How LEED supports sustainable decommissioning


LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was first launched in 1998 by the United States Green Building Council. The certification program originally covered sustainable design and construction practices for new commercial buildings. It focused on energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable site development. Since then, LEED has grown into a comprehensive and internationally recognized rating system for all building types and phases — including sustainable decommissioning. Whether maintaining existing buildings or building new facilities, here’s how Green Standards helps Fortune 500 clients align their work with LEED.

The furniture you already have

One of the key principles of the circular economy is to keep materials in use. That can be done by promoting reuse, recycling, and responsible end-of-life management. LEED encourages this approach by rewarding projects that reduce waste and select materials with a lower environmental impact.

Under the Materials and Resources category, the LEED v4.1 Operations + Management Facility Maintenance and Renovation Policy requires building owners and operators to reduce the environmental harms associated with the materials purchased, installed, and disposed of during maintenance and renovation of buildings. This policy can include efforts to resell, reuse and donate furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

Similar guidelines apply to brand new buildings. Under LEED v4.1 Building Design + Construction – Construction and Demolition Waste Management, two credits can be awarded for tracking all renovation debris generated and ensuring that at least 50% of it is salvaged or recycled. Furniture, fixtures, and equipment can be included toward this total. Green Standards’ average 98.6% landfill diversion rate can be a significant contributor toward these credits.

The furniture you’re going to need

You’ll need to furnish both new and existing buildings, so choosing sustainable furniture is imperative for LEED projects. In new construction, points are available for selecting components with Environmental Product Declarations, for responsible Sourcing of Raw Materials, and for optimizing Material Ingredients. This 2021 article from USGBC Los Angeles outlines an approach to furniture sourcing that includes all of these considerations. Green Standards is a significant player in the corporate resale market. Since 2009, we have resold more than $15M worth of furniture, diverting it from landfill. That figure translates to more than 50,000 high-value workstations, desks and chairs resold.

Interested in learning more? Let’s connect.

More resources on sustainability reporting

A Hidden Waste Stream: 9 Million Tons of Office Furniture Goes to Landfill Annually ↗


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