4specs.com    4specs.com Home Page

500 Miles Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

4specs Discussion Forum » Sustainable Design Topics » 500 Miles « Previous Next »

Author Message
Don Harris CSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA
Senior Member
Username: don_harris

Post Number: 149
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 12:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Does anyone know of a document/listing of manufacturer's plant locations so we can specify manufacturers within 500 miles of the project site? Is this something we should be doing as specifiers? Do we just list everyone and let the contractor figure it out? I'm figuring that if we really care, we need to do it. How do your offices handle this?
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 598
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 12:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

the manufacturers can provide that, and I think Colin has started listing locations on the 4specs site for this purpose.
in my projects, I've never listed the actual plant locations, but simply stated the requirement. its a 500 mile "as the crow flies" radius, not actual road miles -- which sort of defeats the purpose, since the idea is to cut down on tire wear and road damage.
it is your responsibility to verify that the 500 mile limit can be met -- ie, don't specify limestone from France if you're trying to meet the "local materials" credit.
Russ Hinkle, AIA, CCS
Senior Member
Username: rhinkle

Post Number: 27
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 12:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

On the 3 projects I have certified and the three others I am working on, it has not been that hard of a requirement. We look for the larger quanities of materials (cmu for example) and try to just use common sense. I was suprised on the projects we certified how much was made locally.

Some manufacturers will tell you they don't know. Ceiling tiles come from 3 plants around the country and even they can't be sure which plant it came from. Maybe they are getting better at tracking that stuff now.
Don Harris CSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA
Senior Member
Username: don_harris

Post Number: 150
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 01:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Some manufacturers have really nice maps, others don't. I've gotten to a point that if I can't find the info on their website within 5 minutes I go on to the next manufacturer. You would be surprised how many major manufacturers seem to hide this information. The other frustration is when you click "Contact Us" you usually get an e-mail form instead of a physical address. Enough griping. Now that I'm seeing that all you need is 20%, I'm definitely making a bigger deal of this than necessary. Does concrete count?
Colin Gilboy
Senior Member
Username: colin

Post Number: 100
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 01:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

One of the resources on 4specs is the regional search on each section page - look for the green box with "Show these listings in Zip Code Order".

This returns the page sorted by Zip Code. Not perfect but easy for me to do. To do a 500 mile select on the section listings is beyond my programming skills.

For all manufacturers we are willing to add plant locations in addition to home office location - for free.

On the results page is a link to the company website and a phone number so you can call to verify product availability and resource.
Chris Grimm, CSI, CCS, MAI, RLA
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 90
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 01:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

After initial search for manufacturers within 500 miles, be sure to find out which plant(s) the materials will be handled in. In the end each regional materials manufacturer used on the project needs to be able to certify that the materials were EXTRACTED, HARVESTED/RECOVERED, AND MANUFACTURED within 500 miles, or a certain percentage thereof which can be applied by a weight factor.

for a summary of the requirements of any LEED-NC 2.2 credit, go to


After it loads, I usually type 5, 6, or 7 in the page number box to jump to the table of contents, then type in the page number for the credit - for this one it is page 55 & 56

We do check this for each product that we want to be sure is available to contribute to the MR 5.1/5.2 credits.

I also am curious, how is the A/E supposed to know whether the total regional materials % for the project will be met? Since it is based on cost, one would need to know not only the final cost of each regional material actually used in construction, but also the cost of all other materials used, in order to know the percent of the total project that is regional materials. This question also relates to other credits such as recycled content, and construction waste management. Ultimately it would seem to be something only the contractor has control over, at least for the final details.

We require action plans to help make sure we get there. Which party usually manages the worksheets during construction?
Don Harris CSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA
Senior Member
Username: don_harris

Post Number: 151
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 01:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


What can I say? You're a genius! That is a huge time saver. Thank you.
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 01:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Please note that the current version of LEED for NC (2.2) requires not only that materials be manufactured withing 500 miles, but also that they be harvested within 500 miles. Is raw ingredient for the cement in the CMU (limestone) harvested witin 500 miles of your project site? The glass in your windows? This credit has become much more difficult to acheive and I do not tell teams that this is easy to get points for, any more.
Russ Hinkle, AIA, CCS
Senior Member
Username: rhinkle

Post Number: 28
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 02:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Your question on who collects and manages the information is best answered two questions -
1)by who is getting paid to do it
2) who can most efficiently collect and manage this informaiton.

On projects I have been involved it the answer has been the CM or General Contractor. They forward me spread sheets with recycled content and distance information that they collect from there subs as part of the submittals. They hold payment until they get the information.

In the specification front end, there is a form that all subcontractors must use that lists the LEED information required. Even those contractors who fill the form in with zero's must submit.
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 873
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 05:41 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I think that locally manufactured materials is a noble cause. With our world becoming more and more a global economy, I believe that this is hard to achieve.

First comes the question of define "manufactured". What if the product is completely manufactured in China with raw materials coming from Indonesia but all the local manufacturer/distributor does is screw the Made In USA label on the product? Where is the product "made".

My brother-in-law is an import export attorney and fights with this all the time since duty rates are dependent on where an item was "made".
Peggy White, CSI, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Username: peggy

Post Number: 3
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 07:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Yes, I agree, tis a very noble cause, but is sure is time-consuming noble cause for the construction team!

Note that the requirement for extraction and/or harvesting is the percentage of the raw materials that are extracted, harvested for the products manufactured within 500 miles of the project site that must be tallied - LEED does not require all of the raw materials in a product be extracted within 500 miles. But, obtaining that percentage is a challenge.

David - 'manufactured' per LEED means the final point of assembly.

This issue of embodied energy is something we are incorporating into CSI GreenFormat. We have a category of questions that relate to this issue that will hopefully be helpful to manufacturer's (by giving them a platform for reporting the information) and to designers (by giving them reliable data).
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 243
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 07:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The ability to comply with this requirements will certainly vary with specific local. Hawaii has almost no product that will qualify except for some aggregate. Austin, Houston, and Dallas are fortunate to be located near glass and steel factories. The steel "mini mills" get most of their raw materials from recycled product and are located within 200 miles. Cement and aggregate are likewise manufactured "locally." There are 3 glass manufacturing plants within a 500 mile radius (most glass has at least 20 percent pre-consumer recycled content) and numerous glass fabricators (large and small scale). USG's plant in Houston has the highest recycled content of any gypsum board plant. Brick is manufactured at numerous locations within a 300 mile radius. Greater Houston is also home to both a VCT and ceramic tile manufacturing plant.

USGBC is permitting you to count the portion of value added to a product where a local manufacturer may ship in materials so your local widget plant that orders raw materials from China, Japan, and Botswana may be able to claim 30 percent of its material cost contributes to the "regional materials" LEED point.

It is important to remember just how small a number the threshold to earn a point really is. For many of the material credits, you are looking at a percentage of material costs and excluding costs for Div. 14, and Divs. 21 through 28. If you have a $10 mil building, you can probably figure that the MEP and vertical transportation systems are at least 30 percent. Of the remaining $7 mil, at least half of that is labor, perhaps a little more. That leaves you with $3.5 mil. If your target for regional materials is 10 percent of that then you need $350K of materials -- on a $10 mil job. When you get right down to it; achieving that kinda goal doesn't seem so difficult.

Again, it will vary by location, but specifiers can create LEED capital by being on top of this issue.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 271
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 10:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

In the global view, is it a good idea to force, or at least encourage, manufacturers to build more production facilities to meet this requirement? Is the total impact of a new facility less than the impact of transporting something 550 miles instead of 500?

How many firms are demonstrating commitment to the spirit of LEED by using only products manufactured (and harvested, etc.) within 500 miles? I still see a lot of ceramic tile and stone coming from Europe, and more materials coming from China.
Joel McKellar, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
New member
Username: joelmckellar

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 09:11 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Another thing to consider is the fact that if a product contains recycled content, it is considered to orginate at the point of recycling, usually the manufacturing plant.

Example (unlikely and hypothetical, but accurate all the same) - A steel beam could be partially made from soup cans, lets say from Japan, but melted down in North Carolina. The portion of the beam, by weight, that is made from these soup cans is considered to be manufactured and harvested from the plant in NC.
Peggy White, CSI, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Intermediate Member
Username: peggy

Post Number: 4
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 10:20 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

To address Sheldon's questions:

The market transformation is a grand experiment in some ways, but bear in mind that the changes being made by manufacturing are in response to demand for more accountability to the environment, AND because they make good business sense because of this new market. Forcing manufacturers to build plants within a 500 mile radius of everywhere would be counterproductive to the tenents of sustainability - that's not a goal. Changing the way products are manufacturered to lessen the negative impact on the environment is a goal.

Re using only products manufactured and harvested within 500 miles of a project: restricting options solely to this limitation would not be a primary driver for making selections - its one of many sustainable attributes in the menu of options within sustainability to be considered. Sustainable design projects are just like other projects - cost, performance, and program still rule. In addition, other issues considered might be of great importance; for example, indoor air quality for a healthcare facility. When the decisions are made about the type of products, the 500 mile issue is just one of many attributes to be considered.

Different regions have different opportunities for achieving this this goal, as J. Peter Jordon mentioned. Typically its in the 'maybe' column on the LEED Checklists; if the material suits the program and design requirements, is of equal or better performance and cost within target, then the 'within 500 miles' is like a bonus.
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 05:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Epoxy Terrazzo: is it a good product or not, for LEED projects? There are no VOCs, but the product is ground down and produces particulates and has carcinogenic materials (nickel, epichiorohydrin, quartz), & has ether, etc. Does this jeapordize any LEED credits (in particular EQp1)? Has anyone used this on LEED projects and run into credit problems with it?
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 973
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2008 - 08:30 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Though this post is off-topic, I'll answer anyway. (Maybe Colin will move to a new thread.)
I know no reason why epoxy terrazzo would have problems on LEED projects. The material is wet-ground, so doesn't release dust into the air. In any case, dust is not 'regulated' by LEED. Since it is easy to maintain one could argue that over the lifetime of the floor, it is more sustainable than some other flooring types.

Add Your Message Here
Username: Posting Information:
This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Options: Automatically activate URLs in message

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration