Picking up the points

Picking up the points

LEED, Sustainability

The US Green Building Council’s LEED system – like all green building rating programmes – is a numbers game. In the latest version of LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations, projects have to pick up at least 40 points to become certified, while the highest rank, Platinum, is reserved for those that achieved 80 points and above.

Points can be won across seven topics: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design and Regional Priority. Projects that are targetting certification, particularly the higher ranks, require a careful selection of materials and products that adhere to the programme guidelines.

Topic: Materials and Resources, Credit 4
1–2 points

What LEED is looking for
LEED calls for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, ‘thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials’.

The guidelines add that projects should ‘use materials with recycled content such that the sum of postconsumer recycled content plus half of the pre consumer content constitutes at least 10% or 20% based on cost of the total value of the materials in the project’.

The recycled content value of a material assembly is determined by weight; the recycled fraction of the assembly is then multiplied by the cost of assembly to determine the recycled content value.

Product focus
Metal ceilings, SAS International

SAS International says it can achieve a minimum of 30% recycled content on all its metal ceilings, which are available in a variety of finishes. The steel it uses has a minimum 25-year product lifecycle and is 100% recyclable into new steel after paint removal.

Andrew Jackson, director, adds: “Product choice no longer relies on the initial purchase price difference between materials; it is factors such as life cycle costs and flexibility of product to meet the demands of occupants, that are coming to the fore.”

Topic: Materials and Resources, Credit 5
1-2 points

What LEED is looking for
Up to two points are awarded for the use of building materials and products that are ‘extracted and manufactured within the region, thereby supporting the use of indigenous resources and reducing the environmental impacts resulting from transportation’.

Projects should source materials or products that have been ‘extracted, harvested or recovered, as well as manufactured, within 500 miles of the project site’. The guidelines add: ‘If only a fraction of a product or material is locally, source then only that percentage (by weight) can contribute to the regional value’.

Product focus
Topcem Pronto by Mapei

This normal-setting, fast-hydrating, pre-bagged screed from Mapei is manufactured in the UAE with over 90% of the raw materials sourced locally. This ‘fast track’ product allows a reduction in construction time, energy and resources, and is able to receive subsequent finishes from one to four days.

Topic: Indoor Environmental Quality, Credit 4.1
1 point

What LEED is looking for
To gain one point for ‘Low-Emitting Materials’, all adhesives and sealants used on the interior of the building (inside the weatherproofing system and applied on-site) must comply with LEED requirements. The guidelines state that projects should ‘specify low-VOC materials in construction documents and ensure that VOC limits are clearly stated in each section of the specifications where adhesives and sealants are addressed’.

Product focus
Waterproofing membrane by LATICRETE

LATICRETE International, Inc. produces an assortment of portland cement and epoxy-based setting and grouting materials. The supplier offers a number of locally-manufactured and low VOC products that comply with the stringent LEED requirements. The pictured product is LATICRETE 9235 Waterproofing Membrane (tested per EPA Method 24), which has a VOC content of just 0.02 lb /gal (2.39 g/L).

Topic: Water Efficiency
no points

What LEED is looking for
Water use reduction is a prerequisite for LEED. The idea is to ‘increase water efficiency within buildings to reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems’. Buildings must employ strategies that, in aggregate, use ‘20% less water than the water-use baseline calculated for the building (not including irrigation)’. Calculations are based on estimated occupant usage and must only include water closets, urinals, lavatory faucets, showers, kitchen sink faucets and pre-rinse spray valves.

Product focus
cisterns by Geberit

Geberit helps reduce water consumption through the advanced development of its flush systems. In 2010, the entire flush-stop and dual flush cistern fleet enabled water savings of 1,500 million m3. The Concealed Cistern (top) is blow-moulded in one piece, while Monolith (right) contains a hidden integrated cistern.

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