical and plumbing insulation considered a "semi-mechanical component"? Furthermore, does this exclusion apply to self-insulated HVAC ducts, including fiber glass duct board ducts and flexible insulated ducts? Recycled content is currently available for these materials and excluding them would not provide incentive to manufacturers for increasing their use of recycled content, or motivate projects to incorporate recycled-content insulations. These products are lightweight and of low relative cost, and would not unduly affect other recycled content decisions.

Ruling:

Note that the referenced CIR is from NCv2.1, and your CIR was submitted for v2.2. Version 2.2 credit requirements state that mechanical, electrical and plumbing components shall not be included. The Reference Guide provides additional detail, although it does not clearly address your question. The phrase "Mechanical, electrical and plumbing components" refers to all items specified within CSI MasterFormat 1995 Divisions 15 and 16. Aside from the rationale stated in the Reference Guide (re: high-priced assemblies/equipment that would skew calculations), it is hoped that in general this approach provides a fairly level playing field between LEED projects and avoids a project\'s inquiries about recycled content in products for which data is difficult or impossible to gather, and where recycled content is not generally going to be influenced by LEED. Admittedly, this is a broad-brush solution that may miss some incentive opportunities, but the scope of materials for this and similar MR credits requires consideration of both technical and administrative issues for LEED. These credits were originally designed around Divisions 2 through 10: products considered the most practical to influence, the most practical upon which to create credit calculations, and which represent the bulk of a building\'s mass. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
8/29/2003
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

One of the most significant materials we have specified for this project is a wall system that is comprised of recycled polystyrene embedded in a Portland cement matrix cast into panels to provide both structural support, and a high insulation value. This system (Perform Wall) has an average weight per panel (10"x15"x10\') of 156 lbs. Because polystyrene is so much lighter than cement, the polystyrene within the panel only weighs 37lbs, but comprises 85% of the panel by volume. We have this information documented from the manufacturer. To calculate the percentage of recycled material based on the criteria of weight only, the polystyrene would only be 24 % of the total weight, while the manufacturer states that the polystyrene is 85% of the product volume. We believe we have followed the design intent by specifying a product with a high percentage of recycled content, and would like to be granted an exception to the calculation method and be permitted to utilize the 85% for submittal purposes. We will include the manufacturer\'s information in the submittal.

Ruling:

The LEED Version 2.0 Reference Guide (page 194) provides guidelines for calculating the recycle content of materials. The method described above uses Equation 3 (Assembly Recycled Content) methodology for the concrete-based wall system. Given this is based on weight, and since the polystyrene is a lighter material than the concrete, the equation does unfortunately reduce the assembly\'s overall recycled content value.An alternative calculation methodology is to apply Equation 1 (Recycled Content Value). This would require itemizing the materials/components that make up the wall system and determining both their individual costs as well as the percentage of post-consumer and post-industrial recycle content. Calculations done this way may result in a higher recycle content value in comparison to using the other method. The manufacturer of this system should be able to provide individual costs and the respective recycled content for all the materials. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/29/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our LEED NC v2.2 registered project includes pursuit of MRc2 - Construction Waste Management credits and we would like to know if our strategy for compliance is acceptable. We have been actively sorting and recycling wood, concrete/masonry, metals, cardboard, paper and plastic in a region of the country which has severely limited available CDL recycling facilities, due primarily to the negative impacts of hurricane Katrina in 2005. To date, approximately 16,000CY of excavated soil from our project site has been removed and donated to a non-profit, private school to assist in preparing their site on campus facility expansions. The school site is located approximately 500 feet from our project site. If the excavated soil were to have been hauled off to a landfill, the travel distance would have been greater than 25 miles one-way. It is projected that an additional 1,000CY of excavated soil from the project site will also be made available to the school as our project progresses. We are aware the LEED NC v2.2 MRc2 - Construction Waste Management credit requirements indicate excavated soil does not contribute to this credit, however the excavated soil was donated to a neighboring school which the credit requirements make special note that ".diversion may include donation of materials to charitable organizations.". We believe we are meeting the intent of the credit by diverting construction and demolition debris from disposal in area landfills and in addition, we are significantly reducing environmental impact from transportation vehicle emissions and providing a non-profit organization with materials to provide site expansion.

Ruling:

While your strategy for handling excavated soil provides environmental benefit in reduced transportation of materials, it does not justify inclusion of excavated soil in MRc2. It is understood that many projects face challenges related to local market conditions for recycling. However, the weight of the soil would overwhelm the total amount of construction and demolition waste and enable credit achievement without addressing those impacts. As a result, the donated soil cannot be included in MRc2. You may want to consider evaluating the environmental benefits of the soil donation in the context of overall project emissions during construction and applying for an Innovation credit. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
6/8/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

During construction while excavating for placement of compacted sub-grade and asphalt, limestone was found on our project site. Due to its location and interference with the parking surface elevation, the rock was removed and donated to the local county which was used for permanent erosion control on a different project site. Although the reference guide disregards excavated soil and land clearing debris from this credit, we propose that the limestone as a product differs from the "land clearing debris" because it is a material which can be recycled into another product that otherwise would have had to been extracted and manufactured. We believe that this attribute of the limestone allows it to count as a "reusable material". We also believe that the donation and redirection of the limestone as a reusable material for a different site, not only meets the intent of this credit by diverting waste, but is also an acceptable manner (as defined by the reference guide) by which to qualify for the credit as it is "redirecting reusable materials to appropriate sites". In keeping with the intent of this credit, can we include this rock in our MRc2 Construction Waste Management Calculations?

Ruling:

**Update October 1, 2013: This ruling is no longer valid. Please see LI 10062 for more information and an update ruling.
The project is proposing to include excavated limestone as diverted construction waste because it was given to another project to be used as permanent erosion control on another project. The LEED Reference Guide explicitly defines rock as land clearing debris and thus it can not be included in credit calculations. Previous CIR rulings dated 9/9/2008 and 3/4/2004 state the same conclusion.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/9/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

In the waste diversion process many questions have come up regarding utilizing Waste-to-Energy as a landfill diverstion strategy. Can Waste-to-Energy be utilized as a landfill diversion strategy if; this effort ran parallel to sorting recyclable and reusable materials, and the power plant proposed has approved EPA pollution control devices. Alternatively, can paying additional cost to transport non recyclable trash to a Waste-to Energy power plant to be incinerated and converted into electrical energy count as diverted waste?

Ruling:

Only wood derived fuel can contribute to MRc2 in this manner. Incineration cannot be used as an alternative method for diverting waste from the landfill for purposes of credit achievement. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
6/19/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our major renovation project is a high-rise building in Germany. One of the recycling methods we apply is underground waste disposal, also called mine backfill (Bergversatz), a method which, in Germany, is governed by statutory provisions. Since with our project, a relatively large amount of material (gypsum waste, sheet glass, gypsum fiberboard panels, etc.) is disposed of in this manner, we would like to make sure that this way of recycling is acceptable in line with the Credit Intent. Underground waste disposal or mine backfill means that exploited deep mines are backfilled with liquid or solid mining or non-mining materials. Depending on their nature, the filling materials are stored in barrels or packed in big bags and their storage is controlled. The backfill may also consist of bulk material. Under the German Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act (Kreislaufwirtschafts- und Abfallgesetz) and, in addition, under the German ordinance on the underground disposal of waste (Bergversatzverordnung) it is specified that if this disposal serves an economic purpose, e.g. if it prevents a mine from collapsing by filling it air-free, it is not considered as waste disposal but rather as waste recycling. Furthermore, for every 500 metric tons, analyses must be performed and submitted which confirm that the underground waste material is recognized as safe. As under the applicable German laws and regulations, underground waste disposal is recognized as recycling, we would like to know whether this recycling method complies with the requirements of the LEED Credit Intent and whether LEED also recognizes underground waste disposal as a means of recycling?

Ruling:

The applicant has requested acceptance of mine backfilling as an equivalent means of accomplishing construction waste management. Based on the description of the process, it does not appear that this practice will meet the intent of the credit. In addition to encouraging the diversion of debris from landfills, the credit intent includes an expectation that projects "redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process." While it is recognized that using clean waste material from construction rather than other potential materials to back fill deep mines may be environmentally preferable, this practice is not aligned with the intent of the credit. The waste is in essence going to a "landfill" and the specific materials noted (gypsum and glass) are known to be potential feed stocks for manufacturing processes. By using them as fill material, the proposed practice is burying potentially valuable raw materials. Underground waste disposal is not a recognized means of recycling for this credit. Applicable Internationally; Germany.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/2/2014
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Please provide clarification on documentation of recycled content claims and FSC certified claims for woods products such as particleboard, MDF and other composites.

Ruling:

The project team in inquiring how to document products with valid recycled content claims as well as FSC certification. Products identified as FSC Mix Credit or FSC Mix [NN] % also have pre- or post-consumer recycled content, the latter of which is commonly reported separately by the product manufacturer. In these instances the project team must choose whether to classify the product (or some fraction of the assembly) as FSC certified or as recycled content; the material cannot contribute to both claims simultaneously. Specifically claims may be made under either MRc4: Recycled Content, or MRc7: Certified Wood. Note that for recycled content claims the material must meet the definition of ISO 14021 as required by LEED.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/1/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The proposed project site is located on a military base that has potentially unexploded ordnance on-site.Protection from potential detonation during construction is required by the federal government to shield pedestrians and existing housing across the street from the project site. As a part of the project, a detonation barrier is to be constructed prior to start of excavation. This barrier can be built using various material but must have substantial foundations and structural strength to withstand large explosion forces. After construction is completed, the detonation barriers would be deconstructed to allow access to the site.The project team is proposing to incorporate salvaged local material into the design of these barrier walls. May the salvaged material qualify for MR credit 2 Construction Waste Managementif recycled after deconstruction?

Ruling:

The project team has inquired whether materials used for a temporary (during construction) detonation barrier can be included within the construction waste management materials diverted since it is mandated to be built. If the temporary detonation barrier is recycled or salvaged after deconstruction, it meets the intent of MR Credit 2 (diversion from landfill and incineration) and may contribute towards construction waste management.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
9/5/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The project team is seeking clarification for our intended use of on-site excavated rock. During excavation and site work at the project, a large amount of limestone rock was encountered. Instead of disposing of the rock off-site, we are using it on-site. We are breaking up the on-site rock into 12 - 18" pieces for use as rip-rap. This eliminates the need to use virgin quarry rock and reduces the amount of the volume of waste sent to the landfill. We would like to apply the market value of the rip-rap to MR credit 4.1, Recycled Content (pre-consumer). We will use the following formula for our calculations: # of Tons of excavated rock used on site * the local quarry price per ton * 1/2 = $ applied to MRc4.1 Since this approach will use what is typically a waste stream and use it to reduce the demand for off-site materials, it seems to meet the overall intent of the LEED process. If the rock cannot be applied to MRc4.1, is there any other credit that it could be applied to?

Ruling:

The project team is requesting clarification regarding on how to correctly account for rock extracted and used on site. It is good building practice to reuse materials on site and it is standard construction practice to reuse bedrock on the site (crushed or not). The reuse of these materials on site cannot be applied to MRc4 (Recycled Content), however, the value of the rip-rap may be applied to the calculations for MRc5 (Regional Materials), as calculated by the following equation: # of Tons of excavated rock used on site * the local quarry price per ton undelivered = $ applied to MRc5. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
8/9/2006
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our project is a 185,000 SF lab. The lab is served by a Satellite Energy Plant (SEP) of 6,265 SF, being constructed concurrently, but on a separate site. We intend to apply for certification for only the lab building and not the SEP. Both buildings are currently under construction and the contractor is tracking the materials and providing us submittals for the MR Credits. However the contractor is not able to separate the materials\' submittals (e.g. steel) for the two buildings, without considering it a change-order or requiring a re-bid from the sub-contractors. We foresee the SEP materials to be a very small portion of the materials used. We have detailed cost estimates based on construction documents that give us a split between the two buildings. We would like to use these cost estimates to calculate and thus split the relevant material quantities in the contractor\'s submittals so that we can count the materials appropriately for the lab building in our certification documentation. Is this approach acceptable to you? If not, can you suggest another approach, that would be acceptable given our circumstances, that would avoid a re-bid or change order?

Ruling:

It is acceptable to use estimates when breaking down the materials costs for the MR credits, thus your proposed approach is a good one. As a reminder, it is important to use a consistent project definition across all LEED credits, so be sure to make the same divisions in the SS, WE, EA, and IEQ credits. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/9/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Can waste diversion rates be documented as an average recycling rate for an integrated waste management operation serving a market area as opposed to the average for a single facility?Does the USGBC offer a prescriptive method for facilities to back-up commingle recycling percentage claims? Is visual inspection of project loads an acceptable method for documenting recycling rates? When calculating recycling percentages the USGBC does not seem to have a limit on how much ADC can be claimed as a "recyclable" commodity.

Ruling:

A system recycling rate is acceptable as long, as the recycling rate utilized is regulated by a local or state government authority as a closed system, in compliance with the LEED-NC 2.1 CIR dated 12/2/2005 (#3000).For project using a project specific diversion rate, visual inspection is not an acceptable method of inspection for purposes of documenting percentage of commingled waste diverted from landfill. Currently ADC is an acceptable method for compliance with this credit. ADC meets the intent of MRc2. At this time there is no limit as to how much ADC can be used to fulfill credit compliance. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/17/2002
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This project has contracted with the construction waste hauling company Richard S. Burns and Company, Inc. (here after known as RSBCO) who will take all construction waste from our project and recycle about 90% of it through a patented process that produce several products. These recycled construction waste products are unconventional and one of the products is sold for use in landfill operations. We would like the USGBC to confirm that these products made from construction waste meet the intent of the MR Credit 2 - the diversion of construction waste into the commercial products stream - thereby qualifying our project for MR credits 2.1 and 2.2. RSBCO has developed and patented a specific process of receiving, sorting, grinding, and blending construction waste materials to recover recyclable materials and produce desired products from the rest of the waste. The process begins with screening out fine particles for later use. The material then moves through a positive sorting process where individually recyclable materials like ferrous and non-ferrous metals, cardboard, masonry, and wood are recovered. RSBCO sells ferrous and non-ferrous metals and cardboard to secondary processing markets. On-site, RSBCO processes masonry and wood into a clean fill product used around pipes, in drainage trenches, or as substrate for road construction. We think the recovered recyclable materials and the clean fill product both clearly meet the intent of the MR credit 2.The process continues with negatively sorting the remaining construction material to remove undesirable materials such as plastic trash bags and clothing. This undesirable material represents less than 10% of total materials received and is continuously scrutinized for further recycling opportunities. The remaining material is then ground, screened again for metal recovery, and sized. The ground and crushed aggregate from all stages of the process are then blended in specific proportion to create a product called Barrier

Ruling:

This approach seems to meet the intent of MR Credits 2.1 and 2.2. Keep track of recycling rates according to credit requirements. The only clarification necessary is whether the Barrier product described is in fact used as a cover material with value to the landfill. Because the credit language requires the project to demonstrate recycling, salvage, and landfill rates, you will need to provide some documentation that the Barrier product is USED BY the landfill as described, and not just DISCARDED AT the landfill.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/6/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This CIR asks for further clarification of the ruling dated 3/23/2004 that states "Incineration cannot be used as an alternative method for diverting waste from the landfill for purposes of credit achievement." Our recycling facility processes construction and demolition (C&D) debris into numerous commodities. One of these products is Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) which is sold to local paper mills to replace virgin wood, natural gas and oil. While the product is burned, it is not incinerated. The USEPA has recently provided a category for such materials and defined them as Biofuel: A gaseous, liquid, or solid fuel that contains an energy content derived from a biological source. WDF has an energy content value of 8,500 Btus per pound of fuel and is derived from the collection, sorting and processing of C&D waste. The LEED Reference Guide defines recycling as "the collection, reprocessing, marketing and use of materials that are diverted or recovered from the solid waste stream." Before accepting co-mingled C&D debris for processing, the recycler we use demands that we provide Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (A.H.E.R.A.) documentation proving the C&D loads have been inspected and abated. In addition, they maintain on-site testing equipment to detect lead & asbestos (such as XRF for lead and a polarized light microscope for asbestos). C&D debris that passes these tests is then accepted and sent through an elaborate sorting system where commodities ranging from LDPE plastic to Steel are separated and sold. Wood represents the largest volume of material they accept and is processed into 4-different commodities including WDF, Colorized Mulch, Pulp Furnish and Alternate Daily Cover. Facilities that purchase WDF have boiler permits that meet the requirements of 40 CFR Part 63 of the USEPA National Emission Standards (http://www.epa.gov/epacfr40/chapt-I.info/). Prior to the development of recycled WDF, most C&D wood waste was land filled and lumber mill saw dust was used as WDF. As the market for recycled WDF has developed, its use has resulted in lumber mill wood waste residuals traditionally consumed as fuel to be up-cycled into particle board, pulp and MDF, which is currently the highest use of this resource. . When C&D wood waste is land filled, the anaerobic conditions present in a landfill result in wood waste generating large quantities of methane gas. Methane gas has a global warming potential that is 23 times more hazardous than CO2 (http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid1215.php, November 08, 2006), where as consuming WDF in a modern industrial boiler is considered carbon neutral. The CIR ruling dated 3/23/2004 specifically denies diversion credit for C&D debris delivered to a mass-burn incinerator that uses excess heat to generate electricity, (Waste to Energy, WTE). The CIR recognized that the primary function of a WTE incinerator is to reduce the volume of waste placed in a landfill. The incinerator accepts everything that could be delivered to the landfill and they charge as much or more than is typically charged for landfill disposal. In contrast, our permitted recycling facility creates a recycled content commodity that is sold for profit. They manufacture WDF from a portion of the C&D debris they receive and they sell the WDF to paper mills that operate USEPA permitted industrial boilers to produce the heat energy needed to manufacture and recycle paper. Use of this product as a commodity is consistent with the LEED Reference Guides definition of recycling and with CIR dated 5/17/2004 for the production of Alternative Daily Cover. Audit documentation, such as receipts of sale of WDF to USEPA permitted facilities, can provide evidence of material diversion as WDF. For these reasons, we believe producing Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) meets the intent of the credit and seek to gain a ruling as such from the USGBC materials TAG.

Ruling:

Based on the process description provided, Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) meets the intent of this credit. The WDF process described differs from incineration processes that are not allowed in this credit because the recycling facility provides a value-added process; it is a service that exists to sort and distribute materials appropriate to the highest end uses possible. In addition, the revenue generated by the WDF commodity helps to make this business successful and thus facilitates recycling of wood to other end uses as well as recycling of other materials. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
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Intent

To increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials.

Requirements

Use materials, including furniture and furnishings, with recycled content1 such that the sum of postconsumer2 recycled content plus 1/2 of the preconsumer3 content constitutes at least 10% or 20%, based on cost, of the total value of the materials in the project. The minimum percentage materials recycled for each point threshold is as follows:

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10/1/2013Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In Table 4, delete the first row entirely reading "Total Construction Cost" and in the second row change "Default Total Materials Cost (45% of total Construction Cost)" to "Total Materials Cost".
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/14/2010Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Replace the paragraph with the text "Excluded from the credit calculation is the salvaged and refurbished material value of reused materials as defined in MR Credit 3.1, Materials Reuse and MRc3.2, Materials reuse - Furniture and Furnishings."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
1/28/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

When removing petroleum contaminated soils there are two options for disposal. One would be to haul the contaminated soils to a hazardous materials landfill. The other option is to incinerate the soil to burn off the petroleum and remediate the soil into a environmentally safe product. In the case of Biomed project we elected to have the contaminated soils recycled (incinerated). During the site cleanup WT removed 787.4 TONS of contaminated soils from the project site. We are currently applying for the "Brownfield Credit" which all of this documentation will be sent to document the cleanup. Also LEED specifically says that land clearing waste (soils) cannot be included in the waste management plan, but for this case we feel that because of the soils were recycled from a hazardous material that we should be able to apply the tonnage to our waste management calculations. Can we use this toward this credit too?

Ruling:

Incinerating soil to remove contamination can not be considered recycling and apply to MRc2. It is not clear that incinerating contaminated soil is environmentally preferable to landfilling. Both hazardous waste and soil must be excluded from calculations for MRc2, and incineration is not an allowable diversion method, per the LEED-NC v2.2 Reference Guide. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
3/10/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Intent: "Increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials." The project targeting LEED-CS certification is located in Ontario, Canada. The LEED-CS Reference Guide requires that "SCMs as a percentage of total cementitious materials" and the "Dollar value of all cementitious materials" are provided by the manufacturer. The Redimix Concrete Association of Ontario states that concrete mixes are confidential, and as such will not divest the "Dollar value of all cementitious materials" as required by the LEED-CS Reference Guide. (For LEED Canada-NC projects, it is standard practice in Ontario for concrete suppliers to provide the overall recycled content of concrete in a signed letter.) To accommodate this situation, we propose the following documentation approach to the LEED-CS version of the SCM calculation. Following these steps will mathematically yield the same result as the procedure outlined in the LEED-CS Reference Guide: 1) The supplier determines the recycled content value due to SCMs for the entire project by multiplying the "SCMs as a percentage of total cementitious materials" and the "Dollar value of all cementitious materials". 2) The supplier provides a signed letter indicating the recycled content value due to SCMs for the entire project. 3) When completing the letter template, instead of providing the value of all cementitious materials and the recycled content, we provide the recycled content value due to SCMs, and indicate that the recycled content is 100% (pre-consumer). Please confirm if this approach is acceptable.

Ruling:

The project team has requested an alternative compliance path for determining the value of Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCM) due to confidentiality issues. If SCMs are used as part of the percentage recycled content, a letter signed by the concrete supplier/manufacturer or professional engineer must be submitted that certifies the reduction in Portland cement from BASE MIX to ACTUAL SCM MIX (as a percentage of weight). This can be provided as a total reduction in Portland cement for all the concrete used on the project. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2013
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

For applicable MR credits, is it acceptable to use new or updated versions of CSI Master Format editions in lieu of versions referenced in reference guides or submittal requirements?

Ruling:

The applicant is requesting a ruling on whether or not the project Can use CSI Master Format 2010 Edition, Divisions: 03-10, 31 (Section 31.60.00 Foundations), and 32 (sections 32.10.00 Paving, 32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting), in lieu of CSI Master Format 2004 Edition. Yes, it is acceptable to use new or updated versions of CSI Master Format editions in lieu of versions referenced in reference guides or submittal requirements. Ensure that the Master format divisions used correlate to the referenced the CSI Master Format version in the LEED reference guide for that rating system.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/1/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The proposed project site is located on a military base that has potentially unexploded ordnance on-site.Protection from potential detonation during construction is required by the federal government to shield pedestrians and existing housing across the street from the project site. As a part of the project, a detonation barrier is to be constructed prior to start of excavation. This barrier can be built using various material but must have substantial foundations and structural strength to withstand large explosion forces. After construction is completed, the detonation barriers would be deconstructed to allow access to the site.The project team is proposing to incorporate salvaged local material into the design of these barrier walls. May the salvaged material qualify for MR credit 5 for regional material, MR credit 4 for recycled content?

Ruling:

The project team has inquired whether materials used for a temporary (during construction) detonation barrier can be included within the project material cost accounting since it is mandated to be built, particularly as it relates to recycled content, local material content, and construction waste management. No, the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building and Construction 2009 Edition Materials and Resources credits 3, 4, 5,and 6 "Include only materials permanently installed in the project" temporarily installed materials are considered equipment and cannot be included in MR Credits 3-6.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
8/2/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our project features a custom Glazed Aluminum Curtain Wall skin. The curtain wall contractor will obtain custom-made glass, aluminum, and steel components from its suppliers. In order to facilitate material transport and installation, the contractor has elected to construct unitized curtain wall sections of various sizes and shapes in the shop before transporting the sections to the site and mounting them on the building. Because the curtain wall sections are composed of multiple materials, the sections could be considered individual "assemblies" according to the Reference Guide. If an assembly calculation is used, the relative weights of the components in each section would have to be used to determine the recycled value of each individual section. We submit that it is appropriate to calculate the recycled value of the curtain wall using the original components, rather than performing an assembly calculation for the individual unitized sections. The custom-made glass, aluminum, and steel components used in the construction of the sections can be accounted for pre-assembly. The contractor is able to identify the cost and recycled content information for each type of material. Since the recycled content value of the curtain wall\'s component materials can be accurately tracked using our proposed approach, the intent of the credit is maintained, as preference can be given to materials containing recycled content. Please confirm if this approach is acceptable.

Ruling:

The project is inquiring if it is acceptable to calculate recycled content based on actual components of an assembly rather than the weight of the assembly. This approach is acceptable as long as the project has access to individual cost and recycled content information for each of the assembled product\'s components. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/29/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Methodology #1 Each co-mingled load of construction debris is weighted at the MRF and visually inspected then the percentage of each recyclable material is tallied. The recyclable materials are then processed for sale on the secondary market. The tallied data is documented in a running monthly report created by either the MRF or the Hauler and is submitted to the contractor for the project. Methodology #2 The MRF\'s self-reported recycling percentage rate (for the entire facility) is applied toward specific LEED projects\' delivered co-mingled tonnage brought to that facility. We are aware of the CIR ruling dated 12.2.05 stating that a project can use this methodology if a facility has government oversight over a facility\'s recycling rate calculations. In our case we have government oversight of the MRFs overall recovery rates but the reporting methodology required by the oversight agency doesn\'t account for C&D debris - asphalt, gypsum wallboard, and concrete tonnage which is processed through those facilities. LEED NC v2.2 accepts and credits concrete towards MRc2 but this disconnect between how the oversight agency tracks materials versus what is actually processed in a facility doesn\'t allow for accurate reporting and subsequent award of LEED credit in our local market. Please let us know if one or both methods are acceptable for tracking and documenting co-mingled boxes for MRc2.

Ruling:

This CIR asks if the USGBC can advise if one or both of two listed methods for documenting the recycled content of commingled waste are acceptable. In Methodology #1, if the facility is giving project specific recycling rates, they need to document actual percentage of material recycled based on actual weight or volume of material. Visual inspection is not an acceptable method. For "Methodology #2," the facility must be able to document that the "method of recording and calculating the recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government authority" in accordance with CIR dated 12/2/2005. If the facility\'s reported recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government, then it can be used toward achievement of the credit. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2012
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

We are performing a comparative analysis for fiberglass insulation regarding MR Credit 4: Recycled Content. Depending on the manufacturer, recycled content is reported either a plant- and product-specific average, or a country-wide average (various plants and products). We have contacted a manufacturer using North American average recycled content claims, and they state that the recycled content across their facilities and product lines can range from 0-70%. Are country-wide recycled content averages acceptable as documentation for MR Credit 4: Recycled Content? If country-wide averages are not acceptable, what level of specificity is acceptable?

Ruling:

***Update 1/1/13: The original ruling is no longer valid and has been superseded by the language below. The project team is requesting clarification regarding the documentation of recycled content for Materials and Resources Credit 4: Recycled Content. Recycled content claims must be specific to the installed product. The installed product refers to a unique product distinguished by color, type, and/or location of manufacture as identified to the consumer by SKU or other means. It is acceptable to use an average recycled content value stated by a single manufacturer for a single product. Recycled content claims for custom products are required to be product specific; industry wide or national averages are not acceptable for the purposes of LEED documentation. Note, for the purposes of LEED, steel has a previously established industry average of 25% post-consumer recycled content which does not require documentation on a per product basis. In all cases, if recycled content is given as a range then the lowest recycled-content percentage will be used for LEED documentation. Applicable Internationally.Original Ruling: The project team is inquiring about the acceptability of using a country wide average value for recycled content of a product. An average recycled-content claim, especially one that incorporates multiple product lines or places of manufacture, does not meet the credit intent and is not acceptable for LEED documentation. The product that is known to have zero recycled-content may be unduly benefiting from the recycled-content of other products/manufacturing facilities. Recycled-content claims must be specific to the installed product (and therefore place of manufacture), regional or national claims do not meet credit requirements. If product-specific recycled content is given as a range, then the lowest possible actual recycled-content number must be declared for LEED documentation. GBCI recognizes that this presents a challenge to design and construction teams as it is often not possible to specify or even identify-- the location of manufacture for a number of materials. It is hoped that manufacturers will respond to market demand for useful, credible product information. Note that this ruling does not apply to steel products, which have an established average recycled content of 25% and do not require documentation on a per product basis when that value is used in the LEED calculator. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
12/2/2005
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our project is located in Los Angeles, California. Construction waste is sorted at the jobsite into various boxes i.e. wood, metal, concrete/inert material, drywall/gypsum, co-mingled recycled waste (small wood scraps, wire cuttings, conduit, metal stud cut offs, etc.), and general trash boxes. A contracted hauler regularly collects these boxes. General trash is taken directly to the landfill where it is weighed and then buried. Separated recycling materials are taken to various certified City of Los Angeles recycling facilities where they are weighed and processed. Co-mingled recycled waste is taken to special certified recycling facilities where the co-mingled mix is weighed and then the recyclable materials are removed from the mix and sent to appropriate facilities for processing. This process does not allow for each recyclable material type from the co-mingled load to be weighed separately. The City of Los Angeles\' Department of Sanitation audits all of the co-mingled sorting facilities on a regular basis and establishes a yearly average recycling percentage rate for "each" facility. The certification recycling percentage rates vary. When calculating the construction waste recycling percentage for MRc2.1, will the USGBC accept the City of Los Angeles\' annual recycling percentage rate for the "specific" facility that accepts this LEED project\'s co-mingled component of the project\'s waste stream?

Ruling:

The average annual recycling rate for the specific sorting facility is acceptable as long as the facility\'s method of recording and calculating the recycling rate is regulated by a local or state government authority (as is the case for your project). Applicable Internationally.UPDATE 10/1/12: Made applicable to LEED EB 2008 and 2009.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/3/2006
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

As stated in CIR ruling dated 8/29/2003, "Mechanical (mainly HVAC ductwork and equipment) and electrical system components (smaller infrastructure-type items such as wires, cables, junction boxes) are to be excluded from the LEED calculations. If a project team chooses to include additional items as part of the base material cost, such as elevators, appliances, hot tubs, or other semi-mechanical/electrical components, it should do so for all relevant material credits, which include MR Credits 3, 4, 5 and 6." Does this exclusion include thermal insulation for mechanical and plumbing systems, or is mechanical and plumbing insulation considered a "semi-mechanical component"? Furthermore, does this exclusion apply to self-insulated HVAC ducts, including fiber glass duct board ducts and flexible insulated ducts? Recycled content is currently available for these materials and excluding them would not provide incentive to manufacturers for increasing their use of recycled content, or motivate projects to incorporate recycled-content insulations. These products are lightweight and of low relative cost, and would not unduly affect other recycled content decisions.

Ruling:

Note that the referenced CIR is from NCv2.1, and your CIR was submitted for v2.2. Version 2.2 credit requirements state that mechanical, electrical and plumbing components shall not be included. The Reference Guide provides additional detail, although it does not clearly address your question. The phrase "Mechanical, electrical and plumbing components" refers to all items specified within CSI MasterFormat 1995 Divisions 15 and 16. Aside from the rationale stated in the Reference Guide (re: high-priced assemblies/equipment that would skew calculations), it is hoped that in general this approach provides a fairly level playing field between LEED projects and avoids a project\'s inquiries about recycled content in products for which data is difficult or impossible to gather, and where recycled content is not generally going to be influenced by LEED. Admittedly, this is a broad-brush solution that may miss some incentive opportunities, but the scope of materials for this and similar MR credits requires consideration of both technical and administrative issues for LEED. These credits were originally designed around Divisions 2 through 10: products considered the most practical to influence, the most practical upon which to create credit calculations, and which represent the bulk of a building\'s mass. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
8/29/2003
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

One of the most significant materials we have specified for this project is a wall system that is comprised of recycled polystyrene embedded in a Portland cement matrix cast into panels to provide both structural support, and a high insulation value. This system (Perform Wall) has an average weight per panel (10"x15"x10\') of 156 lbs. Because polystyrene is so much lighter than cement, the polystyrene within the panel only weighs 37lbs, but comprises 85% of the panel by volume. We have this information documented from the manufacturer. To calculate the percentage of recycled material based on the criteria of weight only, the polystyrene would only be 24 % of the total weight, while the manufacturer states that the polystyrene is 85% of the product volume. We believe we have followed the design intent by specifying a product with a high percentage of recycled content, and would like to be granted an exception to the calculation method and be permitted to utilize the 85% for submittal purposes. We will include the manufacturer\'s information in the submittal.

Ruling:

The LEED Version 2.0 Reference Guide (page 194) provides guidelines for calculating the recycle content of materials. The method described above uses Equation 3 (Assembly Recycled Content) methodology for the concrete-based wall system. Given this is based on weight, and since the polystyrene is a lighter material than the concrete, the equation does unfortunately reduce the assembly\'s overall recycled content value.An alternative calculation methodology is to apply Equation 1 (Recycled Content Value). This would require itemizing the materials/components that make up the wall system and determining both their individual costs as well as the percentage of post-consumer and post-industrial recycle content. Calculations done this way may result in a higher recycle content value in comparison to using the other method. The manufacturer of this system should be able to provide individual costs and the respective recycled content for all the materials. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/29/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our LEED NC v2.2 registered project includes pursuit of MRc2 - Construction Waste Management credits and we would like to know if our strategy for compliance is acceptable. We have been actively sorting and recycling wood, concrete/masonry, metals, cardboard, paper and plastic in a region of the country which has severely limited available CDL recycling facilities, due primarily to the negative impacts of hurricane Katrina in 2005. To date, approximately 16,000CY of excavated soil from our project site has been removed and donated to a non-profit, private school to assist in preparing their site on campus facility expansions. The school site is located approximately 500 feet from our project site. If the excavated soil were to have been hauled off to a landfill, the travel distance would have been greater than 25 miles one-way. It is projected that an additional 1,000CY of excavated soil from the project site will also be made available to the school as our project progresses. We are aware the LEED NC v2.2 MRc2 - Construction Waste Management credit requirements indicate excavated soil does not contribute to this credit, however the excavated soil was donated to a neighboring school which the credit requirements make special note that ".diversion may include donation of materials to charitable organizations.". We believe we are meeting the intent of the credit by diverting construction and demolition debris from disposal in area landfills and in addition, we are significantly reducing environmental impact from transportation vehicle emissions and providing a non-profit organization with materials to provide site expansion.

Ruling:

While your strategy for handling excavated soil provides environmental benefit in reduced transportation of materials, it does not justify inclusion of excavated soil in MRc2. It is understood that many projects face challenges related to local market conditions for recycling. However, the weight of the soil would overwhelm the total amount of construction and demolition waste and enable credit achievement without addressing those impacts. As a result, the donated soil cannot be included in MRc2. You may want to consider evaluating the environmental benefits of the soil donation in the context of overall project emissions during construction and applying for an Innovation credit. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
6/8/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

During construction while excavating for placement of compacted sub-grade and asphalt, limestone was found on our project site. Due to its location and interference with the parking surface elevation, the rock was removed and donated to the local county which was used for permanent erosion control on a different project site. Although the reference guide disregards excavated soil and land clearing debris from this credit, we propose that the limestone as a product differs from the "land clearing debris" because it is a material which can be recycled into another product that otherwise would have had to been extracted and manufactured. We believe that this attribute of the limestone allows it to count as a "reusable material". We also believe that the donation and redirection of the limestone as a reusable material for a different site, not only meets the intent of this credit by diverting waste, but is also an acceptable manner (as defined by the reference guide) by which to qualify for the credit as it is "redirecting reusable materials to appropriate sites". In keeping with the intent of this credit, can we include this rock in our MRc2 Construction Waste Management Calculations?

Ruling:

**Update October 1, 2013: This ruling is no longer valid. Please see LI 10062 for more information and an update ruling.
The project is proposing to include excavated limestone as diverted construction waste because it was given to another project to be used as permanent erosion control on another project. The LEED Reference Guide explicitly defines rock as land clearing debris and thus it can not be included in credit calculations. Previous CIR rulings dated 9/9/2008 and 3/4/2004 state the same conclusion.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/9/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

In the waste diversion process many questions have come up regarding utilizing Waste-to-Energy as a landfill diverstion strategy. Can Waste-to-Energy be utilized as a landfill diversion strategy if; this effort ran parallel to sorting recyclable and reusable materials, and the power plant proposed has approved EPA pollution control devices. Alternatively, can paying additional cost to transport non recyclable trash to a Waste-to Energy power plant to be incinerated and converted into electrical energy count as diverted waste?

Ruling:

Only wood derived fuel can contribute to MRc2 in this manner. Incineration cannot be used as an alternative method for diverting waste from the landfill for purposes of credit achievement. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
6/19/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our major renovation project is a high-rise building in Germany. One of the recycling methods we apply is underground waste disposal, also called mine backfill (Bergversatz), a method which, in Germany, is governed by statutory provisions. Since with our project, a relatively large amount of material (gypsum waste, sheet glass, gypsum fiberboard panels, etc.) is disposed of in this manner, we would like to make sure that this way of recycling is acceptable in line with the Credit Intent. Underground waste disposal or mine backfill means that exploited deep mines are backfilled with liquid or solid mining or non-mining materials. Depending on their nature, the filling materials are stored in barrels or packed in big bags and their storage is controlled. The backfill may also consist of bulk material. Under the German Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act (Kreislaufwirtschafts- und Abfallgesetz) and, in addition, under the German ordinance on the underground disposal of waste (Bergversatzverordnung) it is specified that if this disposal serves an economic purpose, e.g. if it prevents a mine from collapsing by filling it air-free, it is not considered as waste disposal but rather as waste recycling. Furthermore, for every 500 metric tons, analyses must be performed and submitted which confirm that the underground waste material is recognized as safe. As under the applicable German laws and regulations, underground waste disposal is recognized as recycling, we would like to know whether this recycling method complies with the requirements of the LEED Credit Intent and whether LEED also recognizes underground waste disposal as a means of recycling?

Ruling:

The applicant has requested acceptance of mine backfilling as an equivalent means of accomplishing construction waste management. Based on the description of the process, it does not appear that this practice will meet the intent of the credit. In addition to encouraging the diversion of debris from landfills, the credit intent includes an expectation that projects "redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process." While it is recognized that using clean waste material from construction rather than other potential materials to back fill deep mines may be environmentally preferable, this practice is not aligned with the intent of the credit. The waste is in essence going to a "landfill" and the specific materials noted (gypsum and glass) are known to be potential feed stocks for manufacturing processes. By using them as fill material, the proposed practice is burying potentially valuable raw materials. Underground waste disposal is not a recognized means of recycling for this credit. Applicable Internationally; Germany.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/2/2014
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Please provide clarification on documentation of recycled content claims and FSC certified claims for woods products such as particleboard, MDF and other composites.

Ruling:

The project team in inquiring how to document products with valid recycled content claims as well as FSC certification. Products identified as FSC Mix Credit or FSC Mix [NN] % also have pre- or post-consumer recycled content, the latter of which is commonly reported separately by the product manufacturer. In these instances the project team must choose whether to classify the product (or some fraction of the assembly) as FSC certified or as recycled content; the material cannot contribute to both claims simultaneously. Specifically claims may be made under either MRc4: Recycled Content, or MRc7: Certified Wood. Note that for recycled content claims the material must meet the definition of ISO 14021 as required by LEED.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/1/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The proposed project site is located on a military base that has potentially unexploded ordnance on-site.Protection from potential detonation during construction is required by the federal government to shield pedestrians and existing housing across the street from the project site. As a part of the project, a detonation barrier is to be constructed prior to start of excavation. This barrier can be built using various material but must have substantial foundations and structural strength to withstand large explosion forces. After construction is completed, the detonation barriers would be deconstructed to allow access to the site.The project team is proposing to incorporate salvaged local material into the design of these barrier walls. May the salvaged material qualify for MR credit 2 Construction Waste Managementif recycled after deconstruction?

Ruling:

The project team has inquired whether materials used for a temporary (during construction) detonation barrier can be included within the construction waste management materials diverted since it is mandated to be built. If the temporary detonation barrier is recycled or salvaged after deconstruction, it meets the intent of MR Credit 2 (diversion from landfill and incineration) and may contribute towards construction waste management.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
9/5/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The project team is seeking clarification for our intended use of on-site excavated rock. During excavation and site work at the project, a large amount of limestone rock was encountered. Instead of disposing of the rock off-site, we are using it on-site. We are breaking up the on-site rock into 12 - 18" pieces for use as rip-rap. This eliminates the need to use virgin quarry rock and reduces the amount of the volume of waste sent to the landfill. We would like to apply the market value of the rip-rap to MR credit 4.1, Recycled Content (pre-consumer). We will use the following formula for our calculations: # of Tons of excavated rock used on site * the local quarry price per ton * 1/2 = $ applied to MRc4.1 Since this approach will use what is typically a waste stream and use it to reduce the demand for off-site materials, it seems to meet the overall intent of the LEED process. If the rock cannot be applied to MRc4.1, is there any other credit that it could be applied to?

Ruling:

The project team is requesting clarification regarding on how to correctly account for rock extracted and used on site. It is good building practice to reuse materials on site and it is standard construction practice to reuse bedrock on the site (crushed or not). The reuse of these materials on site cannot be applied to MRc4 (Recycled Content), however, the value of the rip-rap may be applied to the calculations for MRc5 (Regional Materials), as calculated by the following equation: # of Tons of excavated rock used on site * the local quarry price per ton undelivered = $ applied to MRc5. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
8/9/2006
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our project is a 185,000 SF lab. The lab is served by a Satellite Energy Plant (SEP) of 6,265 SF, being constructed concurrently, but on a separate site. We intend to apply for certification for only the lab building and not the SEP. Both buildings are currently under construction and the contractor is tracking the materials and providing us submittals for the MR Credits. However the contractor is not able to separate the materials\' submittals (e.g. steel) for the two buildings, without considering it a change-order or requiring a re-bid from the sub-contractors. We foresee the SEP materials to be a very small portion of the materials used. We have detailed cost estimates based on construction documents that give us a split between the two buildings. We would like to use these cost estimates to calculate and thus split the relevant material quantities in the contractor\'s submittals so that we can count the materials appropriately for the lab building in our certification documentation. Is this approach acceptable to you? If not, can you suggest another approach, that would be acceptable given our circumstances, that would avoid a re-bid or change order?

Ruling:

It is acceptable to use estimates when breaking down the materials costs for the MR credits, thus your proposed approach is a good one. As a reminder, it is important to use a consistent project definition across all LEED credits, so be sure to make the same divisions in the SS, WE, EA, and IEQ credits. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/9/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Can waste diversion rates be documented as an average recycling rate for an integrated waste management operation serving a market area as opposed to the average for a single facility?Does the USGBC offer a prescriptive method for facilities to back-up commingle recycling percentage claims? Is visual inspection of project loads an acceptable method for documenting recycling rates? When calculating recycling percentages the USGBC does not seem to have a limit on how much ADC can be claimed as a "recyclable" commodity.

Ruling:

A system recycling rate is acceptable as long, as the recycling rate utilized is regulated by a local or state government authority as a closed system, in compliance with the LEED-NC 2.1 CIR dated 12/2/2005 (#3000).For project using a project specific diversion rate, visual inspection is not an acceptable method of inspection for purposes of documenting percentage of commingled waste diverted from landfill. Currently ADC is an acceptable method for compliance with this credit. ADC meets the intent of MRc2. At this time there is no limit as to how much ADC can be used to fulfill credit compliance. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/17/2002
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This project has contracted with the construction waste hauling company Richard S. Burns and Company, Inc. (here after known as RSBCO) who will take all construction waste from our project and recycle about 90% of it through a patented process that produce several products. These recycled construction waste products are unconventional and one of the products is sold for use in landfill operations. We would like the USGBC to confirm that these products made from construction waste meet the intent of the MR Credit 2 - the diversion of construction waste into the commercial products stream - thereby qualifying our project for MR credits 2.1 and 2.2. RSBCO has developed and patented a specific process of receiving, sorting, grinding, and blending construction waste materials to recover recyclable materials and produce desired products from the rest of the waste. The process begins with screening out fine particles for later use. The material then moves through a positive sorting process where individually recyclable materials like ferrous and non-ferrous metals, cardboard, masonry, and wood are recovered. RSBCO sells ferrous and non-ferrous metals and cardboard to secondary processing markets. On-site, RSBCO processes masonry and wood into a clean fill product used around pipes, in drainage trenches, or as substrate for road construction. We think the recovered recyclable materials and the clean fill product both clearly meet the intent of the MR credit 2.The process continues with negatively sorting the remaining construction material to remove undesirable materials such as plastic trash bags and clothing. This undesirable material represents less than 10% of total materials received and is continuously scrutinized for further recycling opportunities. The remaining material is then ground, screened again for metal recovery, and sized. The ground and crushed aggregate from all stages of the process are then blended in specific proportion to create a product called Barrier

Ruling:

This approach seems to meet the intent of MR Credits 2.1 and 2.2. Keep track of recycling rates according to credit requirements. The only clarification necessary is whether the Barrier product described is in fact used as a cover material with value to the landfill. Because the credit language requires the project to demonstrate recycling, salvage, and landfill rates, you will need to provide some documentation that the Barrier product is USED BY the landfill as described, and not just DISCARDED AT the landfill.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/6/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This CIR asks for further clarification of the ruling dated 3/23/2004 that states "Incineration cannot be used as an alternative method for diverting waste from the landfill for purposes of credit achievement." Our recycling facility processes construction and demolition (C&D) debris into numerous commodities. One of these products is Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) which is sold to local paper mills to replace virgin wood, natural gas and oil. While the product is burned, it is not incinerated. The USEPA has recently provided a category for such materials and defined them as Biofuel: A gaseous, liquid, or solid fuel that contains an energy content derived from a biological source. WDF has an energy content value of 8,500 Btus per pound of fuel and is derived from the collection, sorting and processing of C&D waste. The LEED Reference Guide defines recycling as "the collection, reprocessing, marketing and use of materials that are diverted or recovered from the solid waste stream." Before accepting co-mingled C&D debris for processing, the recycler we use demands that we provide Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (A.H.E.R.A.) documentation proving the C&D loads have been inspected and abated. In addition, they maintain on-site testing equipment to detect lead & asbestos (such as XRF for lead and a polarized light microscope for asbestos). C&D debris that passes these tests is then accepted and sent through an elaborate sorting system where commodities ranging from LDPE plastic to Steel are separated and sold. Wood represents the largest volume of material they accept and is processed into 4-different commodities including WDF, Colorized Mulch, Pulp Furnish and Alternate Daily Cover. Facilities that purchase WDF have boiler permits that meet the requirements of 40 CFR Part 63 of the USEPA National Emission Standards (http://www.epa.gov/epacfr40/chapt-I.info/). Prior to the development of recycled WDF, most C&D wood waste was land filled and lumber mill saw dust was used as WDF. As the market for recycled WDF has developed, its use has resulted in lumber mill wood waste residuals traditionally consumed as fuel to be up-cycled into particle board, pulp and MDF, which is currently the highest use of this resource. . When C&D wood waste is land filled, the anaerobic conditions present in a landfill result in wood waste generating large quantities of methane gas. Methane gas has a global warming potential that is 23 times more hazardous than CO2 (http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid1215.php, November 08, 2006), where as consuming WDF in a modern industrial boiler is considered carbon neutral. The CIR ruling dated 3/23/2004 specifically denies diversion credit for C&D debris delivered to a mass-burn incinerator that uses excess heat to generate electricity, (Waste to Energy, WTE). The CIR recognized that the primary function of a WTE incinerator is to reduce the volume of waste placed in a landfill. The incinerator accepts everything that could be delivered to the landfill and they charge as much or more than is typically charged for landfill disposal. In contrast, our permitted recycling facility creates a recycled content commodity that is sold for profit. They manufacture WDF from a portion of the C&D debris they receive and they sell the WDF to paper mills that operate USEPA permitted industrial boilers to produce the heat energy needed to manufacture and recycle paper. Use of this product as a commodity is consistent with the LEED Reference Guides definition of recycling and with CIR dated 5/17/2004 for the production of Alternative Daily Cover. Audit documentation, such as receipts of sale of WDF to USEPA permitted facilities, can provide evidence of material diversion as WDF. For these reasons, we believe producing Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) meets the intent of the credit and seek to gain a ruling as such from the USGBC materials TAG.

Ruling:

Based on the process description provided, Wood Derived Fuel (WDF) meets the intent of this credit. The WDF process described differs from incineration processes that are not allowed in this credit because the recycling facility provides a value-added process; it is a service that exists to sort and distribute materials appropriate to the highest end uses possible. In addition, the revenue generated by the WDF commodity helps to make this business successful and thus facilitates recycling of wood to other end uses as well as recycling of other materials. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes

LEEDuser expert

Jon Clifford

GREENSQUARE
LEED-AP BD+C

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