FHPSB Technical Guidance
This page contains document links to Construction Criteria Base

Biobased Content

General Principles and Commitments - USDA Designated Products

For USDA-designated products, use products meeting or exceeding USDA's biobased content recommendations.

Technical Guidance

Introduction

According to the June 7, 2002 DRAFT of the USDA Biobased Products - Definitions and Descriptions, minimum biobased content per item category might be defined as follows:

  • construction materials: 85 percent;
  • composite board: 70 percent;
  • landscaping materials: 100 percent;
  • compost: 100 percent;
  • adhesives: 80 percent;
  • furniture: can be designated as biobased products if 90 percent of all of the adhesives used in the production are biobased adhesives.

For current designations under the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program (FB4P), refer to USDA Website. As of March 16, 2006, the Federal Register includes the final rule designating the first six items, which are generic groupings of biobased products. The items are: mobile equipment; hydraulic fluids; biobased roof coatings; water tank coatings; diesel fuel additives; penetrating lubricants, and; bedding, bed linens and towels. Refer to 7 CFR Part 2902, Designation of Biobased Items for Federal Procurement; Final Rule. The requirements for purchasing biobased items apply to those items directly purchased by the federal agency. Under a construction contract, the contractor's use of hydraulic fluid in its bulldozers and backhoes is incidental to the purpose of its contract, so the contractor is not required to use biobased hydraulic fluids. The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (OFEE) recommends that agencies encourage the use of these items, however.

This is the first of a series of rules that will be issued designating biobased items. The USDA currently has identified about 150 items for which it is collecting test data needed for the additional designations of items that will extend preferred procurement status to include all qualifying biobased products.

The Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers provides model guide spec language to assist agencies in meeting these requirements.

Related Mandates

Additional Considerations

It is also important to ensure that biobased products are designed, stored and used in such a way as to avoid or mitigate possibilities of mold growth.

General Principles and Commitments - Other Products

For other products, use biobased products made from rapidly renewable resources and certified sustainable wood products.

Technical Guidance

Introduction

ASTM E2114-2004 defines renewable resources as follows: renewable resource, n—a resource that is grown, naturally replenished, or cleansed, at a rate which exceeds depletion of the usable supply of that resource.

A renewable resource can be exhausted if improperly managed. However, a renewable resource can last indefinitely with proper stewardship. Examples include: trees in forests, grasses in grasslands, and fertile soil.

Non-sustainable harvesting of wood can produce soil erosion, pollutant runoff, increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming, and habitat loss. Many certified sources of sustainably harvested wood are available.

Forest Certification Standards in North America include:

The Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers provides model guide spec language to assist agencies in specifying rapidly renewable resources and certified sustainable wood products.

Additional Considerations

For efficient resource use of solid sawn lumber, it is recommended that the least acceptable grade of lumber be specified to suit the purpose. As an alternate to new solid sawn lumber, reclaimed lumber can be used since it performs comparably to new lumber if properly graded by a grading agency in accordance with American Lumber Standards Committee grading rules. Further, the use of engineered wood products can result in resource efficiencies than might be expected of conventional lumber/timber construction. However, engineered wood products might be more difficult to recycle than standard, solid sawn lumber due to the binders used in the manufacture of the engineered wood product.

It is also important to ensure that biobased products are designed, stored and used in such a way as to avoid or mitigate possibilities of mold growth.

Major Resources

WBDG

Design Objectives

Sustainable—Use Environmentally Preferable Products

Model Contract and Specification Language

Other