As we end our first look at LEED v4, we need to look at the third major area of change: the addition and subtraction of familiar options. Much of this has been touched on already, but this is another simplified way of absorbing the changes.

In the case of Material Resources (MR):

Subtractions:

  • No more bamboo/rapidly renewable plantation material.
  • Changes to the Location category so it is no longer a single-item feature, and a reduction to the recognized mileage from 500 to 100 miles. The old MR6, which was the “Location” credit, i.e., having the materials sourced from local producers, is now a multiplier, where if you have a product that meets another condition and is also locally sourced, you can increase its contribution factor.

Additions:

  • Solid factory-finished flooring must be certified for emissions.
  • Heavy focus on LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) and EPD’s (Environmental Product Declarations) (The NWFA and NHLA/AHEC organizations are all looking at creating generic industry-wide EPD’s for various wood products—please encourage them and provide information if requested.)
  • Heavy new emphasis on total transparency in content and corporate policies, including requirements for some items to provide full chemical lists, the entire list of ingredients in that glue or finish’s “recipe.” These additions are going to make it harder for some OEM production to participate in LEED projects.

In the case of Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ):

Subtraction:

Additions:

  • For “wet goods,” now they must meet both content and emissions qualifiers. And the potential movement of wet goods from not only the EQ arena, but also potentially as an MR category as well.

Expansion (as noted):

  • For flooring products, 100 percent of all flooring, including prefinished solid as well as engineered hardwood, laminate, LVT and carpet, must meet “General Emissions Evaluation,” which is certification to CA 01350 (VOC Green, FloorScore and GreenGuard Gold certified products.)  

In both categories, the additions are ones that are likely to have the greatest impact, be it financial cost to participate or simply in the viability of participating in LEED v4.

LEED v4 is now active, but not going to really start impacting our industry for another six to 12 months at least. But it’s best to learn about it now, as some of these certifications are going to take time and money, and without them, you’re going to be outside of LEED, looking in….

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")