Masonry and LEED v4

Advanced products and systems can facilitate compliance
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LEED v4: Are You Ready?

Now is the time to prepare for full implementation of LEED v4. Beginning November 1, any project pursuing LEED must do so under LEED v4. LEED v4 is significantly revised from LEED 2009. Some of the issues to consider are listed below.

Long-term benefits. LEED v4 may have just mainstreamed life-cycle thinking. In any event, it encourages life-cycle assessments of products, and stresses the importance of looking beyond the initial dollar costs and considers the product’s environmental impacts over the lifetime of the building. The amount of maintenance and repair a product will require is a key factor in its life-cycle cost. Under LEED v4 expanded credits for reusing existing buildings and a new credit on performing a whole building life-cycle assessment are available.

Increased energy efficiency. Buildings must be at least 5 percent better than ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010. The previous edition required compliance with the 2007 edition of Standard 90.1. Experts estimate this to be an increase in stringency of approximately 18 percent. Whole building energy simulation is the preferred compliance path in LEED v4.

Urban heat island calculation. A significant change in LEED v4 combines the credits for roof and non-roof surfaces in a single urban heat island calculation.

Material ingredients. New credits in LEED v4 MR section require documentation of building product raw materials and their effects on the environment. These include material ingredient reporting and environmental product declarations.

Material sourcing. Where products come from matters. Other new MR credits include sourcing of raw materials and a new take on regional materials that eliminates the stand-alone credit and instead adds weighting to materials sourced within 100 miles of the project site.

Acoustic performance. LEED v4 now includes a prerequisite for minimum acoustic performance in schools and a credit for acoustic performance in most other versions of the rating system.

Construction waste. With a LEED v4 credit involving construction waste on-site and off-site, it behooves architects to lean toward modular sizing, where you specify exactly what you need with little overage.

Multiple benefits. In selecting a project for energy efficiency, consider in what other areas it may carry advantages. If a masonry product, say, is selected for its energy-saving properties, architects will also reap dividends in the areas of aesthetics and acoustics. It is this type of synergy that is a key objective of LEED v4.

Masonry products can play a significant role in achieving the above-mentioned credits.


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Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in June 2016