Part 1 of the LEED™ and WELL™ Relationship left off with highlighting a few of the connections between the two rating systems when it came to indoor air quality, water quality, and the integrative design process. It was easy to see how the two programs build off each other and complement one another. For Part 2 of this discussion, I want to just focus on two areas where those synergies flourish: material transparency and daylighting.
When it comes to driving change in the materials market, LEED has done an astounding job. Just look at the growth of the number of low-VOC products now available to consumers, and the comparable price of many of these products to conventional ones. In a recent quote from Michael Venturini, global marketing manager for Coatings with Sun Chemical Performance Pigments, he comments how “The increasing adherence to internationally recognized standards and third-party certifications is allowing customers to verify the real benefits that paint and coatings offer throughout the entire manufacturing process...”** It is this shift in “consumer preferences” that has driven this “rapid change.” LEED has played a major role in this preferential shift, and it is not stopping at low-VOC and recycled content. It is now moving towards increasing the demand for material transparency, and WELL is joining in. With transparency, comes accountability, and in turn comes improved product innovation.
LEED v4 address material transparency in its Materials & Resources (MR) Building Product Disclosure and Optimization Credits. The intention of these credits is to try to push the industry towards considering the life-cycle cost of products, and not just single attributes. LEED is trying to reward teams and reward manufacturers for using/creating products that have ‘environmentally, economically, and socially preferable’ impacts on our world. WELL focuses on these same principles with its Feature 97 Material Transparency under the Mind Concept. Under this Feature, 50% of the finishes/furnishings need to either have a Declare Label, a Health Product Declaration (HPD), or meet the requirements of LEED v4 MR Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Material Ingredients, Option 1: Material Ingredient Reporting. So – here – you can plainly see how LEED and WELL are working together. To meet the requirements of the Material Ingredient Reporting, a project needs to use at least 20 different products from at least 5 manufacturers that demonstrate the chemical inventory of the product to at least 0.1% (1000ppm). There are three listed programs for demonstrating this: manufacturer inventory (publicly available), an HPD, or Cradle to Cradle Certification. Both WELL and LEED use HPD’s as a path towards demonstrating compliance. HPD’s are product declarations that allow for “reliable and consistent reporting of product contents and associated health information.”*** HPD’s are still relatively new to the market (they were first launched at Greenbuild in 2011) – but are poised to make a tremendous leap with both of these rating systems incorporating them into their standards.
When it comes to daylighting, again LEED and WELL are very similarly aligned – to the point that documentation for one, could serve for both. For LEED, to meet the requirements of the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Credit Daylight, the project team has 3 options to demonstrate how they have incorporated daylight into the space. The first two involve simulations. Option 1 is to use computer simulations to demonstrate that the project design achieves spatial daylight autonomy300/50% (sDA300/50%) for a minimum of 55% of the regularly occupied floor area and annual sunlight exposure1000,250 (ASE1000,250) of no more than 10%. sDA300/50% means that the space receives at least 300lux of sunlight for at least 50% of the operating hours each year. ASE1000,250 means that space is receiving 1,000lux for 250 hours each year. Option 2 for meeting LEED’s Daylight requirements is using computer simulation to demonstrate illuminance levels will be between 300lux and 3000lux for 9am and 3pm, both on clear sky day on equinox. Option 2 is worth slightly less points than the first simulation method, but is still a very viable way of demonstrating that quality daylighting is being achieved. The last method to demonstrate compliance, Option 3, is to actually measure the daylighting within the constructed space. The requirements from Option 2 would need to be met, and the performance verification would need to take place on two separate occasions to account for variability in seasons. An additional requirement for this credit is that manageable glare-control devices be provided for all regularly occupied space.
WELL has an entire Concept devoted to Light. However, one of its Features is a direct tie-in to LEED’s Daylight Credit: Feature 62 Daylight Modeling. Project teams will meet the requirements for this Feature if they follow Option 1 from above (computer simulation demonstrating sDA300/50% and ASE1000,250). Glare control is not addressed in Feature 62 but is addressed in Feature 56 Solar Glare Control. Feature 56 is actually a precondition for WELL Certification, whereas both Feature 62 Daylight Modeling and LEED IEQ Daylight Credit are optional for project teams. Also a precondition for WELL Certification is Feature 54 Circadian Lighting Design (read more about this Feature here). Alignment of the circadian rhythm is listed as an intention for both of the daylighting credits, however, in WELL they also separate this out as a requirement for all projects and it is something that is performance verified by the WELL Assessor. This is separated from the daylighting Feature because project teams can use a combination of natural and artificial light to meet the requirements.
I wanted to focus on these two areas, material transparency and daylighting, because I think that these are two of the most exciting discussions for both of these rating systems. They are also two areas that often give project teams some trouble. There has been a lot of push-back on the material requirements established in LEED v4. For manufacturers, disclosing the chemical makeup of its products is not only an additional workload, but they also want to protect their trade secrets. Bringing daylight into all of the regularly occupied spaces can often be very difficult because of space or programming limits. However, despite the challenges they each may bring – they also bring an equal amount of potential to shift industry norms. Consumer demand drives change, driving innovation. Transparency can lead to not only a more informed market, but a healthier one as well. Designing with circadian rhythm in mind has the power to completely transform how we conceive our spaces. Our built environment is not just place we inhabit while at work or at home, but it is a form that is constantly interacting with our bodies, shaping our behavior and our health. I am very excited to see that both of these subjects are incorporated into LEED v4 and the WELL Building Standard.