Paints, Transparency Awarded in LEED v4


Project teams who specify paints and coatings by manufacturers committed to material transparency may qualify for a revamped building product credit under LEED v4, rating system officials say.

As D+D News reported on Monday (Sept. 17), the U.S. Green Building Council’s latest iteration of LEED features some new rules and credit combinations for paint and coatings work to count toward project certification.

In additional information supplied after "LEED v4 Paints New Challenges" was published, USGBC said paints and coatings could also qualify for additional credits under its reformulated “Building Product Disclosure and Optimization” (BPDO) credit category.

Under the green-building rating system, paints and coatings are considered “permanently installed building products” and are therefore included in all three Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credits, USGBC says.

The suite of BPDO credits within the Materials and Resources credit category consist of BPDO-Environmental Product Declarations, BPDO-Sourcing of Raw Materials, and BPDO-Material Ingredients. For these credits, all of the “Option 1” tracks are calculated by number of products, while “Option 2” tracks are calculated based on cost, USGBC says.

Intent in Disclosure Category

USGBC says the intent of the suite of BPDO credits—which features a maximum of two points each in each 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.”

Organization officials say that disclosing information on product ingredients and processes will result in a faster and greater change in the marketplace, according to reports.

For detailed requirement information on how project teams can achieve the credits and earn points, see the links below.

Notes on Paint and Coatings in the Credit

A few notes specifically on how paint and coatings can earn points toward project certification under the v4 BPDO alignment appear below, per USGBC.

  • Under BPDO - Environmental Product Declarations, Option 1: A total of 20 products that meet the requirement (from at least five different manufacturers) count as one point. Each paint and coating product with a different purpose (semi-gloss vs. matte, for example) that has an Environmental Product Declaration meeting the credit requirements counts toward earning the point. 
  • Under BPDO - Sourcing Raw Materials, Option 1: Paints and coating purchased from companies with a corporate sustainability report meeting the requirements receive credit. Here, as above, one point is earned by specifying 20 products that meet the requirement (from at least five different manufacturers).
  • Under BPDO - Sourcing Raw Materials, Option 2: Teams must show that at least 25 percent of the materials cost has some sustainable value, including Extended Producer Responsibility. The American Coatings Association-supported PaintCare program meets the requirements for Extended Producer Responsibility, so manufacturers that participate in it can claim the credit.
  • Under BPDO - Material Ingredients, Option 1: Paints and coatings with disclosed ingredients meeting one of the program criteria may receive credit.
  • Under BPDO - Material Ingredients, Option 2: Paints and coatings that do not contain hazardous substances as listed in the credit requirements may contribute based on cost.

LEED v4, which was approved by 86 percent of USGBC members in July, will be formally launched in November, along with further guidance documents.


Tagged categories: Architectural coatings; Coating chemistry; Coatings Technology; Green building; Green coatings; Green design; LEED; LEED v4; U.S. Green Building Council

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