The commercial construction industry evolves each year, with new tactics and techniques to help keep costs in line and, more recently, to help the environment. To that end, LEED certification continues to grow in construction, with as many as 20 percent of construction projects expected to be LEED certified by 2013.
The materials used in LEED certification continue to evolve. Builders receive credit for using wood that is tracked and managed by the Forestry Stewardship Council, which helps keeps forests sustainable worldwide. Other materials can also be key factors in gaining LEED certification as they allow for innovation points to be earned.
Recycling materials and the use of such environmentally friendly materials can create as many as 13 points in the LEED Certification grading scale, under the Materials and Resources credit. Those credits can come in a variety of ways, including the use of salvaged or refurbished materials. Builders can also gain a point by using at least 10 percent of its materials from a regional source, within 500 miles of a building site. Another point can be earned by having at least half of the wood for a project managed by the FSC.
All of those scenarios are just part of the LEED certification system, but coordinating that kind of project can be a challenge. Justin Black, LEED AP for CM Black, said that the LEED Certification process necessitates a thorough understanding of knowing where to find the best materials and how to incorporate that while maintaining a LEED certification strategy.
“There is a balance that you have to understand,” he said. “Sometimes, the distance to obtain the best materials can make it a challenge to maintain your optimal green building strategy.”
Black said the company is always investigating the latest LEED certification trends, as well as new ideas in the commercial construction marketplace. He said LEED certified projects are here to stay, and CM Black is ready for the changes that come as part of the process.
“We understand the challenges that companies can face when they investigate the green building option,” he said. “We always try to work with them to help determine the best course of action from the beginning. The more you know from the start, the more success you’ll have in meeting your goals.”