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A New Way to Earn Up to 4 LEED Materials & Resources Credits

Posted by: Greg Deitz on November 25, 2016

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When LEED v4 was unveiled in 2013, lots of changes came along with it. One of the biggest changes, in our opinion, has to do with an overhaul of the LEED Materials & Resources credits.

LEED v3 called on project teams to source building products based on a percentage of the total cost of materials that made up the LEED building project. It focused exclusively on single product attributes (such as recycled content) and materials costs.

LEED v4 instead places emphasis on the importance of product lifecycle and transparency of product ingredients. LEED Materials & Resources credits now encourage project teams to invest in products and materials that disclose lifecycle information, track environmental impacts of products and reveal the chemical ingredients used in the product. Not only does this change to the LEED Materials & Resources credits encourage project teams to spend time seeking out environmentally responsible products, but it also rewards manufacturers that produce products with improved (and verified) lifecycle impacts.

How to Earn LEED Materials & Resources Points

To gain points in the LEED Materials & Resources category, project teams will need to source 20 qualifying products sourced from five different qualifying manufacturers. These manufacturers, and the products they produce, that have environmental product declarations (EPDs) and either health product declarations (HPDs) or material health assessments (MHAs) can contribute to LEED points.

Even if you’re not currently pursuing a LEED project, paying attention to the building products you use – including cable – offers benefits. Products that can offer LEED Materials & Resources credits ensure that:

  • Products and materials have known hazards revealed
  • Products and materials have undergone processes to document their lifecycle and environmental impacts

How These Products Make an Impact

The LEED Materials & Resources credits in LEED v4 will transform how building products are measured in terms of energy and environmental impacts. The information provided in the necessary EPDs highlights environmental impacts like:

  • Global warming potential (greenhouse gases)
  • Embodied energy
  • Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer
  • Acidification of land and water sources (reduction in pH, which changes land and water chemistry)
  • Eutrophication (excess nutrients in water)
  • Formation of tropospheric ozone (smog), which can impact human health
  • Depletion of fossil fuel energy resources



Poll Question
In your next LEED project, will you focus on LEED Materials & Resources credits?

LEED Materials & Resources Credits Available from Belden

Based on the number of LEED points earned out of a maximum of 110, a building receives one of four rating levels for green design, construction, operations and/or maintenance: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

Now, several of Belden’s product families have transparency documents in place that contribute up to four LEED Materials & Resources credits as part of building certification. These documents include EPDs, material health assessments (Product Lens™ reports) and HPDs.

To ensure transparency and credibility, Belden’s EPDs and material ingredient documents are all third-party verified by UL Environment. Through the use of UL Environment’s Product Lens certification, Belden achieves greater transparency by disclosing down to 100 ppm vs. 1000 ppm, which is 10 times more disclosure than other manufacturers provide. Belden’s Product Lens documents are easy to read, and provide chemical assessments for every stage of the product’s lifecycle so you know exactly how the product impacts the environment.

To learn more about why Belden chose to be one of the first manufacturers to enroll in UL Environment’s Product Lens program, read this recent article published by Green Building & Design magazine. And be sure to bookmark www.belden.com/leed; this site is continuously updated as more Belden products achieve transparency documentation, which is necessary for LEED Materials & Resources credits.

a screenshot of the Belden LEED page

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