Question: Isobel asks: Hi, this question is in relation to MRc4 – recycled content under LEED NC2.2. I have data from a vendor for a product that lists the recycled content under a column “Post Industrial.” How does Post and Pre-Industrial fit into the requirements of Post-Consumer and Pre-Consumer? Or does it?

Answer: Hi Isobel, Thanks for your question. Ultimately, post-industrial content is the same as pre-consumer content. Pre-consumer (or post-industrial) recycled content is defined as the percentage of materials in a product that is recycled from manufacturing waste.

Examples of this include planer shavings, sawdust, bagasse, walnut shells, culls, trimmed materials, over issue publications, and obsolete inventories. Scrap items capable of being reclaimed within the same process that created them, however, are not eligible.

Pre-industrial isn’t really a term used to describe materials since “pre-industrial” simply refers to the raw or unused resources.

Post-consumer materials are waste materials generated by residential or commercial buildings, such as aluminum, glass, plastic and paper. Companies or households using post-consumer materials play the role of the end-users of said products. They are the last to use them for their intended purposes before they can be recycled.

While post-consumer waste is challenging to gather and sort, doing so is essential, as it saves recyclable materials from ending up in landfills.

Calculating Pre and Post-Consumer Content

Postconsumer materials, as they relate to pre-consumer (or post-industrial), are more heavily weighted than pre-consumer (post-industrial), as you can see from the equation below:

pre-consumer, Credit: WikipediaRecycled Content Value ($) = (% Postconsumer Recycled Content x Materials Cost) + 0.5(% Pre Consumer Recycled Content x Materials Cost)

Therefore, assuming you have two material options — both at the same cost — I would recommend selecting the one with the higher post-consumer recycled content. This is the best choice because that material would likely become waste as it’s already at its end-user.

The LEED MRc4 template will do the calculations for you, but when collecting supporting documentation the following items are recommended:

  • Record product names, manufacturers’ names, costs, percentage post-consumer and pre-consumer (post-industrial) content.
  • Collect cutsheets or manufacturers’ letters to document the listed products’ recycled content.
  • Where appropriate, maintain a list of actual materials costs, excluding labor and equipment for CSI Division 03-10, 31 (Section 31.60.00 Foundations) and 32 (Sections 32.10.00 Paving, 32.30.00 Site Improvements, and 32.90.00 Planting) only; including Division 12 is optional.

Furniture and furnishings (CSI Division 12 components) must be excluded or included consistently across MR Credits 3-7. This LEED credit applies mostly to CSI MasterFormat 2004 Edition Divisions 03-10, 31 and 32.

Mechanical, electrical and plumbing components or appliances and equipment should not be included in the calculations for this credit. The relatively high-dollar value of these items would skew the results of the calculation.

Thanks again for your question, Isobel. I hope this helps!


imageSarah Gudeman

Sarah Gudeman is a mechanical design engineer and licensed EIT in the state of Nebraska. Ms. Gudeman also is a LEED Accredited Professional (BD+C) and an active member of the USGBC Nebraska Flatwater Chapter’s board of directors. She specializes in building energy modeling and audits, sustainable design and environmentally-friendly practices.

Kristen Sharp

Kristen is a writer for Poplar Network.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts
Question: Post-consumer recycled content goes by many names: Pre-industrial, post-industrial, pre-consumer and post-consumer… But what do
Question: Nicolas asks: Hi I have some questions about the LEED BD+C exam: – Do I
Question: Nancy asks: Thank you for your prompt response to my earlier query. Our LEED project