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					Life Cycle Assessment and the
 LEED® Green Building Rating

             James L. Hoff, DBA

     Preview of research to be presented at the
     2008 Roof Consultants Institute Convention
                   March 2, 2008
                  Phoenix, Arizona
The U.S. Green Building Council
    The U.S. Green Building Council
•   Founded in 1993
•   Over 11,000 member organizations
•   Mission: “Transform the way buildings are
    designed, built and operated”
•   Sponsor of Greenbuild, the world’s largest
    green building convention
•   Founded the LEED® Green Building
    Rating System™ in 2000
      The LEED® Rating System
•   Sets a “nationally accepted benchmark for the
    design, construction, and operation of high
    performance green buildings”
•   Gives building owners a tool for “immediate
    and measurable impact on their buildings’
•   Provides a roadmap for “measuring and
    documenting success for every building type
    and phase of a building lifecycle”
        The LEED® Rating System

•   A comprehensive but simple approach
    focused on five key concepts:
    –   Sustainable Building Sites
    –   Water Efficiency
    –   Energy Efficiency / Atmospheric Impact
    –   Sustainable Materials Selection
    –   Indoor Environmental Quality
        The LEED® Rating System
•   Different forms for different building types
    and phases of the building lifecycle:
    –   LEED for New Construction / Major Renovations
    –   LEED for Existing Buildings and Maintenance
    –   LEED for Commercial Interiors
    –   LEED for Core & Shell
    –   LEED for Homes (Pending)
    –   LEED for Neighborhoods (Pending)
         The LEED® Rating System
•     A weighted scoring system based on
      relative importance of each key element:
        Sustainable Sites                 14 Points
        Water Efficiency                   5 Points
        Energy / Atmosphere               17 Points
        Materials / Resources             13 Points
        Indoor Environ. Quality           15 Points
        Innovation / Design                5 Points
                                          69 Points

    LEED Certified: 26-32 pts.    LEED Gold:     39-51 pts.
    LEED Silver:    33-38 pts.    LEED Platinum: 52-69 pts.
        The LEED® Rating System
      Advantages of LEED

• Promotes the “Big Picture”
• Keeps it Simple
• Fosters Competition
• Builds Green Awareness
            The LEED® Rating System
         Limitations of LEED
• Limited Reach
 –   Less than 2% of all buildings since 2000 have
     achieved certification

• Potential for Confusion
 –   “Is your roof LEED-approved?”

• Inadequate Emphasis on
  LEED, Roofing & Durability
Looking Back to 1970:
           OPEC oil embargo
             • Quality of roofing asphalt decreased as
               more gasoline was extracted from every
               barrel of oil
             • Roofing asphalt became more brittle,
               less plastic

           Asbestos
             • Traditional roofing “felts” relied on
               asbestos fibers for strength
             • Asbestos fibers replaced by lower
               strength organic (paper) fibers
              LEED, Roofing & Durability
           Looking Back to 1970:
Thicker insulation caused “thermal shock” as surface
temperatures varied by over 1500 F in a single day…

… causing roof membranes to age prematurely.
              LEED, Roofing & Durability
           Looking Back to 1970:
New material alternatives were introduced…

… but with a steep learning curve and some initial failures
  LEED, Roofing & Durability
Looking Back to 1970:
      “With the green building movement still in
      its infancy, the construction industry is
      rushing to promote ‘green’ products with all
      the excitement that comes with building a
      new market. History shows us, however,
      that while we must move forward with
      innovation and excitement, we must also
      take care to be responsible market
      stewards. ‘Green’ products manufacturers
      should be careful to provide defendable
      proof that these products perform as

      Kenneth Mentzer, President, North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.
      Building Design and Construction “White Paper on Sustainability”, 2003, p. 13.
      LEED & Durability
  The USGBC Response

Life Cycle Assessment
                LEED & Durability
          The USGBC and LCA
•   LCA working group established in 2005
•   LCA implementation guidelines published
    in January, 2007
•   Formal LCA implementation proposed for
•   Informal LCA implementation started in
    2007 by adding several proprietary rating
    systems under Innovation / Design credits.
                Life Cycle Assessment
                 What is LCA?
•   A scientific approach to evaluating the
    environmental impact of a product
    throughout its life cycle.
    – Scientific Approach: Based on measurable
      and predictable attributes
    – Focused on Impact: What is the net result to
      the environment?
    – Throughout the Life Cycle: A “cradle-to-grave”
      – or “cradle-to-cradle” approach
                                  Life Cycle Assessment
                    The Product Life Cycle
Inputs:                                                                                                     Outputs:
                                Raw Materials Acquisition
Raw                                                                                                         Atmospheric
Materials                                                                                                   Emissions
Energy                                     Manufacturing                                                    Waterborne
                               Use / Re-use / Maintenance                                                   Solid Waste
                                  Recycling / Waste Mgmt.                                                   Other
                                               System Boundary

      Figure 1: Life Cycle Stages
      Source: Life Cycle Assessment: Principles and Practice. Scientific Applications International Corporation, 2006, p.1.
                                  Life Cycle Assessment
                       Environmental Impacts
EPA “Top-Ten” Environmental Impacts
Impact:                                                                   Measure:
Global Warming Potential (GWP)                                            kg CO2 Equivalent
Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)                                           kg CFC Equivalent
Photochemical Oxidant Potential (PCOP)                                    kg NOX Equivalent
Acidification Potential                                                   H+ Moles Equivalent
Eutrification                                                             kg Nitrogen Equivalent
Health Toxicity (Cancer)                                                  kg Benzene Equivalent
Health Toxicity (Non-Cancer)                                              kg Toluene Equivalent
Health Toxicity (Air Pollutants)                                          kg: DALYs Equivalent
Eco-Toxicity Potential                                                    kg 2,4-D Equivalent
Fossil Fuel Use                                                           mJ Surplus Energy /
                                                                          mJ Extracted Energy

Source: EPA Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and other Environmental Impacts (TRACI)
                   Life Cycle Assessment
                 The LCA Process
•   Three Basic Steps
    –   Compile inventory of relevant inputs / outputs
    –   Evaluate the impacts associated with each input /
    –   Interpret the results to help make informed decisions

•   A Comparative - Not Absolute - Approach
    –   Typically used to choose among alternatives and
        drive continuous improvement
    –   Example: 1970 Coca-Cola LCA
                    Life Cycle Assessment
                      LCA Benefits

•   Avoids Shifting of Impacts
•   Allows Consideration of Trade-Offs
•   Promotes Situation-Based Decisions

              Building Construction Examples:

     Limestone Concrete versus Fly Ash Concrete (USA)

    Plastic Insulation versus Mineral Wool & Cork (Europe)
                 Life Cycle Assessment
                 LCA Limitations
•   Expensive - Takes Time & Money
•   Complex – Difficult to Understand &
•   Cannot by Itself Determine Cost-
    Effectiveness or Practicality

             Building Construction Example:

     Use of Cover Boards in Insulated Roof Assemblies
                    Life Cycle Assessment
            LCA, LCC, and Durability
•    LCA not focused on durability as directly
     as Life Cycle Cost (LCC)
•    But LCA may be a more accurate
     approach to LCC if long-term
     environmental impact is the best
     economic measure of construction cost

                 Building Construction Example:

    20-Year “Eco-Friendly” Roof versus 30-Year Traditional Roof
                       Life Cycle Assessment
                 Current Status of LCA
•       Part of ISO 14000 Standards for Environmental
    –     ISO 14040 describes how LCA should be used to evaluate
    –     ISO 14020 describes how LCA should be communicated
          (Environmental Product Declaration or EPD)

•       Implemented with increasing frequency in Europe
    –     Hundreds of EPDs currently in place for construction products
    –     Driven by global manufacturers seeking the highest common
          denominator to simplify product lines
                         Life Cycle Assessment
                      The Future of LCA
•       ISO 14000 will become the global model
    –    ISO 14000 has been endorsed as the basic model for managing
         environmental impacts
    –    Almost all major global companies are seeking ISO 14000
         registration for facilities – and this will carry over to products

•       EPD will become the new MSDS
    –    Specifiers will require EPDs or similar data for all products
                         Life Cycle Assessment
    Short-Term Impact on the Roofing Industry

•       Confusion Will Reign
    –     ISO 140OO is a standard method – not a standard
    –     USGBC’s ‘kick-start” endorsement of different proprietary
          approaches will only add to the confusion

•       The Early Adapters May Significantly Influence
        the Rules
    –     New attachment technologies
    –     Industry recycling programs
                         Life Cycle Assessment
    Long-Term Impact on the Roofing Industry

•       LCA will likely favor thinner, stronger products
    –     Lightweight single-ply membranes
    –     Lightweight foam insulations

•       LCA will favor systems that not only can be
        installed quickly – but also removed & recycled
    –     New attachment technologies
    –     Industry recycling programs
                         Life Cycle Assessment
         What Can the Roofing Industry Do?
•       Get Educated and Involved
    –     Be prepared to address the coming confusion
    –     Be prepared to assure that durability is a key consideration

•       Consider Industry-Wide LCA / EPD Programs
    –     Establish a common baseline of generic product groupings
    –     Support differentiation and competition above the baseline

•       Support the Newly-Formed Center for High
        Performance Roofing
    –     Broad-based industry voice for green building education, research, and
    –     Washington-based for policy effectiveness
    –     Industry-based for consensus and common effort
    Life Cycle Assessment and LEED
The Roofing Industry Challenge
           "As an industry, we have spent far
           too much time and far too many
           dollars fixing past problems related
           to durability not to become
           unflinching advocates for the utmost
           importance of durability in any green
           building initiative.”

           James L. Hoff. “Advancing Sustainable Roofing: LEED and the Commercial
           Roofing Industry." Proceedings of the 20th International Convention of the Roof
           Consultants Institute, Miami Beach, Florida, March, 2004.

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