Energy & Environment

LEED v4 Made Easy for Product Manufacturers, Updates Coming Soon

Glazing contributes points to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system through energy, daylighting and views. The first part of each credit is based on disclosure, the second on optimization.

In the upcoming LEED v4.1, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) plans to update those credits to make them easier to achieve. This may include awarding additional points to verified health product declarations (HPDs), a list of health effects caused by the materials within a product. Currently, HPDs don’t need to be verified to con-tribute to points.

Achieving LEED points can seem daunting to many glass and metal manufacturers, despite materials and resources being one of the major LEED credit categories. GreenCE, an education partner of the USGBC, held a webinar hosted by Devotion Phillips, education coordinator with GreenCE, to help make LEED v4 more accessible to manufacturers.

Phillips explained that the USGBC does not certify building products, nor does it prohibit any products, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or technology.

“While a given product may not contribute to any specific credit, there are no products that are forbidden on LEED projects. Many product manufacturers incorrectly see themselves as unconnected with LEED beyond, of course, providing the products that make up our built environment. That couldn’t be farther from the truth,” said Phillips. “However, manufacturers must meet a few criteria before project teams are likely to give them preference on LEED projects.”

The ASHRAE 90.1 energy standard, an international standard that provides minimum requirements for energy-efficient building designs, will soon change.

“If you think about it, ASHRAE 90.1 was released in 2001 when the iPod was first released. It’s time for an update. Manufacturers could benefit from those energy updates,” said Phillips. “Requirements will be streamlined for credits, including low-emitting materials, day-light, and rainwater and heat island reduction. These changes could help manufacturers by making certain cred-its easier to achieve by project teams.”

From the architects’ point of view, project fees are shrinking, deadlines are shorter, lawsuits are rampant and technology is exploding, giving them many more options for specification than ever before.

“Manufacturers need to get the right LEED information in the right form to the right person at the right time,” said Phillips. “By establishing your company as an expert in your field through continuing education, design professionals will rely on you to help them assess these questions, putting you in a position to be specified when your product is right for the job.”

Quanex Recognized for Environmental Efforts

Quanex Building Products has received an Environmental Stewardship Award from Green Tech Lighting of Clinton Township, Mich., for reducing energy consumption using advanced energy-efficient technology.

The company is expected to cut its light-related electricity consumption in its facilities by 60 percent. Green Tech Lighting’s technology is expected to decrease the kilowatt-hours the company uses for lighting by 2,773,303 kWh annually after it replaced all of its fluorescent light fixtures with American-made Orion Energy Systems LED energy-saving technology. The project was engineered and installed by Green Tech Lighting.

Quanex will indirectly decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 1.708 tons per year over the life cycle of Green Tech Lighting’s fixtures. During that same period, the company will cut 3.665 tons of sulfur dioxide and 1.551 tons of nitrogen oxides, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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