How LEED v4.1 Credits Affect Product Manufacturers and Water Conservation

Posted On: 
Aug 20, 2019
How LEED v4.1 Credits Affect Product Manufacturers and Water Conservation

LEED v4.1 will be an effective tool to help reduce water waste around the world. According to the United Nations, more than 2 billion people are living with the risk of reduced access to freshwater. Every day almost 1,000 children die to preventable water and sanitation related diseases. How can LEED v4.1 help conserve water and what can building product manufacturers do to help the cause?

For several years, the USGBC has hosted the WaterBuild Summit. Stakeholders from multiple countries work together to solve the water problems facing the planet. Typical issues include managing water that’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, water quality, and water temperatures. Water resilience is a critical part of this conversation.

Water resilience can be increased if infrastructure and technology is harnessed to withstand hurricanes, track rainwater quality and quantity, potable drinking water, and mitigate risks for citizens to access clean water. Building product manufacturers, design professionals, government officials, and scientists have been involved on these discussions about water resilience.

LEED v4.1 has not been launched yet. However, the beta ratings system is being tested by project teams and receiving feedback. In LEED v4.1 BD+C, Outdoor Water Use Reduction, Indoor Water Use Reduction and Building-level Water Metering are required prerequisites for achieving Water Efficiency (WE) credits.

LEED v4.1 Water Efficiency

The Water Efficiency prerequisites and credits in LEED v4.1 BD+C include many water conservation strategies. The installation of permanent water meters that measure the total potable water use for the project. Irrigation of outdoor spaces must be shown to either be unnecessary or to be reduced by at least 30% from typical figures, through the selection of native or adapted plants for landscaping, alternative water sources for irrigation or irrigation efficiency measures. Using appliances with certain efficiency standards is mandatory, as is the installation of WaterSense certified, low-flow fixtures, to reduce indoor water use.

Building product manufacturers that make water meters and WaterSense-certified fixtures have many opportunities in LEED v4.1. TOTO as been one of the leaders in manufacturing water efficient low-flow fixtures. The documentary People, Our Planet, Water details their manufacturing efforts and sustainability practices. By developing Health Product Declarations (HPDs), EPDs, and Declare Labels, they have been able to benefit from the current version of LEED v4.

LEED v4.1 Rainwater Management Credit

The LEED v4.1 Sustainable Sites category's Rainwater Management credit encourages projects to mitigate the problems of stormwater runoff pollution by responsibly managing rainwater on-site. LEED v4.1 promotes the use of rain gardens, vegetated roofs, permeable paving and water collection features, such as cisterns, which can be employed to contain at least 80% of the water from regional or local rain events. Projects with a zero lot line must treat runoff from impervious surfaces to reduce the likelihood of pollutants entering into local waterways.

Building product manufacturers that create vegetated roof products, permeable paving products, and cisterns may benefit from LEED v4.1. Manufacturers that develop HPDs, EPDs, and other transparency documentation will also benefit from these investments. If you manufacturer water related products (fixtures, irrigation, meters), how do you envision LEED v4.1 affecting your business?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank