Metrics in motion: Exploring waste in Arc

David Marcus

The longest part of a building’s life cycle is its use phase. Once a building opens its doors, there is a constant flow of products purchased and discarded to support ongoing operations and maintenance, creating the building’s waste stream. The amount of waste generated by a building can have a significant environmental and financial impact.

Measuring waste is one of the simplest ways buildings can identify cost savings, increase efficiency and find potential new revenue streams. It starts with understanding the amount of waste generated and how waste moves through the building. Measuring waste in Arc gives a transparent view of how much waste is produced over time.

The Waste metric in Arc

The waste score accounts for typical materials used in a building’s operation. Users must account for safe disposal and diversion from landfills of ongoing consumable and durable goods, including the five most purchased product categories based on total annual purchases. To generate a score, teams must take the following actions:

  • Conduct at least one waste analysis within a 12-month period.
  • Provide the quantities (in weight) of total waste generated (landfill, recycling, compost) and then the waste diverted (recycling and compost) from landfills and incineration facilities.

The lower the quantity of materials generated and the higher the quantity of materials diverted, the better the score. The score is first calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, then converted and rounded into the weighted score out of 8.

The power of analytics

Much of the waste industry is focused on diversion rates as a key metric, but diversion only represents a portion of the whole waste story. By including total weight of generation, Arc is also tracking weight generated per person, which can be a powerful metric to help communicate sustainability goals to occupants.

As the waste industry continues to provide greater transparency into data and metrics, a deeper engagement with employees and occupants around waste practices can be the first step in creating a zero waste culture.

If your building is registered for LEED or is LEED-certified, it is already in Arc, and you can access Arc for free for five years. Log into the platform at, using your USGBC login information, or contact us at Arc to see your score and start tracking today.

Learn more about scoring and analytics with the Arc 101 YouTube playlist.

Learn about our Energy metric in Arc.

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