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Shaping the building industry since 2000, the LEED standard has become increasingly advantageous. It encourages the adoption of best practices in green construction, stimulates innovation and collaboration, and leads to healthier, better buildings with fewer impacts on the environment.  

Launched in the United States by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) introduced LEED here in Canada in 2002. How it works is this: construction projects are classified using a credit scoring system based on the consideration of several issues related to sustainable development. The level of recognition depends on the nature of the efforts made by the project stakeholders. From “Certified” through to “Platinum”, the higher the level of recognition, the more important the sustainable nature of the building.

Recently, a new version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED v4) standard was introduced, with product and material requirements among the major changes. Today, selecting building materials based on a single attribute (local, recycled or VOC-free) is no longer enough—materials must be evaluated in such a way that integrates their global environmental impact. Obtaining credits relies on products or materials meeting specific requirements that would make them part of an eco-design, and accountability is required from the manufacturer.

Simply put, the new LEED v4 standard forces building stakeholders to consider the impact of the building as a whole. The changes also encourage transparency and help mobilize industry players towards responsible practices on all levels. 

Here are some highlights of these changes, from the official LEED® v4 documents published by the U.S. Green Building Council:

BUILDING DISCLOSURE AND OPTIMIZATION – TRANSPARENT DECLARATIONS

Option 1. Environmental product declaration (EPD) (1 point)
Use at least 20 different permanently installed products sourced from at least five different manufacturers that meet one of the disclosure criteria below.

1.1: Products with a publicly available, critically reviewed life-cycle assessment conforming to ISO 14044 that have at least a cradle to gate scope are valued as one quarter (1/4) of a product for the purposes of credit achievement calculation.

1.2: Environmental Product Declarations which conform to ISO 14025, 14040, 14044, and EN 15804 or ISO 21930 and have at least a cradle to gate scope.

  • Industry-wide (generic) EPD—Products with third-party certification (Type III), including external verification, in which the manufacturer is explicitly recognized as a participant by the program operator are valued as one half (1/2) of a product for purposes of credit achievement calculation.
  • Product-specific Type III EPD—Products with third-party certification (Type III), including external verification in which the manufacturer is explicitly recognized as the participant by the program operator are valued as one whole product for purposes of credit achievement calculation.

1.3: USGBC approved program—Products that comply with other USGBC approved environmental product declaration frameworks.

Option 2. Multi-attribute optimization (1 point)

Use products that comply with one of the criteria below for 50%, by cost, of the total value of permanently installed products in the project. Products will be valued as below.

2.1: Third party certified products that demonstrate impact reduction below industry average in at least three of the following categories are valued at 100% of their cost for credit achievement calculations.

  • global warming potential (greenhouse gases), in 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.

For credit achievement calculation, products sourced (extracted, manufactured, purchased) within 100 miles (160 km) of the project site are valued at 200% of their base contributing cost.

Structure and enclosure materials may not constitute more than 30% of the value of compliant building products. Projects with significant amounts of structural and enclosure materials may exceed the 30% limit by calculating an alternative structure and enclosure limit (See Calculations under Further Explanation).

2.2: USGBC approved program—Products that comply with other USGBC approved multi-attribute frameworks.

To find out how SOPREMA’s leading products can help contribute to LEED credits, visit: www.soprema.ca

Source: USGBC LEEDMD V4

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