Green buildings, Green developments, LEED certified buildings are being frequently used terminologies in the building industry now. There are more projects with LEED certification aspirations now than ever. Building construction in North America is the major consumer of energy, raw materials, potable water and is a major contributor towards CO2emission, and waste creation.This paved the way for thinking for more sustainable building and operating practices in the industry.
“Sustainability can be defined as the ability to meet the needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
To address the industry needs USGBC (U.S Green Building Council) was formed in 1993 as a non profit community of leaders working to develop Green Building rating system. USGBC has counter parts in countries around the world like CaGBC in Canada, working towards the same goal of more sustainable buildings.
USGBC’s mission is “to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.”
In Canada the building certification and professional accreditations are under the direct jurisdiction of GBCI.The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) was established in 2008 within the frame work of USGBC. It is an independent, third-party organization.
LEED is a green building rating system developed by USGBC. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Under the LEED system there are different levels of certifications like LEED Certified, LEED Silver, Gold or Platinum Certified. It works on the basis of the credits achieved by applying different ways of sustainable building practices. Different types of buildings get certified under the corresponding certification systems.
There are different LEED Building Categories or strategies by which buildings can achieve credits.
These 6 major categories deal with the Building site, Water usage, Energy usage, and Material usage, Indoor environment of buildings, Design innovations and for only U.S buildings Regional priorities.
As far as Reinforcing steel suppliers, will be performing environmental stewardship and contributions for sustainable practices in the Materials and Resources section.
As per MR 4.1 & 4.2 credit which deals with Recycled content of materials used in construction and operations, if the building can be constructed with recycled materials amounting to more than 10% of total project cost the building will be eligible for MR 4.1 credit and with more than 20% will be eligible for MR 4.2 credit.
As reinforcing steel is often made of recycled steel, it can contribute to these possible credits.
The total recycled content is 100% of post consumer recycled content and 50% of the pre-consumer recycled content.
The project should submit documentation for these if they are claiming more than 25% of recycled content in the steel supplied.
Another possible contribution reinforcing steel can make is in the Regional Materials sections.
If the steel mill is located within 500miles of the construction site, the rebar cost can be counted to claim the MR 5.1 & 5.2 credits.
So if we are supplying steel for a project aspiring LEED certification we will have to keep track of the source of the steel.
Each of us can take part in this great and meaningful initiative by observing the best building practices. We can reduce our footprints and make our planet a better place to live for our future generations.