Every day I have a conversation with someone struggling through the EPD and HPD credits for LEED v4. It is odd – those two are only worth 2 points, so amount of time and effort spent should be minimal or you could just ignore those 2 points and opt for easier ones. Well, if you know the Badger, our sole mission is to take these stupidly difficult processes and make them easy and straightforward so we can actually focus on making buildings greener and not chasing paperwork. So, I thought about it, and here’s our shot at an answer.
It comes down to this – don’t reinvent the wheel. As we’ve written about previously, if you leave it to chance (or pass it to the GC and cross your fingers), the odds you’ll earn these credits are pretty low. Here’s what the Badger recommends: Find the 20-30 products that can be consistently used on a project to project basis (something that might not be super cost-sensitive, or have defining aesthetic characteristics) and just make sure to spec those same damn products on every project. Boom – 2 points, easy-peasy. Since it doesn’t matter if you spend $1 or $1,000,000 on a product with an EPD, you’ve just got to find a use for such products on every project. Without identifying individual products (because we certainly are not making recommendations on anything but an overall strategy), here’s a starting point. Please chime in and add to the list! Let’s make these points a no brainer and a no-efforter!
- Suspended ceiling grid – multiple manufacturers have options,
- Acoustical ceiling tile – multiple manufactures – LOTS of options from Armstrong, USG and more.
- Insulation – a couple options, and no one sees them. Throw in pipe insulation, duct insulation, etc, and you’ve got a ton of options
- Vapor Barrier
- Fluid applied air barriers
- Roofing – multiple manufacturer options, roof material options, from membrane to tile to standing seam.
- Concrete (1/2 point) – and you can use different mix designs each as their own unique “product” i.e. footing, precast walls, slab, etc
- Wood – OSB, MDf, particleboard, framing lumber, LVL – ½ point each
- Paints (and primers) – plenty of options from Sherwin Williams, PPG, Benjamin Moore
- Flooring – tile, carpet, vinyl, resilient, etc – there are so many carpet, flooring and tile options, you could likely earn the points just by using 20 different flooring types.
See? It really shouldn’t be that hard. 2 products from each category, or 4 from 5 categories and you’re done. Will anyone really care you spec the same vapor barrier on every single project? No. Will they care that no one is spending hundreds of hours looking for EPDs? You bet.