Arc: Helping Buildings Become More Waste-Wise

The following is a guest blog from All About Waste, an A/G Sustainability Consultant.

What is USGBC’s Arc Platform?
Arc, formerly known as Dynamic Plaque, is the U.S. Green Building Council’s new building rating system that relies on annual, performance-based data. It serves as an effective measurement tool to track a building’s incremental performance progress. It’s new and exciting because it can apply to LEED certified buildings and non-certified buildings alike. Non-certified buildings can use Arc as a pathway towards LEED certification, while buildings that are already certified can use Arc to further improve or make recertification even easier. Unlike conventional LEED recertification, which involves a major recertification effort every 5 years, Arc requires annual USGBC reviews and active assessment of building performance. USGBC claims Arc to be the future of the building certification market. There are 5 different categories that Arc focuses on: Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation and Human Experience. There is also a final, static category that is worth 10 points and based upon credits that were earned in the building’s initial LEED certification.

Figure 1: Arc Plaque Example

  Source:     USGBC

Source: USGBC

Figure 2: Solid Waste Landfill

  Source:     PlanetAid

Source: PlanetAid

How is Arc helping buildings become waste-wise?
The U.S. is one of the world’s leading waste producers. Waste that is sent to landfills negatively impacts our health, economy, and surrounding environment via greenhouse emissions, disposal costs, and other factors. Waste has become one of the most prevalent societal issues within green building systems. LEED v4 took a major step in addressing this issue by requiring waste audits for existing buildings, audits at similar locations for new retail construction, and waste generation estimates for Core and Shell projects. Arc takes this another step further by requiring waste audits annually for any buildings using the platform, both LEED certified and noncertified buildings. In the past, waste audits played an important role in learning about a building’s total waste stream and how much waste was being diverted from landfills and incinerators, although audits were not required. Annual waste audits are an excellent way to gain consistent, thorough feedback on a building’s waste management strategies and their success after implementation.

Figure 3: Waste Audit Streams

  Source:     All About Waste

What does a waste audit entail?
After planning and coordination with the building’s janitorial team, all of the waste in the building is organized in one location to be collected and then sorted into specific waste streams (recyclables, non-recyclables, organics, e-waste, fluorescent bulbs, etc.) by the audit team. After sorting, the materials from each waste stream will be measured and recorded to determine the building’s total waste output, and also to provide a breakdown of each individual waste stream. With all of this waste information, the success of the building’s waste management strategies can be accurately assessed. All About Waste is a sustainability consulting firm that has extensive experience not only performing waste audits, but also providing expert advice on waste management strategies. Improving waste management practices can not only lead to increased waste diversion and recycling rates, but can also help achieve LEED building credits. For more information on the Arc Platform Waste category and its requirements, you can visit the Arc website or ask more specific questions about waste to the All About Waste team!

All About Waste is a sustainability consulting firm that has extensive experience not only performing waste audits, but also providing expert advice on waste management strategies. Improving waste management practices can not only lead to increased waste diversion and recycling rates, but can also help achieve LEED building credits. For more information on the Arc Platform Waste category and its requirements, you can visit the Arc website or ask more specific questions about waste to the All About Waste team!