What is LEED℗?
LEED℗ is a Green Building program administered by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council. LEED℗ certifies buildings, not products or manufacturers. A building can get LEED℗ certified if it earns a certain number of LEED℗ credits or points. Each point or group of points relates to a different environmentally friendly technology or material. There are different levels of certification depending on how many points the building earns (LEED℗ Certified, LEED℗ Silver, LEED℗ Gold, LEED℗ Platinum), and there are many points that the project team can choose from as they design the building and plan which level of certification they want to attain.
A flooring product might help a building qualify for one or more LEED℗ points, but a single product doesn’t guarantee that the building gets the point because the point is awarded based on how products from that category of materials were used throughout the entire building. For example, there is one LEED℗ point that a building can earn if 50% or more of all of the wood going into the building is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Another point can be earned if none of the engineered and composite wood products in the building were made with urea-formaldehyde adhesives. So, a particular product selection can only contribute to the achievement of a LEED℗ point. Also, it may be that the project team has decided not to pursue the credit that is relevant to the category of materials in question, in which case the product selections in that category may not matter, even though the building is still going for LEED℗ certification.
With new wood flooring, FSC certification and ‘no added urea-formaldehyde’ (NAUF) are the two key attributes that specifiers are looking for when they’re working on a LEED℗ project. They may still use products that don’t have those attributes, since the 50% calculation allows for the use of a mixture of certified and uncertified wood, and they may decide not to pursue the ‘no added urea-formaldehyde’ credit.
Projects can also earn LEED℗ points by using low-VOC coatings and adhesives during the installation process, ‘rapidly renewable’ materials like Bamboo and Cork flooring, and materials with recycled content like reclaimed wood flooring. As with the credit for using FSC-certified wood, these credits are achieved based on product selections throughout the entire building, not just a single product or application.
Being aware of LEED and how it works can help give you credibility with your customers and gain access to a rapidly growing sector of the market. LEED℗ has been a very important driver of demand for green products in commercial construction. There is a ‘LEED℗ for Homes’ standard, but so far LEED℗ has gained much traction in the residential market outside of high-rise condominium and apartment construction.
If you have questions about a LEED℗ project, please feel free to contact Galleher’s resident LEED℗ consultant, Dan Harrington: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dan is a LEED℗-accredited Green Associate and has been sourcing and selling flooring products for LEED℗ projects since 2001.
For more information on LEED℗, visit www.usgbc.org/LEED.