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
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.”