Construction and Demolition Waste Management

Green Building Team on February 28, 2021

The Construction and Demolition Waste Management (CDWM) credit has shifted its focus from waste management to waste prevention. The November Addenda to the LEED v4.1 Building Design and Construction (BD+C) and Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) Rating Systems introduced three fundamental changes that signal a concentrated effort to prevent waste through design strategies.

  • Simplification of the Option 1. Diversion requirements:
    • Multiple paths with varying thresholds became a singular 50% persion requirement worth one point.
    • Removal of the often-misunderstood Material Streams as well as Certified Commingled Recycling Facilities.
  • Increase in the thresholds for Option 2. Waste Prevention (previously called Reduction of Total Waste Material) to: BD+CID+CPath 1 (1 Point)< 75 kg/m2< 50 kg/m2Path 2 (2 Points)< 50 kg/m2< 37.5 kg/m2
 BD+CID+C
Path 1 (1 Point)< 75 kg/m2< 50 kg/m2
Path 2 (2 Points)< 50 kg/m2< 37.5 kg/m2
  • Removal of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning prerequisite. The requirements for a CDWM Plan have been incorporated into the credit, allowing any projects not attempting the CDWM credit to omit the plan.

While the requirements for Option 1 are short and succinct, the LEED v4.1 BD+C and ID+C Beta Guides include associated requirements that should not be overlooked. The Step-by–Step Guidance section clarifies that “all recycling facilities must be regulated by a local or state authority”.

regulated facility is a facility that has a license to operate as a materials handling, sorting and recycling facility. A regulated facility is not the same as a certified facility; the latter would have third-party verified recycling rates.

Additionally, the requirements under Waste Management Plan and Report state that any project that sends materials to a commingled recycling facility must use the facility’s average recycling rate (excluding Alternative Daily Cover). This means that project specific reporting of commingled waste is no longer required.

The change in weighting shifts more responsibility onto the design team, and brings the credit into alignment with the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle hierarchy of waste management. Project teams should keep in mind that they can earn two points by way of Option 2, or they can earn one point from each option.

Past project data indicates that at least half of BD+C projects can achieve at least one point under Option 2, and one quarter could achieve two points. Still higher achievement rates are expected for Core and Shell as well as ID+C projects.

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