Log in
LEED v4
Warehouses & Dist. Ctrs. - NC
Materials and Resources

Building life-cycle impact reduction

LEED CREDIT

Warehouses-NC-v4 MRc1: Building life-cycle impact reduction 2-5 points

LEEDuser’s viewpoint

Frank advice from LEED experts

LEED is changing all the time, and every project is unique. Even seasoned professionals can miss a critical detail and lose a credit or even a prerequisite at the last minute. Our expert advice guides our LEEDuser Premium members and saves you valuable time.

Credit language

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To encourage adaptive reuse and optimize the environmental performance of products and materials.

Requirements

Demonstrate reduced environmental effects during initial project decision-making by reusing existing building resources or demonstrating a reduction in materials use through life-cycle assessment. Achieve one of the following options.

Option 1. historic building reuse (5 points)

Maintain the existing building structure, envelope, and interior nonstructural elements of a historic building or contributing building in a historic district. To qualify, the building or historic district must be listed or eligible for listing in the local, state, or national register of historic places. Do not demolish any part of a historic building or contributing building in a historic district unless it is deemed structurally unsound or hazardous. For buildings listed locally, approval of any demolition must be granted by the local historic preservation review board. For buildings listed in a state register or the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.), approval must appear in a programmatic agreement with the state historic preservation office or National Park Service (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).

Any alteration (preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation) of a historic building or a contributing building in a historic district on the project site must be done in accordance with local or national standards for rehabilitation, whichever are applicable. If building is not subject to historic review, include on the project team a preservation professional who meets U.S. federal qualifications for historic architects (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.); the preservation professional must confirm conformance to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).

OR

Option 2. renovation of abandoned or blighted building (5 points)
Maintain at least 50%, by surface area, of the existing building structure, enclosure, and interior structural elements for buildings that meet local criteria of abandoned or are considered blight. The building must be renovated to a state of productive occupancy. Up to 25% of the building surface area may be excluded from credit calculation because of deterioration or damage.

OR

Option 3. building and material reuse (2–4 points)

Reuse or salvage building materials from off site or on site as a percentage of the surface area, as listed in Table 1. Include structural elements (e.g., floors, roof decking), enclosure materials (e.g., skin, framing), and permanently installed interior elements (e.g., walls, doors, floor coverings, ceiling systems). Exclude from the calculation window assemblies and any hazardous materials that are remediated as a part of the project.

Materials contributing toward this credit may not contribute toward MR Credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization - Sourcing of Raw Materials.

Table 1. Points for reuse of building materials

Percentage of completed project surface area reused

Points BD&C

Points BD&C (Core and Shell)

25%

2

2

50%

3

3

75%

4

5

OR

Option 4. whole-building life-cycle assessment (3 points)

For new construction (buildings or portions of buildings), conduct a life-cycle assessment of the project’s structure and enclosure that demonstrates a minimum of 10% reduction, compared with a baseline building, in at least three of the six impact categories listed below, one of which must be global warming potential. No impact category assessed as part of the life-cycle assessment may increase by more than 5% compared with the baseline building.

The baseline and proposed buildings must be of comparable size, function, orientation, and operating energy performance as defined in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance. The service life of the baseline and proposed buildings must be the same and at least 60 years to fully account for maintenance and replacement. Use the same life-cycle assessment software tools and data sets to evaluate both the baseline building and the proposed building, and report all listed impact categories. Data sets must be compliant with ISO 14044.

Select at least three of the following impact categories for reduction:
  • global warming potential (greenhouse gases), in kg CO2e;
  • depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, in kg CFC-11;
  • acidification of land and water sources, in moles H+ or kg SO2;
  • eutrophication, in kg nitrogen or kg phosphate;
  • formation of tropospheric ozone, in kg NOx, kg O3 eq, or kg ethene; and
  • depletion of nonrenewable energy resources, in MJ.

Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs)

Europe ACP: Option 4 Whole Building Life-Cycle Assessment

For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit.

Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools: Combining EPD impacts with WBLCA results shall follow the best practice guidance outlined in Athena Guide to Whole Building LCA in Green Building Programs which stipulates that EPD results may only be combined provided the EPD:

  • Has not expired;
  • EPD scenarios should be representative of contemporary technologies and/or practice, and the project location;
  • Reports all indicators and system boundary information modules required by the WBLCA tool;
  • Characterizes the impact categories reported according to the same LCA methodology as the WBLCA tool;
  • Can be applied to the study period of the assessment;
  • Clearly indicates which product (including manufacturer and product name) or geographical region it reflects in comparison to the industry-wide weighted average results of a material or fuel already available in the tool.
Additionally, comparability shall be ensured in accordance with Section 5 of the BRE Briefing Paper "Assessing the environmental impacts of construction – understanding European Standards and their implications."
SITES-LEED Equivalency

This LEED credit (or a component of this credit) has been established as equivalent to a SITES v2 credit or component. For more information on using the equivalency as a substitution in your LEED or SITES project, see this article and guidance document.

See all forum discussions about this credit »

What does it cost?

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

Frequently asked questions

My project is a historic building, but there’s no local historic registry. Am I still eligible for Option 1?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

How do I account for additional life-cycle impact reductions if my building is designed to last for more than 60 years?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

How does the LCA consider operating energy? Isn’t that going to be the biggest source of environmental impacts?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

What is the difference between LCA and LCCA? Our clients often ask for LCA when they really want Life-Cycle Cost Analysis.

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

Is it possible to pursue the Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment option late in design?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

For Whole-Building LCA, how do you choose the baseline building?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

See all forum discussions about this credit »

Addenda

4/6/2018Updated: 11/6/2020
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add an International Tips section before the Campus Section to read as follows:

"Option 4. Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment
For projects outside the U.S. pursuing this option, the baseline building is based on ASHRAE 90.1–2010. The purpose of this requirement is to provide a minimum set of guidelines regarding the performance of the structure and enclosure being studied in the LCA. Projects outside the U.S. are expected to develop a baseline building representing typical construction for their region meeting local applicable building performance requirements. Additional documentation may be needed to demonstrate how the baseline building meets the requirements of the credit.

For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit."

Europe ACP added to Requirements section:
"Europe ACP: Option 4 Whole Building Life-Cycle Assessment
For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit.

Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools
Combining EPD impacts with WBLCA results shall follow the best practice guidance outlined in Athena Guide to Whole Building LCA in Green Building Programs which stipulates that EPD results may only be combined provided the EPD:
• Has not expired;
• EPD scenarios should be representative of contemporary technologies and/or practice, and the project location.
• Reports all indicators and system boundary information modules required by the WBLCA tool;
• Characterizes the impact categories reported according to the same LCIA methodology as the WBLCA tool;
• Can be applied to the study period of the assessment;
• Clearly indicates which product (including manufacturer and product name) or geographical region it reflects in comparison to the industry-wide weighted average results of a material or fuel already available in the tool.

Additionally, comparability shall be ensured in accordance with Section 5 of the BRE Briefing Paper "Assessing the environmental impacts of construction – understanding European Standards and their implications" (https://www.bre.co.uk/filelibrary/Briefing%20papers/98661-European-Stand...)."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
4/6/2018Updated: 11/6/2020
Regional ACP
Description of change:
Add an International Tips section before the Campus Section to read as follows:

"Option 4. Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment
For projects outside the U.S. pursuing this option, the baseline building is based on ASHRAE 90.1–2010. The purpose of this requirement is to provide a minimum set of guidelines regarding the performance of the structure and enclosure being studied in the LCA. Projects outside the U.S. are expected to develop a baseline building representing typical construction for their region meeting local applicable building performance requirements. Additional documentation may be needed to demonstrate how the baseline building meets the requirements of the credit.

For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit."

Europe ACP added to Requirements section:
"Europe ACP: Option 4 Whole Building Life-Cycle Assessment
For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit.

Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools
Combining EPD impacts with WBLCA results shall follow the best practice guidance outlined in Athena Guide to Whole Building LCA in Green Building Programs which stipulates that EPD results may only be combined provided the EPD:
• Has not expired;
• EPD scenarios should be representative of contemporary technologies and/or practice, and the project location.
• Reports all indicators and system boundary information modules required by the WBLCA tool;
• Characterizes the impact categories reported according to the same LCIA methodology as the WBLCA tool;
• Can be applied to the study period of the assessment;
• Clearly indicates which product (including manufacturer and product name) or geographical region it reflects in comparison to the industry-wide weighted average results of a material or fuel already available in the tool.

Additionally, comparability shall be ensured in accordance with Section 5 of the BRE Briefing Paper "Assessing the environmental impacts of construction – understanding European Standards and their implications" (https://www.bre.co.uk/filelibrary/Briefing%20papers/98661-European-Stand...)."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/1/2015Updated: 2/12/2020
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Move bullet number 3 before bullet number 2 and renumber accordingly.
Add the following text at the beginning of the “Creating the Baseline Building”:
"The baseline building design shall be a design that exhibits industry-standard materials and practices for a building that meets the functional requirements of the project. The actual design should demonstrate a design that deviates from those industry-standard materials and practices – for example, the use of lower-impact materials or dematerialization, or a system not commonly used in that application.
The baseline building design can be derived in a variety of ways. Regardless of the approach, care should be taken to ensure that the baseline and actual designs are functionally equivalent. Four basic options for creating the baseline design are as follows.
• Early design: an early design for the building under study. Documentation should include the draft plans and any modifications necessary to ensure functional equivalence.
• Existing building: a real-world benchmark. Documentation should include the as-built plans and any modifications necessary to ensure functional equivalence.
• Building archetype: similar to an existing building, but is a designed-but-unconstructed building. Documentation should include the draft plans and any modifications necessary to ensure functional equivalence.
• Alternative design: A design that is based on the actual design, but is more reflective of industry-standard material and practices. Documentation should include a description of where the alternative design differs from the actual design with justifications as appropriate. Justifications can be in the form of product-specific EPDs compared against industry-average EPDs; other justifications can be used as needed.
Creating the baseline building using an early design for the building (Option #1 above) is recommended. Using LCA tools in the early design phase allows teams to more easily identify material impacts reduction strategies and document their LCA modeling work for this credit. Below is a stepwise approach to creating and refining the baseline building in early design."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2015Updated: 4/6/2017
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add the following new Further Explanation section, after "Creating the Baseline Building":
"Small Scale Reuse
The reuse of building materials can be accounted for in Option 4 - Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment. Typically, projects pursuing large-scale reuse of buildings and materials may pursue other options in this credit - most of which offer more points than Option 4. However, small-scale reuse of materials can be accounted for in this credit along with the project team’s other strategies to reduce the life cycle impacts of the building materials. Essentially, the reuse of building materials removes the initial “one time” raw resource extraction and manufacturing stages (A1-A3) from the Proposed building’s impact.

The majority of available LCA material or whole building tools do not directly support the modeling of salvaged materials. Therefore, project teams should follow the following steps to account for small-scale material reuse in whole building LCA modeling.

1. Model all materials as “new” in the Baseline building
2. Model all materials as “new” in the Proposed building along with other materials impact reduction strategies being pursued for this credit.
3. Determine the amount of salvaged material that will be used on the project. Be sure to account for losses that tend to occur in repurposing products for a new building. For instance, if one can expect a 5% loss in materials in order to repurpose them, the material quantity used in the next step should only be 95% of what is installed in the building.
4. Using the same LCA tool as above, model only the reused materials for the proposed building and save the environmental impact results from stages of raw material extraction, transportation, and manufacturing (A1-A3) impacts only.. Generate and save this information as a separate model file if the tool requires one to do so.
5. Subtract the results of Step 4 from Step 2 to obtain a final result for the proposed building."

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2015Updated: 7/1/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under bullet for "Products" add new guidance to the last sub-bullet so it reads as follows:
"o Additional building elements, such as interior nonstructural walls or finishes, may be included at the discretion of the project team. The deliberate avoidance of certain interior elements can be accounted for in this option. Inclusion of elements in the baseline building depends on whether it is within standard industry practice for their occurrence in project’s building type. Thus, unless otherwise justified, for office, retail and industrial building types, partitions should not be included in the baseline building. And accordingly, floor finishes can be in the reference building for all except industrial."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2014Updated: 2/14/2015
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Under 5th bullet, for the impact category formation of tropospheric ozone add unit is measure "kg O3 eq" to reflect TRACI version 2.1 so the sentence reads "formation of tropospheric ozone, in kg NOx, kg O3 eq, or kg ethene; and..."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2014Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under 5th bullet, for the impact category formation of tropospheric ozone add unit is measure "kg O3 eq" to reflect TRACI version 2.1 so the sentence reads "formation of tropospheric ozone, in kg NOx, kg O3 eq, or kg ethene; and..."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/1/2015Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under "System Boundary" bullet, replace "ISO 21930 section A-1 thru A-4, B-1 thru B-7, and C-1 thru C-4" with "EN 15804-2013 sections A-1 thru A-4, B-1 thru B-5, and C-1 thru C-4."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2014Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In Table 3. Calculating reuse for existing buildings and materials, in the row "Asbestos ceiling tiles (hazardous material removed) in the column "Existing area" replace text "13,250" with "0" or a dash. In row "Total" in column "Existing area" replace value "214,695" with "201,445" and in column "Percentage reused" replace value "66.6%" with "70.9%."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
See all forum discussions about this credit »

Documentation toolkit

The motherlode of cheat sheets

LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit is loaded with calculators to help assess credit compliance, tracking spreadsheets for materials, sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions, and examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects for you to check your work against. To get your plaque, start with the right toolkit.

LEEDuser expert

Josée Lupien

LEED Fellow & WELL AP

Vertima inc.
President

Get the inside scoop

Our editors have written a detailed analysis of nearly every LEED credit, and LEEDuser premium members get full access. We’ll tell you whether the credit is easy to accomplish or better left alone, and we provide insider tips on how to document it successfully.

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To encourage adaptive reuse and optimize the environmental performance of products and materials.

Requirements

Demonstrate reduced environmental effects during initial project decision-making by reusing existing building resources or demonstrating a reduction in materials use through life-cycle assessment. Achieve one of the following options.

Option 1. historic building reuse (5 points)

Maintain the existing building structure, envelope, and interior nonstructural elements of a historic building or contributing building in a historic district. To qualify, the building or historic district must be listed or eligible for listing in the local, state, or national register of historic places. Do not demolish any part of a historic building or contributing building in a historic district unless it is deemed structurally unsound or hazardous. For buildings listed locally, approval of any demolition must be granted by the local historic preservation review board. For buildings listed in a state register or the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.), approval must appear in a programmatic agreement with the state historic preservation office or National Park Service (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).

Any alteration (preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation) of a historic building or a contributing building in a historic district on the project site must be done in accordance with local or national standards for rehabilitation, whichever are applicable. If building is not subject to historic review, include on the project team a preservation professional who meets U.S. federal qualifications for historic architects (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.); the preservation professional must confirm conformance to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).

OR

Option 2. renovation of abandoned or blighted building (5 points)
Maintain at least 50%, by surface area, of the existing building structure, enclosure, and interior structural elements for buildings that meet local criteria of abandoned or are considered blight. The building must be renovated to a state of productive occupancy. Up to 25% of the building surface area may be excluded from credit calculation because of deterioration or damage.

OR

Option 3. building and material reuse (2–4 points)

Reuse or salvage building materials from off site or on site as a percentage of the surface area, as listed in Table 1. Include structural elements (e.g., floors, roof decking), enclosure materials (e.g., skin, framing), and permanently installed interior elements (e.g., walls, doors, floor coverings, ceiling systems). Exclude from the calculation window assemblies and any hazardous materials that are remediated as a part of the project.

Materials contributing toward this credit may not contribute toward MR Credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization - Sourcing of Raw Materials.

Table 1. Points for reuse of building materials

Percentage of completed project surface area reused

Points BD&C

Points BD&C (Core and Shell)

25%

2

2

50%

3

3

75%

4

5

OR

Option 4. whole-building life-cycle assessment (3 points)

For new construction (buildings or portions of buildings), conduct a life-cycle assessment of the project’s structure and enclosure that demonstrates a minimum of 10% reduction, compared with a baseline building, in at least three of the six impact categories listed below, one of which must be global warming potential. No impact category assessed as part of the life-cycle assessment may increase by more than 5% compared with the baseline building.

The baseline and proposed buildings must be of comparable size, function, orientation, and operating energy performance as defined in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance. The service life of the baseline and proposed buildings must be the same and at least 60 years to fully account for maintenance and replacement. Use the same life-cycle assessment software tools and data sets to evaluate both the baseline building and the proposed building, and report all listed impact categories. Data sets must be compliant with ISO 14044.

Select at least three of the following impact categories for reduction:
  • global warming potential (greenhouse gases), in kg CO2e;
  • depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, in kg CFC-11;
  • acidification of land and water sources, in moles H+ or kg SO2;
  • eutrophication, in kg nitrogen or kg phosphate;
  • formation of tropospheric ozone, in kg NOx, kg O3 eq, or kg ethene; and
  • depletion of nonrenewable energy resources, in MJ.

Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs)

Europe ACP: Option 4 Whole Building Life-Cycle Assessment

For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit.

Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools: Combining EPD impacts with WBLCA results shall follow the best practice guidance outlined in Athena Guide to Whole Building LCA in Green Building Programs which stipulates that EPD results may only be combined provided the EPD:

  • Has not expired;
  • EPD scenarios should be representative of contemporary technologies and/or practice, and the project location;
  • Reports all indicators and system boundary information modules required by the WBLCA tool;
  • Characterizes the impact categories reported according to the same LCA methodology as the WBLCA tool;
  • Can be applied to the study period of the assessment;
  • Clearly indicates which product (including manufacturer and product name) or geographical region it reflects in comparison to the industry-wide weighted average results of a material or fuel already available in the tool.
Additionally, comparability shall be ensured in accordance with Section 5 of the BRE Briefing Paper "Assessing the environmental impacts of construction – understanding European Standards and their implications."
SITES-LEED Equivalency

This LEED credit (or a component of this credit) has been established as equivalent to a SITES v2 credit or component. For more information on using the equivalency as a substitution in your LEED or SITES project, see this article and guidance document.

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

In the end, LEED is all about documentation. LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit, for premium members only, saves you time and helps you avoid mistakes with:

  • Calculators to help assess credit compliance.
  • Tracking spreadsheets for materials purchases.
  • Spreadsheets and forms to give to subs and other team members.
  • Guidance documents on arcane LEED issues.
  • Sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions.
  • Examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects.

My project is a historic building, but there’s no local historic registry. Am I still eligible for Option 1?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

How do I account for additional life-cycle impact reductions if my building is designed to last for more than 60 years?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

How does the LCA consider operating energy? Isn’t that going to be the biggest source of environmental impacts?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

What is the difference between LCA and LCCA? Our clients often ask for LCA when they really want Life-Cycle Cost Analysis.

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

Is it possible to pursue the Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment option late in design?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

For Whole-Building LCA, how do you choose the baseline building?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

4/6/2018Updated: 11/6/2020
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add an International Tips section before the Campus Section to read as follows:

"Option 4. Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment
For projects outside the U.S. pursuing this option, the baseline building is based on ASHRAE 90.1–2010. The purpose of this requirement is to provide a minimum set of guidelines regarding the performance of the structure and enclosure being studied in the LCA. Projects outside the U.S. are expected to develop a baseline building representing typical construction for their region meeting local applicable building performance requirements. Additional documentation may be needed to demonstrate how the baseline building meets the requirements of the credit.

For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit."

Europe ACP added to Requirements section:
"Europe ACP: Option 4 Whole Building Life-Cycle Assessment
For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit.

Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools
Combining EPD impacts with WBLCA results shall follow the best practice guidance outlined in Athena Guide to Whole Building LCA in Green Building Programs which stipulates that EPD results may only be combined provided the EPD:
• Has not expired;
• EPD scenarios should be representative of contemporary technologies and/or practice, and the project location.
• Reports all indicators and system boundary information modules required by the WBLCA tool;
• Characterizes the impact categories reported according to the same LCIA methodology as the WBLCA tool;
• Can be applied to the study period of the assessment;
• Clearly indicates which product (including manufacturer and product name) or geographical region it reflects in comparison to the industry-wide weighted average results of a material or fuel already available in the tool.

Additionally, comparability shall be ensured in accordance with Section 5 of the BRE Briefing Paper "Assessing the environmental impacts of construction – understanding European Standards and their implications" (https://www.bre.co.uk/filelibrary/Briefing%20papers/98661-European-Stand...)."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
4/6/2018Updated: 11/6/2020
Regional ACP
Description of change:
Add an International Tips section before the Campus Section to read as follows:

"Option 4. Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment
For projects outside the U.S. pursuing this option, the baseline building is based on ASHRAE 90.1–2010. The purpose of this requirement is to provide a minimum set of guidelines regarding the performance of the structure and enclosure being studied in the LCA. Projects outside the U.S. are expected to develop a baseline building representing typical construction for their region meeting local applicable building performance requirements. Additional documentation may be needed to demonstrate how the baseline building meets the requirements of the credit.

For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit."

Europe ACP added to Requirements section:
"Europe ACP: Option 4 Whole Building Life-Cycle Assessment
For European projects, EN standard 15978 may be used as framework for the Life-Cycle-Assessment. Where implementation of EN 15978 conflicts with any of requirements of this credit, the credit requirements prevail, including the life-cycle stages required and treatment of EPD data (See Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools). Note that the CML indicators are acceptable per the Further Explanation section of the Reference Guide language of this credit.

Further Explanation - Incorporation of EPD data in WBLCA Tools
Combining EPD impacts with WBLCA results shall follow the best practice guidance outlined in Athena Guide to Whole Building LCA in Green Building Programs which stipulates that EPD results may only be combined provided the EPD:
• Has not expired;
• EPD scenarios should be representative of contemporary technologies and/or practice, and the project location.
• Reports all indicators and system boundary information modules required by the WBLCA tool;
• Characterizes the impact categories reported according to the same LCIA methodology as the WBLCA tool;
• Can be applied to the study period of the assessment;
• Clearly indicates which product (including manufacturer and product name) or geographical region it reflects in comparison to the industry-wide weighted average results of a material or fuel already available in the tool.

Additionally, comparability shall be ensured in accordance with Section 5 of the BRE Briefing Paper "Assessing the environmental impacts of construction – understanding European Standards and their implications" (https://www.bre.co.uk/filelibrary/Briefing%20papers/98661-European-Stand...)."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/1/2015Updated: 2/12/2020
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Move bullet number 3 before bullet number 2 and renumber accordingly.
Add the following text at the beginning of the “Creating the Baseline Building”:
"The baseline building design shall be a design that exhibits industry-standard materials and practices for a building that meets the functional requirements of the project. The actual design should demonstrate a design that deviates from those industry-standard materials and practices – for example, the use of lower-impact materials or dematerialization, or a system not commonly used in that application.
The baseline building design can be derived in a variety of ways. Regardless of the approach, care should be taken to ensure that the baseline and actual designs are functionally equivalent. Four basic options for creating the baseline design are as follows.
• Early design: an early design for the building under study. Documentation should include the draft plans and any modifications necessary to ensure functional equivalence.
• Existing building: a real-world benchmark. Documentation should include the as-built plans and any modifications necessary to ensure functional equivalence.
• Building archetype: similar to an existing building, but is a designed-but-unconstructed building. Documentation should include the draft plans and any modifications necessary to ensure functional equivalence.
• Alternative design: A design that is based on the actual design, but is more reflective of industry-standard material and practices. Documentation should include a description of where the alternative design differs from the actual design with justifications as appropriate. Justifications can be in the form of product-specific EPDs compared against industry-average EPDs; other justifications can be used as needed.
Creating the baseline building using an early design for the building (Option #1 above) is recommended. Using LCA tools in the early design phase allows teams to more easily identify material impacts reduction strategies and document their LCA modeling work for this credit. Below is a stepwise approach to creating and refining the baseline building in early design."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2015Updated: 4/6/2017
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add the following new Further Explanation section, after "Creating the Baseline Building":
"Small Scale Reuse
The reuse of building materials can be accounted for in Option 4 - Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment. Typically, projects pursuing large-scale reuse of buildings and materials may pursue other options in this credit - most of which offer more points than Option 4. However, small-scale reuse of materials can be accounted for in this credit along with the project team’s other strategies to reduce the life cycle impacts of the building materials. Essentially, the reuse of building materials removes the initial “one time” raw resource extraction and manufacturing stages (A1-A3) from the Proposed building’s impact.

The majority of available LCA material or whole building tools do not directly support the modeling of salvaged materials. Therefore, project teams should follow the following steps to account for small-scale material reuse in whole building LCA modeling.

1. Model all materials as “new” in the Baseline building
2. Model all materials as “new” in the Proposed building along with other materials impact reduction strategies being pursued for this credit.
3. Determine the amount of salvaged material that will be used on the project. Be sure to account for losses that tend to occur in repurposing products for a new building. For instance, if one can expect a 5% loss in materials in order to repurpose them, the material quantity used in the next step should only be 95% of what is installed in the building.
4. Using the same LCA tool as above, model only the reused materials for the proposed building and save the environmental impact results from stages of raw material extraction, transportation, and manufacturing (A1-A3) impacts only.. Generate and save this information as a separate model file if the tool requires one to do so.
5. Subtract the results of Step 4 from Step 2 to obtain a final result for the proposed building."

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2015Updated: 7/1/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under bullet for "Products" add new guidance to the last sub-bullet so it reads as follows:
"o Additional building elements, such as interior nonstructural walls or finishes, may be included at the discretion of the project team. The deliberate avoidance of certain interior elements can be accounted for in this option. Inclusion of elements in the baseline building depends on whether it is within standard industry practice for their occurrence in project’s building type. Thus, unless otherwise justified, for office, retail and industrial building types, partitions should not be included in the baseline building. And accordingly, floor finishes can be in the reference building for all except industrial."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2014Updated: 2/14/2015
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Under 5th bullet, for the impact category formation of tropospheric ozone add unit is measure "kg O3 eq" to reflect TRACI version 2.1 so the sentence reads "formation of tropospheric ozone, in kg NOx, kg O3 eq, or kg ethene; and..."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2014Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under 5th bullet, for the impact category formation of tropospheric ozone add unit is measure "kg O3 eq" to reflect TRACI version 2.1 so the sentence reads "formation of tropospheric ozone, in kg NOx, kg O3 eq, or kg ethene; and..."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/1/2015Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under "System Boundary" bullet, replace "ISO 21930 section A-1 thru A-4, B-1 thru B-7, and C-1 thru C-4" with "EN 15804-2013 sections A-1 thru A-4, B-1 thru B-5, and C-1 thru C-4."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2014Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In Table 3. Calculating reuse for existing buildings and materials, in the row "Asbestos ceiling tiles (hazardous material removed) in the column "Existing area" replace text "13,250" with "0" or a dash. In row "Total" in column "Existing area" replace value "214,695" with "201,445" and in column "Percentage reused" replace value "66.6%" with "70.9%."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes

LEEDuser expert

Josée Lupien

LEED Fellow & WELL AP

Vertima inc.
President

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about Warehouses-NC-v4 MRc1 View the LEED v4.1 version of this credit