Blog

The Sneaky Switch from Construction to Design Credits

On November 1, 2016 by Tommy Linstroth

Ah, as we bask in the last week of LEED 2009 registrations, we wistfully turn reflective on all our past LEED projects, standards and credits achieved that we’ll no longer see – ASHRAE 90.1-2007, the 500 mile radius, easy points for recycled content – all gone with the wind…

When you take a deeper review of LEED v4, you may notice another sneaky change which hasn’t been talked about much, if at all. There has been a shift, a blurring if you will, over what used to be clear cut responsibilities.

The LEED 2009 Materials and Resource credits 3-7 used to be almost strictly contractor driven credits. Sure, there were a few callouts in the specs on the front end, but for the most part, it was up to the GC to figure out how to get 20% recycled content and local/regional materials, FSC wood, and on that very rare occasion, salvaged or rapidly renewable materials. Go contractors!

That had been the mindset from most I’ve spoken with over the past year regarding v4 – MRc2-4, from EPDs to HPDs to OPP, would all be magically solved by turning it over the the contractor. All they had to do was shake down the subs for some paperwork – hurrah!

That approach WILL FAIL. Those credits (except perhaps Option 2 of MRc3, Sourcing of Raw Materials) are now officially DESIGN CREDITS. If you do not do the homework and think strategically (as we demonstrated here) about where you can use products that have EPD/HPD/C2C – you will not earn those credits for the foreseeable future. The contractor cannot, nor should they have too, take a vanilla spec and be forced to fill in the blank with the limited amount of commercial available v4 compliant products. There must be a diligent and intentional effort on the front end to find and include 20 different products from multiple manufacturers if you want to have credit success.

So yes, you might need to specify 5 different acoustical ceiling panels for a project but that’s the only way to ensure those credits will be earned. It is no longer a handoff to the GC – these are now design credits.