USGBC releases ruling

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its LEED Interpretation Ruling, which sets the standard for recycled content claims and documentation for LEED projects. The official LEED Interpretation Ruling deems national averages unacceptable for LEED documentation and is a step toward total product transparency and industry integrity.

The ruling addresses the issue of potential "greenwashing" by some manufacturers. The LEED Interpretation Ruling states: "An average recycled content claim, especially one that incorporates multiple product lines or places of manufacture, does not meet the credit intent and is not acceptable for LEED documentation." The ruling demands product- and plant-specific recycled content evaluation and documentation. It also states "recycled content claims must be specific to the installed product (and therefore place of manufacture); regional or national claims do not meet credit requirements."

USGBC's clarification provides a transparent, clear system for LEED project teams pursuing the recycled content credit. Recycled content documented on a plant and product basis allows the most sustainable products to be selected within LEED projects and fosters continual improvement in products and operations.