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What We Can Learn from LEED v4: New Perspective on Raw Materials

One revamped initiative in the North American green building industry involves an expanded look into raw material characterization. LEED v4 includes several new provisions in this regard, addressed by MR Credit 3 "Building product disclosure and optimization – sourcing of raw materials," and MR Credit 4 "Building product and optimization – material ingredients."

Under MR Credit 3 the use of recycled materials can, in part, contribute towards earning a point, but so too can the use of products whose raw material suppliers publically report their extraction locations and commitment to long-term sustainability and/or participate in established leadership extraction programs.

MR Credit 4 sets requirements for the ingredients which make-up raw materials. Under this credit, points are awarded for the use of products whose suppliers effectively demonstrate the chemical inventory of their raw materials, participate in benchmarking or certification programs associated with minimization of hazardous chemicals, and/or engage in supply chain sustainability efforts.

Both, MR Credit 3 and 4, are a strong indication of a rapidly growing trend towards expanded requirements for raw material transparency. Many industries are currently in discussion as there are mixed feelings on how best to address this new trend. Additionally, there are currently at least two appeals to LEED v4 MR Credit 4 as some feel that full ingredient transparency could lead to the revelation of proprietary formulas and manufacturing techniques. Stay tuned for more information as this story unfolds . . .

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