What is LEED?

Well the acronym “LEED” stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”; The concept of the program is simple, design/build a project that will be self sustaining, have a long service life, low energy demand and impact the environment as little as possible. The program itself has been around since the mid 90’s, but has grown exponentially over the last number of years. LEED is a voluntary program; however, obtaining a LEED certification projects a positive environmental image to the community. In addition, by meeting many of the green building best practices you can result in energy and cost savings over the life of the structure.

In Most cases Governments and Municipalities are now requesting that their building/facilities be LEED certified. This also resonating in the private sector as more and more of their buildings are applying for LEED certification. The Green Movement truly is the way of the future. The Architects & Engineers are also finding themselves becoming more involved with the LEED program. In fact, many companies are conducting lunch and learn training session and encouraging staff to seek their LEED AP (Accredited Professional) status.

The Program

When you decide you are going to apply your project for LEED Certification you must first determine what rating system your project will fall under. There are 6 LEED rating systems set forth by the USGBC and the CAGBC to choose from:

LEED for New Construction (NC) Addresses the performance of commercial and institutional buildings, i.e., buildings regulated by Part 3 of the National Building Code (NBC). It also applies to retail, mid- and high-rise Multi-Unit Residential Buildings, public assembly buildings, etc. Commercial Interiors Applicable to tenant improvements of new or existing office space.Core and ShellApplies to projects where the base building developer does not want to impose many LEED requirements on the tenants.Existing Buildings An operational performance rating system for existing buildings; it provides standards and prerequisites for construction and site protection for building upgrades. Homes A rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes.Neighborhood Development A rating system to guide and assess sustainable community development. Since the majority of new projects are considered New Construction, we will help outline the point requirements. (Remember, choose the system that best suits your project. Depending on the project you may need to consult your local USGBC or CAGBC representative to assist you in the decision.)

LEED CANADA FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION AND MAJOR RENOVATIONS 2009

(100 base points; 6 possible Innovation in Design and 4 Regional Priority points)

Certified          40-49 points
Silver               50-59 points
Gold                60-79 points
Platinum          80 points and above

Note that projects must meet all prerequisites and achieve 40 points from other credits before they may earn any points from Regional Priority credits.

The Points

Brampton Brick can help you “go green” and accumulate points by following these main principals for both Concrete and Clay Brick.

Creates sustainable sites.

  • Enhances energy performance.
  • Contains recycled materials.
  • Manufactured locally.
  • Builds durable structures.
  • Innovations in Applications and Product Design.

(Remember, even items like Metal anchors, Ties and Reinforcement are often made of steel, that steel can be made from recycled materials.  If the % or recycled contect is high enough, you may earn extra points there.)

To find out how Brampton Brick can help you attain your points, please refer to the charts and table listed in each Products LEED section….  (Available Soon)

LEED Certification

Now that you have determined the number points you are eligible to receive, all of the documentation must now be submitted along with payment for registration and certification to the USGBC or CAGBC. To earn LEED certification, a project must satisfy all prerequisites and earn a minimum number of points outlined in the LEED Rating System under which it is registered.  Certification is granted solely by the Green Building Council responsible for issuing the LEED system used on the project.

Recently the application process for new construction certification has been streamlined electronically, via a set of active PDFs that automates the process of filing the documentation.

Most LEED registered projects are able to use “LEED-Online” to document their application for LEED certification. This online workspace allows an administrator to build a project team, assign credits to appropriate individuals, and submit to USGBC for review. Projects registered under the following balloted rating systems are able to document and submit using LEED-Online.

Pros vs. Cons of the LEED Program

The USGBC & CAGBC have compiled a long list of benefits for implementing a LEED strategy on a project. This can range from improving air & water quality, reducing wastes & pollutants and being overall more energy efficient. They also explain how this program can benefit the occupants and owners of the projects through possible tax credits, government grants and a higher return on investment as the project ages.

(Note* At this point only selected States in the United States have incentives as mentioned above.  Canada and the remaining states in the United States are still developing this aspect of the program.)

The Pros

LEED certified buildings use key resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings which are simply built to code. 

  • Typically have a healthier work and living environment including better indoor air quality and increased amounts of daylight. All of which helps contribute to higher productivity.
  • Designed to yield a longer service life

The LEED Green Building Rating System for New Construction, Version 2.2, helps promote environmentally sustainable buildings for the improvement of items such as, indoor & outdoor building quality, conservation of resources and the reduction of waste during the building process. The overall impact on the environment before, during and after construction is designed to be minimal.

The Cons

  • Increased cost of initial investment
  • Longer Return on Investment
  • Incentive Program has not yet been established

LEED certification often means that there will be an increase in costs for initial design and construction. One reason is that sustainable construction principles may not be well understood by the design professionals undertaking the project. Some of the finer points of LEED certification (especially those which demand a higher-than-orthodox standard of service from the construction team) could possibly lead to misunderstandings between the design team, construction team, and client, which could result in delays. Also, there may be a lack of abundant availability of manufactured building components which meet LEED standards. Pursuing LEED certification for a project is an added cost in itself as well. This added cost comes in the form of USGBC & CAGBC correspondence, LEED design-aide consultants, and the hiring of the required Commissioning Authority - all of which would not necessarily be included in an environmentally responsible project unless it were also seeking LEED certification.

LEED is a measurement tool and not a design tool. It is also not yet climate specific, although the newest version hopes to address this weakness partially. Because of this, designers may make materials or design choices that garner a LEED point, even though they may not be the most site or climate appropriate choice available.

Working With Brampton Brick

Brampton Brick can help maximize the number of LEED credits you wish to achieve by producing a product specific to your design needs. We can work with you to determine what level of certification you wish to achieve and how to help get you there. Our Clay Brick and Concrete Products can be modified to achieve maximum LEED credits. Talk with your local Brampton Brick sales representative to learn how.