Building design professionals, facility managers and others seeking LEED building certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) can now look to certified sustainable ceramic tiles, glass tiles, and tile installation materials to earn the needed credits. To contribute, tiles and related installation materials on a project (mortars, grouts, etc.) must meet the extensive environmental and social responsibility requirements of Green Squared, the ceramic tile industry’s multi-attribute, cradle-to-grave sustainability standard.
Specifically, Green Squared Certified products now qualify to contribute toward a new LEED Pilot Credit offered for using “Certified Multi-attribute Products and Materials.” The credit requires that certification details, including which Green Squared electives were satisfied, are disclosed, and that a product lifecycle assessment (LCA) has been conducted.
The intent of the newly available credit is “to encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts,” according to USGBC.
To garner a LEED point under this credit, at least 25% by cost of the permanently installed building products on a project must meet a USGBC-approved product sustainability standard, like Green Squared, and have third-party validation to prove it. For Green Squared Certified products, that validation comes from a thorough assessment and certification from any of three international sustainability leaders: UL Environment, NSF International and SCS Global.
“USGBC included Green Squared as an approved multi-attribute sustainability standard because the criteria are rigorous and fully in-line with the intent of the new credit,” says Bill Griese, the Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives for Tile Council of North America (TCNA). “It’s not easy to get on that list. The Committee looks at each standard closely to make sure products that meet them are truly sustainable. The credibility of the LEED program relies on that being a rigorous review and approval process.”
In other words, by scrutinizing sustainability standards and recognizing only those that truly identify sustainable products, this LEED pilot credit makes it easier to build green by providing the criteria from which a specifier can choose products.
“When you see the Green Squared Certified logo you know the product manufacturer has invested in sustainable production,” says Griese. “USGBC recognition underscores that and helps those looking for LEED certification through use of sustainable materials.”
The new pilot credit is available immediately for registration on current LEED v3 and v4 projects and will continue to be available when USGBC transitions exclusively to LEED v4 in October 2016. How much a Green Squared Certified product contributes toward earning this pilot credit depends on the amount of recycled content, closed loop manufacturing waste reclamation, and/or regional raw materials used to produce the product.
Griese, who worked with USGBC and other sustainability experts on the new pilot credit further added: “The release of this new Pilot Credit establishes an important precedent for the specification of certified multi-attribute sustainable products for the years ahead. It affords architects and designers the flexibility to select product types based on design preferences and cost, and then to optimize based on sustainability within each relevant selection.”
The new pilot credit was posted to the LEED Pilot Credit Library August 15, and the full text is available at www.usgbc.org/credits.