Engineered Systems Magazine

LEED® awards points for carbon neutral materials and products in building projects

September 7, 2007

The USGBC announced that projects seeking certification under the LEED® Green Building Rating System™ can now earn an "Innovation in Design" point by using building products and materials that have been certified as “carbon neutral” by a reputable, independent third-party certifier, and that the product’s entire line of supply and manufacture is climate neutral.

“Awarding a LEED innovation point for carbon neutral products is yet another example of how LEED helps advance environmental building practices,” said Tom Hicks, vice president of LEED, USGBC. “Products that deliver climate benefits that go above and beyond the standard version of key building materials support USGBC’s desire to move towards a more life cycle based approach throughout the LEED rating system.”

Innovation in Design points are awarded to LEED projects that develop new solutions, employ new technologies, educate, or realize exemplary performance in another area. USGBC is cataloging all Innovation in Design points that have been awarded to LEED certified projects and will publish them online at www.usgbc.org.

“Reducing and off-setting the greenhouse gas emissions created by the manufacture and use of building materials is critical,” noted Scot Horst, chair of the LEED Steering Committee. This Innovation and Design point rewards proactive suppliers who take a climate leadership position with their products and ensure that climate benefits can be delivered on a credible, measurable and transparent basis.”

Products and materials are climate neutral when there are zero net greenhouse gases (GHG), such as CO2, from the entire life cycle of the product. The manufacturer calculates the total GHG impact utilizing life cycle analysis and then obtains carbon emission reduction credits (ERCs), such as through green power offset purchases or carbon sequestration projects. The offsets must equal or exceed the GHG produced during extraction, processing, manufacture, transport and end use of a product, and be certified by a recognized third party using sound scientific and accounting principles.