January 18, 2024

Sourcing of Raw Materials-Biobased Materials & FSC Wood

Lauren-Richardson-Sustainability-Associate-Green-Badger-1
Lauren Richardson, Sustainability Manager at Green Badger

Earning LEED points toward the Sourcing of Raw Materials credit is a hard credit for most teams to earn.

There are five ways to achieve contributions and Green Badger finds it’s best to use the entire menu of options to reach at least 15% of total materials costs to earn 1 point, or at least 30% for two points (a stretch for most teams). 

  1. Extended Producer Responsibility (valued at 50% by cost)
  2. Biobased Products (valued at 50% by cost)
  3. FSC Wood Products
  4. Material Reuse (valued at 200% by cost)
  5. Recycled Content

See our recent blog about strategies for Material Reuse and Recycled Content and keep reading to learn more about using biobased products and FSC wood products.

Biobased materials are composed in whole or part of biologically renewable resources such as renewable agricultural materials (plant, animal, and marine materials), or forestry materials. Some of the most popular products listed in the bio-preferred database include:

Ceiling Tiles

  • USG Mars, Eclipse, Frost, Glacier, Olympia, Radar, and Aspen
  • Armstrong Dune, Ultima, Cirrus, Mesa, Calla, Tectum, School Zone, INVISACOUSTICS, ACOUSTIBuilt
  • Certainteed Symphony, Cashmere, Sereno 

Insulation

  • Owens Corning EcoTouch Pink Fiberglas insulation
  • Owens Corning Thermafiber SAFB FF and UltraBatt FF, Firespan FF 
  • Roxul Rockwool AFB, AFB Evo, Safe n Sound and Comfortbatt

Flooring

  • Mohawk SmartStrand
  • Interface Modular Carpet CQuest GB/Bio/BioX

Non-Carpet Flooring

  • Forbo Marmoleum
  • Tarkett Linoleum

Wall Coverings

  • Carnegie Xorel

Composite Panels

  • Roseburg UltraBlend, SkyBlend

Paints

  • Sherwin William Emerald line, ProMar® 200 Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Extra White Semi-Gloss, and  Multi-Purpose Waterbased Acrylic Alkyd Stain Blocking Primer

There are even a number of biobased roof coatings, adhesives, concrete curing agents and more. A great source to find these and other items is the sustainable agriculture network website https://www.biopreferred.gov.

An alternative method for obtaining biobased materials involves confirming adherence to the Sustainable Agriculture Standard through manufacturer-declared conformance. Although this option requires additional effort on your part, it carries an equivalent value for the LEED credit. To fulfill this requirement, you must submit a signed letter from the raw material supplier affirming compliance with these standards, This documentation should be composed and dated within one year before the project registration date. 

Below is an example of a letter for biobased Armstrong TECTUM® ceiling tiles. It is important to note that documentation for biobased materials does vary. 

Example of Biobased letter for Armstrong TECTUM

Sustainable FSC-Managed Wood

Another successful means to achieving these LEED credits is using sustainable wood products. While wood is known for its durability, recyclability, aesthetic appeal and lower carbon footprint compared to many building materials, we must remain focused on utilizing sustainably sourced wood to ensure forest preservation.

Forests play a critical role in climate regulation, air purification, and water filtration. They serve as habitats for over two-thirds of terrestrial wildlife and plants while offering a renewable supply of essential materials. Managing these vast and vital resources in accordance with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards is pivotal to safeguarding habitats, preserving biodiversity, protecting old-growth trees, preventing deforestation, and ensuring fair labor practices and safe working environments. 

The FSC operates through a global network of businesses and forest managers dedicated to safeguarding resilient and healthy forests and unites this expansive supply chain to enhance market accessibility. As the most trusted symbol for sustainable forestry globally, the FSC label signifies that every material used originates from responsibly managed FSC-certified forests, which ensure no net loss of forest over time.

The FSC ensures the proper maintenance of these forests, directly contributing to safeguarding both wildlife and the communities residing within. When pursuing this credit option, an invoice, the FSC label, and a chain of custody statement are required documentation.

FCS 100% label
This label signifies that every material used originates from responsibly managed, FSC-certified forests.
FSC MIX label
This label signifies that products are made from a mixture of materials from FSC-certified forests, recycled materials and/or FSC-controlled wood. 

Understanding Chain of Custody

Chain of custody certification is how the FSC verifies that forest-based materials are produced according to their standards and are credibly used along the product’s path from the forest to finished goods, through every step of the supply chain.

Getting Help with Your Project

A resource that can assist project teams locating products and manufacturers is Certified Wood Products, which provides lumber, plywood, fire-retardant, and preservative-treated FSC-Certified wood products.

Additionally, Woodworks offers a directory of companies to assist with your projects. Contact Woodworks to learn about wood products, ask performance and supply questions, and connect with a manufacturer or supplier to scout material for your next project.

Conclusion

Biobased and FSC-certified wood products might not be found in abundance, but diligent research can uncover reliable options and trusted resources. Opting for these certified products not only helps fulfill the Sourcing of Raw Materials credit but also catalyzes a transformation within the construction industry by integrating these sustainable and renewable resources. By making informed choices and supporting responsible sourcing, stakeholders contribute to the broader shift towards environmentally conscious practices in construction. This commitment not only aligns with green building standards but also fosters a positive impact on ecosystems and communities. Choosing certified materials is a tangible step toward creating a more sustainable built environment, showcasing the industry’s dedication to responsible sourcing, and encouraging the adoption of eco-friendly practices on a larger scale.

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