Environmental / LEED
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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized point-based rating system for sustainable building practices. It’s like the Olympics of the construction industry, but instead of gold medals, buildings can earn silver, gold, or platinum certifications for exceptional sustainability practices.
But what does it take to achieve LEED certification? Well, buildings must score at least 26 points, with the use of sustainable products and practices earning more points. These practices can include things like using recycled materials,-efficient appliances, and implementing water-saving measures. The more sustainable the building, the higher the certification level it can earn.
Concrete may seem like a traditional building material, but did you know that it can be a major contributor to obtaining LEED certification? And it’s not just the concrete itself that counts—the decorative finishes used to give it colour and design options can also earn you LEED credits.
As sustainable building practices have gained popularity, the decorative concrete industry has responded by developing products that fit the “green” trend while also giving designers, architects, and homeowners more ways to incorporate artistic elements into their designs.
But how, exactly, can decorative concrete finishes help you earn LEED certification? Let’s take a closer look.
3 Ways Decorative Concrete Directly Impacts LEED Certification
LEED's Credit 7.1
LEED’s Credit 7.1, under the Sustainable Sites section, aims to reduce heat islands by using shade, pervious surfaces, or reflective hardscape surfaces for at least 50% of the hardscape surfaces on a project. The materials used must have a solar reflective index (SRI) of 29 or greater to minimize impacts on microclimates, human, and wildlife habitats.
Using light-colored concrete, either integral or topical, is the best way to achieve a Solar Reflective Index (SRI) of 29 or higher. This can be done with standard concrete, stamped concrete, or pervious concrete. For renovation projects, light-colored microtoppings or stampable overlays can be used to achieve a decorative finish that meets the SRI requirement.
LEED's Credit 4.1
This LEED credit aims to minimize harmful indoor air contaminants for both occupants and installers. It focuses on reducing the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitted by adhesives and sealants during construction. To qualify for the credit, sealants must not exceed 250 g/l of VOC.
LEED's Credit 4.3
This LEED credit is particularly impactful for decorative concrete flooring systems. Low-VOC emitting “concrete stain and sealer finish systems” qualify for credit. Decorative concrete floors also function as the flooring surface, eliminating the need for additional layers of floor covering, reducing costs and material consumption. Water-based stains and dyes with a low-VOC emitting sealer system meet LEED requirements. These include acid stains, concrete dyes, water-based tints, acrylic stains, tinted sealer systems, and eco-friendly stains made from renewable resources. Water-based systems offer expanded color options, zero-VOC content and fast cure times. Many stain and dye manufacturers offer LEED-compliant products.
Indirect ways that decorative concrete impacts obtaining LEED certifcation
LEED and GlossWorks Alberta
GlossWorks Alberta offers solutions that can help you improve your LEED score. The growth in the popularity of sustainable building has driven the decorative concrete industry to develop products that not only fit the “green” building trend, but also give designers, architects and homeowners more ways to incorporate colorful and artistic elements into their designs while earning LEED credits.
Here we discuss how specific decorative concrete finishes can contribute, directly or indirectly, toward obtaining LEED certification.
- Recycling: you re-use your existing slabs
- Eliminiates flooring failure due to moisture – no spalling, seams, or splitting, avoiding replacement that hurts the environment (and your budget)
- No harmful chemical strippers or waxes required – simply wash with a natural cleaner
- Polished concrete/terrazzo is the preferred “sanitary” flooring system – the diamond polishing process gives you the “tightest” microscopic finish available, leaving little or no room for the growth of bacteria, fungus, mold or viruses.
- The process is clean, dust-free, and has zero environmental impact.
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Professional application of techniques and equipment to transform a raw concrete surface into a highly polished and functional floor.
Application of a protective layer to a concrete surface to prevent moisture, stains, and other damaging substances from penetrating the surface and causing deterioration.
The process of fixing damaged or deteriorated concrete structures using specialized techniques and materials to restore their functionality and structural integrity.
Application of a protective layer or coating to a concrete surface to enhance its appearance, durability, and resistance to wear, tear, and weathering.
A decorative concrete technique that involves the application of a mixture of River Rock and polyaspartic resin to create a unique, slip-resistant, and durable surface ideal for pool decks, patios, and other outdoor areas.
Creation of a flat and even surface to correct any unevenness and ensure proper drainage.
Removal of old coatings, contaminants, and roughen the surface of a concrete substrate in preparation for a new coating or overlay.