NRMCA prevails in securing Resilience pilot credits for LEED v4 project certification

Responding to National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and allied stakeholders, the U.S. Green Building Council has adopted LEED rating system pilot credits that provide incentives for project teams to plan, design and build for resilience. NRMCA proposed a pilot credit in September 2013, working with a group headed by the Resilient Design Institute’s Alex Wilson, a longtime resiliency advocate who had submitted a pilot credit proposal with similar goals.


Through collaboration, Wilson’s group adopted some of the key parts in the NRMCA proposal, specifically dealing with hazard identification and design criteria in the FORTIFIED for Safer Business program. With one point each to design teams adopting resiliency strategies, the three new pilot credits are:

Assessment and Planning for Resilience. Team must complete in pre-design a Hazard Assessment prerequisite to identify critical hazards, plus at least one of two options of either Climate Resilience Planning or Emergency Preparedness Planning.

Design for Enhanced Resilience. Team must design its project to specific standards—including FORTIFIED for Safer Business—for the top three hazards identified in the Assessment and Planning for Resilience credit.

Passive Survivability and Functionality during Emergencies. Team must meet any two of the three options that include thermal resilience (livable conditions in a building after a disaster), back-up power or access to potable water.

Once implemented and vetted on actual LEED projects, a pilot credit is often designated permanent status; points are then assigned based on its overall impact regarding green building objectives, whereby points assigned to each credit can be increased.

NRMCA and industry allies have been promoting changes to legislation, building codes and rating systems to incorporate resiliency design strategies for years. One of the key pieces of related federal legislation is the Disaster Savings and Resilient Construction Act, providing up to a $3,000 tax credit for homeowners and up to $25,000 to building owners who design to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s FORTIFIED standards. If passed, the legislation would support LEED projects that implement the new resilience pilot credits.

Concrete construction has long been recognized for its ability to resist natural and manmade disasters, including hurricanes and tornadoes, fire, floods and earthquakes, NRMCA affirms. Combined with tax incentives, the new LEED credits could provide building owners with significant motivation to build to a higher standard, thus reducing the typical human and financial losses experienced in disaster events.

10 LEEDi 200

The U.S. Green Building Council issued the Supply Chain Group’s 14-page Option 3 guidance early last month, ahead of the 2015 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. The 14-page document presents a summary of hazard screen process flow.

After nearly a year of stakeholder exchanges, the U.S. Green Building Council Supply Chain Optimization Working Group recommends three minimum steps to supplement the Materials & Resources credit (Building Disclosure and Optimization–Material Ingredients, Option 3) for LEED v4 certification:

  • Publicize guiding principles that include commitments to continual improvement, sharing of information, green chemistry and green engineering.
  • Implement an ISO 14001-type environmental management system, with added elements addressing major human health and safety impacts of their operations.
  • Ensure that direct suppliers of hazardous ingredients have corresponding environmental, health & safety management systems.

“The process helps manufacturers distinguish their products by embedding health and safety-based programs within the fabric of their management and operations,” says USGBC Chief Product Officer Scot Horst.

“Th[e] group exemplifies that an advancement in sustainability and healthy buildings is best developed through the understanding and cooperation of all participants along the supply chain,” adds BASF Admixture Systems Manager, Applied Sustainability David Green.

The USGBC LEED Steering Committee unanimously approved the Supply Chain Optimization Working Group, spanning chemical suppliers, raw material or building product suppliers and manufacturers, design teams, academics, government entities and Council staff. After a December 2014 kick off in Washington, D.C., the group has held upwards of 80 conference calls and two additional two-day meetings.