In the past few weeks, I have been reminded about a few things when it comes to LEED projects. A woodworker not only needs to know what rating system and version but also LEED interpretations and addendum that may impact their work.
LEED interpretations are precedent-setting rulings while addenda are permanent changes and improvements to LEED 2009 rating systems and reference guides. LEED interpretations are what were previously called Credit Interpretation Rulings, or CIR’s. These interpretations can have a dramatic effect and have had serious impact on woodworkers in at least one case.
Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from a fellow Architectural Woodwork Institute member who was completing a LEED 2009 v3 project. He explained that when he submitted his paperwork for the MRc 7 Certified Wood credit he was informed that he needed to be FSC chain-of-custody to earn this credit. This is correct.
This all changed in July 2010 with an addendum to the Reference Guide which further clarified who needs to be chain-of-custody certified. At that time, the United States Green Building Council stated the following: “Entities that install an FSC-certified product on the project building/site (typically project contractors or subcontractors, but also furniture installers and the like), do not require CoC certification as long as they do not modify the products packaging or form except as is required for installation.” Previously, a woodworker who furnished and installed their product and bought FSC-certified materials could get credit for this material.
In that same addendum, the USGBC stated that they would not allow partial claims of certified products. It used a door as an example of a product having multiple wood components where all wood components must be FSC certified or none of the product will count toward the credit.
Then in July 2012 I received an email from one of the AWI Sustainable Resource Committee members letting me know of a recent change to the MRc 5: Regional Materials credit. This change is an addendum to the rating system and has added a new option two which allows for different accounting for the various modes of transportation.
This new option has the following formula: “Building materials or products shipped by rail or water have been extracted, harvested or recovered as well as manufactured within a 500 mile (800 kilometer) total travel distance of the project site using a weighted average determined through the following formula: (Distance by rail/3) + (Distance by inland waterway/2) + (Distance by sea/15) + (Distance by all other means) = 500 miles [800 kilometers].”
There are hundreds if not thousands of interpretations or addenda in the Materials & Resources section of the credits alone. With the LEED programs in a constant state of flux, woodworkers participating in these projects must keep up or run the risk of non-compliance.
To review the interpretations and addenda visit USGBC’s website. You do not have to be a member of USGBC to access this information, however you will need to create a site user account.