Green Badger’s LEED v4.1 Update Review – Sourcing of Raw Materials and Material Ingredient Reporting

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This is part three in Green Badger’s series of deep dives into the changes for LEED v4.1 and how they may affect project teams moving forward. For more resources, visit the other posts in our series bellow:

Part One: Introducing the LEED v4.1 Update
Part Two: Green Bader’s LEED v4.1 Update Review – Environmental Product Declarations, Option 1

A couple of notes to start:

  1. The following information contains Green Badger’ opinions and interpretations
  2. If you haven’t looked through the v4.1 beta guide from USGBC – download it now! That’s where the real meat and potatoes of the change details are actually listed.
  3. As always with USGBC, these may change at any time as v4.1 goes through the pilot.

Sourcing of Raw Materials

Ok, you’ve got your EPD updates down pat, and we’ll admit we’re all still confused about carbon reduction in LCAs. Now we’re on to the v4.1 updates for Sourcing of Raw Materials and Material Ingredient Reporting! We’ll start with the easy one – Sourcing of Raw Materials.

What’s gone?

Gone is Option 1! Tracking down 20 sustainability reports that got into suppliers operations and was never earned has been eliminated.

Gone is the 30% cap on structure or enclosure in Option 2! That restriction made this VERY tough to achieve on many projects, and impossible on Core and Shell – even with the alternative calculation that was made available.

What’s left?

So, what’s left? Credit compliance is now more reminiscent of LEED 2009, with 2 points available for levels of compliance by cost of 20% or 40%. The way you get there is the same – aggregate the compliant values of products from recycled content, certified wood, reused/salvaged (valued at 200%), bio-based, and extended producer responsibility (still counted at 50% value).  Any product that meets one of these requirements AND is sourced (extracted, manufactured, and purchased) within 100 miles gets the local multiplier, and counts for twice the base contributing cost (capped at 200% of cost, so by our assessment, reused/salvaged can’t count the multiplier.

Add all of those up, divide by materials costs in Divisions 3-10, and boom! You’ve got it.

Tweetable Badger Brief:

The SRM credit for v4.1 is pretty straight-forward (for the most part). Projects should be able to consistently earn 1 point, if not 2 for SRM, which is good news for most project teams.

Material Ingredient Reporting

Option 1:

Option 1 of MIR is pretty similar to the v4 requirements, but mimics v.41 for EPDs by requiring 20 products from 5 manufactures for most BD&C projects, and 10 products for Core&Shell, Warehouses, and ID&C projects. Products need to meet the same chemical inventory standards to at most 0.1% (1,000 PPM) to comply.

The compliance options are about the same, and we’d bet you’re still going to be seeing Health Product Declarations most commonly, with a smattering of Cradle to Cradle, Declare Labels, and Product Lens Certificates.  

Compliant options include:

  • Manufacturer Inventory – complete inventory must be publically available with all ingredients identified by CASRN, and must disclose ingredient/chemical role and hazard amount either through Greenscreen List Translator scores or Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
  • Health Product Declarations with full disclosure of known hazards
  • Cradle to Cradle certified under version 3 (or more recent) OR Material Health Certificate with a Material Health of Bronze or higher
  • Declare – the label must be designated as Red List Free or Declared or designated as LBC compliant that demonstrate inventories to 0.1% (1,000 PPM)
  • ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Standard – must earn 3 points
  • Product Lens Certification
  • Facts – NSF/ANSI 336 Sustainability Assessment for Commercial Furnishings Fabric

Any compliant reports that are third party verified that includes verification of the content inventory are worth 1.5 products. If you search the HPD database and use the 3rd party verified filter, there are less than 100 that have it, so the multiplier may not be the most useful at least this year.

Tweetable Badger Brief:

Option 1 of MIR was relatively achievable in v4 – and it gets a bit easier in v4.1, especially for IDC, Core and Shell and Warehouse projects. It still takes a bit of smart product selection, but we see more and more HPDs every day.

We’d still caution that not all HPDs comply with LEED requirements, so please double check before you get too far down the road.

Option 2:

Option 2 again mimics the EPD treatment for v4.1. Teams need to use 10 compliant products OR products that constitute 10% by cost to earn compliance. There are 3 categories for compliance with varying levels of reward.

  • Material Ingredient Screening and Optimization (valued at 50% by cost or ½ product
  • Advanced Inventory and Assessment (valued at 100% by cost or 1 product)
  • Material Ingredient Optimization (valued at 150% by cost or 1.5 products)

What the heck do any of those entail? Welp, for the first option, the manufacturer must screen to 1000 PPM, THEN create a product specific action plan that entails all sorts of steps. Our guess – don’t waste your time searching.

The next two? Perhaps you’ll luck into them. For Advanced Inventory and Assessment, you’ll need any of the following:

  • HPD or inventory down to 100 PPM that is third party verified AND has no Greenscreen LT-1 or GHS Category 1 hazards. 
  • HPD or inventory down to 100 PPM that is third party verified AND at least 75% by weight is assessed using the Greenscreen Benchmark AND the remaining 25% if inventoried AND the Greenscreen assessment is publicly available.
  • Declare label that is red list free AND third party verified
  • Cradle to Cradle v3 or higher with Material Health of Bronze

Material Ingredient Optimization

  • HPD or inventory down to 100 PPM that is third party verified AND at least 95% by weight is assessed using the Greenscreen Benchmark AND the remaining 5% if inventoried AND the Greenscreen assessment is publicly available.
  • Cradle to Cradle v3 or higher with Material Health of Silver

There’s a local multiplier here too, if you’ve found the magical unicorn product that is sourced from w/in 100 miles, it counts twice, up to 200% by cost or 2 products.

Can you earn this? Probably. We’re only talking 10 products with Cradle to Cradle certifications, or third party verified Declare or HPDs with a stringent assessment. We’ll be diving into some research to see what products actually meet those and how you could use them on your next project.

Tweetable Badger Brief:

To sum it up, both SRM and MIR credits are more achievable in LEED v4.1. Credit options were removed that were impossible anyway, and thresholds are much more manageable. Project teams should be able to come away with 2 points for sure, and perhaps 3-4 if they work for it.


For more resources and information on LEED v4.1 and how it may affect your project teams, check out the other posts in our series below:

Part One: Introducing the LEED v4.1 Update
Part Two: Green Bader’s LEED v4.1 Update Review – Environmental Product Declarations, Option 1

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