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Beta Analytic Provides Bio-based Testing for LEED v4 certification

Beta Analytic provides Carbon-14 analyses for clients seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED v4, the latest version of the program, contains information on the requirements for bio-based content verification of building materials. Applicants must confirm the bio-based content using Carbon-14 analysis under the ASTM D6866 standard. LEED is a third-party verification for green buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.


There is no minimum amount of bio-based content required for a product to qualify as bio-based for LEED certification. As long as a product meets the Sustainable Agriculture Network’s Sustainable Agriculture Standard, any amount of bio-based content is acceptable. Product contributions to Leed v4 are calculated based on the portion of the product that contributes to the credit, in this instance the percentage of the product that is counted as bio-based multiplied by the product cost, and therefore, items with a greater percentage of biobased content with a higher cost will provide a greater contribution to the credit.

Determination of the Biobased Content using Carbon-14 Analysis

ASTM D6866 was developed in the United States as a standardized analytical method for determining the bio-based content of solid, liquid, and gaseous samples using Carbon-14 analysis. Specifically, it was developed at the request of the United States Department of Agriculture to satisfy legislation requiring federal agencies to give preference in procurement to manufacturers using the greatest amount of biomass in their products per the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.

It was quickly established that Carbon-14 analysis was the only viable and accurate technique to use for the determination of a product’s bio-based content. A working standard of Carbon-14 analysis for industrial use was completed in 2004 and is now cited in US Federal Law.

The purpose of the bio-based carbon content measurement is to determine what percentage of the carbon within a bio-based product is derived from biomass relative to the more readily sourced and less expensive petroleum-based alternatives. Radiocarbon analysis measures the isotope Carbon-14 present in all organic materials. Due to the rate of the isotope’s radioactive decay, it is all but absent in materials older than 45,000 years, thus helping to distinguish products derived from fossil materials from those sourced from more recent organic matter.

The measurement is not always a necessary part of certification under LEED v4. Bio-based products are defined by ASTM D6866, but testing is not required in all cases. Manufacturers use this test to determine the amount of biobased material in a product.

About Beta Analytic

Beta Analytic offers radiocarbon analyses in compliance with the ASTM D6866 standard, drawing upon over thirty-five years of technical experience and a decade of regulatory expertise to aid producers, suppliers and consumers in testing products for bio-based content. In 2008, Beta Analytic was the first radiocarbon laboratory to be awarded the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation by Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation, cementing its reputation as a highly competent and reliable testing laboratory. Today, it is the world’s largest radiocarbon dating and bio-based content testing laboratory and works alongside producers and regulators alike to stay at the forefront of the industry’s bio-based testing needs.

Beta Analytic is headquartered in Miami, Florida with international offices in Europe, Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan. The lab offers high-quality bio-based content measurements using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) with online reporting, technical support, and quality assurance reports included. Customer service is available in English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Contact the lab for more information.

Beta Analytic is not affiliated with ASTM, the USDA, or LEED.

Beta Analytic Service Updates:
Beta Analytic Offers EN 16785 Testing
ISO 16620 Biobased Content Testing

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 and is filed under Beta Analytic Updates, Biobased Products .