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Oldcastle Architectural LEEDing the Way for New USGBC Standards

On November 1, 2016, major changes to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC®) LEED® rating system will go into effect, including a significant overhaul of the Materials and Resources (MR) category that will shift expectations on sustainability reporting and performance. Despite the fact that adhering to LEED guidelines is often optional, products that meet the new complex and demanding transparency and performance requirements of LEED v4 will be more likely to gain favor with the architectural community moving forward.

While some of the former credits remain, LEED v4 introduces three entirely new credits in the MR category, focused specifically on product disclosure--Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), sourcing of raw materials reporting, and materials ingredients reporting.

Environmental Product Declaration Credit

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD®) is an independently verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of a product across eight categories – from the extraction of the raw materials to the energy required to manufacture, transport, install, maintain, and eventually recycle or dispose of the product. Oldcastle Architectural has contracted the international sustainability experts at ThinkStep® to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the InsulTech™ System and Trenwyth® family of architectural masonry products. Life Cycle Assessments add up all environmental impacts throughout a product’s life-cycle using the method of assessment called a Product Category Rule. Once completed, ThinkStep will submit the LCA for verification by UL, a worldwide safety consulting and certification company. Upon receiving UL verification, ThinkStep will write and publish the EPD report. In order to obtain the EPD credit, a project will need to use a minimum of 20 products with EPD reports.

Sourcing of Raw Materials Credit

This section of LEED v4 encourages manufacturers to look into where they obtain the raw materials used to manufacture their products. The Raw Materials credit will be awarded if at least 25% by cost of the total value of permanently-installed products on the project meet at least one of the responsible extraction criteria, one of which includes the use of recycled content materials. In addition to a number of Trenwyth products that already contain significant recycled content, Oldcastle Architectural manufacturing facilities may have the ability to add recycled content to other CMUs.

Material Ingredients Credit

Material ingredient reporting awards one credit if at least 20 different permanently-installed products report chemical inventory of the product to at least 0.1% (1000 ppm). The purpose of this credit is to help manufacturers understand the potential health issues associated with the various raw materials used for manufacturing their products, which could affect the health, safety and welfare of a building’s occupants. Oldcastle Architectural has contracted ThinkStep to develop Health Product Declarations (HPDs) for the InsulTech System and the Trenwyth family of products.

For downloadable versions of Echelon Masonry EPDs and HPDs, visit our Sustainability Library.

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