Exteriors and Outdoor Design

Design trends for exterior spaces and four-season rooms
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Sponsored by AGS Stainless, Inc., Bison Innovative Products, Panda Windows & Doors, and Western Red Cedar Lumber Association
By Elena M. Pascarella, RLA, ASLA

LEED Criteria and Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system promotes design and construction practices that enhance the environment, promote sustainability, and benefit user health and well-being. LEED certification is obtained based on a point system and includes many areas related to choice of materials. These include recycled content, potential for product reuse, impact on energy and water consumption, the likelihood of product or coating emissions, impact on indoor air quality, thermal comfort, durability, maintenance requirements, and impact on indoor light.9

Stainless steel contributes to LEED certification through its high recycled content and high salvage rate at end of life. In addition, stainless steel has the potential to influence other LEED points based on how it is used in a specific application. Some related points for stainless steel railings include:

  • Maintenance requirements: Stainless steel railings are easy to clean and thus require no environmentally hazardous chemicals.
  • Indoor air quality and outdoor emissions: Stainless steel is ideal for outdoor applications because of its corrosion resistance. Thus, it requires no protective coating. This eliminates the adverse environmental impacts associated with coatings, such as out gassing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).10

End Notes

1“Window Technologies: Low-E Coatings.” Efficient Windows Collaborative. 2000–2017. Web. 23 June 2017. www.efficientwindows.org/lowe.php.According to the publication, “Low-e glass coatings can have an emittance as low as 0.04. Such glazing would emit only 4 percent of the energy possible at its temperature, and thus reflect 96 percent of the incident long-wave, infrared radiation. Window manufacturers’ product information may not list emittance ratings. Rather, the effect of the low-e coating is incorporated into the U-factor for the unit or glazing assembly.”

2A polyamide is a type of plastic having high heat resistance.

3Nesom, Guy. Plant Guide: Western Red Cedar. USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program. Web. 23 June 2017. plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_thpl.pdf.

4,5,6The Cedar Book: Volume X, First Edition. Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. 2017. Web. 23 June 2017. www.realcedar.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/wrcla-cedar-book-v10-final-web.pdf.

7The Lacey Act is a 1900 United States law that bans trafficking in illegal wildlife. In 2008, the act was amended to include plants and plant products, such as timber and paper

8IBAMA is the acronym for the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, which is the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment’s administrative arm. The IBAMA supports anti-deforestation of the Amazon and implements laws against deforestation where the government ceases to implement.

9Houska, Catherine. Sustainable Stainless Steel Architecture. Nickel Development Institute. Web. 23 June 2017. www.nickelinstitute.org/~/media/Files/NickelUseInSociety/Architecture/SustainableStainlessSteelArchitecture.ashx?la=en.

10Houska, Catherine; P.G., Stone; and Cochrane, David J. Timeless Stainless Architecture. Nickel Development Institute. Oct. 2001. Web. 23 June 2017. www.nickelinstitute.org/~/media/Files/TechnicalLiterature/TimelessStainlessArchitecture_11023_.ashx.


Elena M. Pascarella, RLA, ASLA is a practicing landscape architect, continuing education presenter, and consultant engaged in a private practice based in Rhode Island. The firm’s portfolio can be viewed at www.landscapeelementsllc.com.



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[ Page 6 of 6 ]        
Originally published in Architectural Record


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Exteriors and Outdoor Design
Buyer's Guide
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