LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an invaluable asset to any new construction project. This building rating system standardizes the characteristics of buildings that ensure it is efficient, environmentally friendly, and provide a safe atmosphere for employees or residents.
This independently applied certification was developed by the United States Green Building Council but is now being put into practice across the entire globe. Buildings that score well within this system use green products and technology from the roof down to the individual nails.
High ratings increase property value, lessen the total costs of construction, and reduce the amount of energy necessary to regulate the internal environment.
What Can Roofing Do?
Green roof designs can vary widely from building to building. However, the LEED certification standards have been designed around allowing buildings to earn credits based on the most critical aspects of efficiency that are related to typical green roofing projects.
Many green roofing systems will take advantage of vegetative resources as a prime material. Incorporating plants into the roofing system falls under the “Protecting and Restoring Habitats” regulations. The plants used must require almost no artificial irrigation, and they may not be dependent on pesticides or unnatural fertilizers of any kind.
Companies taking this approach to roofing should also cover at least 50% of the surface area in vegetation. This level of coverage promotes creating a heat island effect, thereby increasing the insulation efficiency of the roof.
If the vegetative roofing does require artificial irrigation, then LEED points can be earned by using drip irrigation whose water is coming from a reclaimed source such as collected runoff from pure sources at use in other parts of the building.
Energy performance is a large part of the evaluation as well, providing the possibility of earning up to 19 LEED points. There are minimal energy efficiency levels that must be met before a project can even qualify for LEED certification, to begin with.
When constructing a green roof, companies must demonstrate a specific percentage of improvement in energy consumption over more traditional methods of roofing the same type of structure.
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Additional Roofing Forms
Not all green roofs must take the vegetative approach. Many roofs take advantage of recycled materials and waste from other building projects. This part of the system is organized under the “Material Reuse” and “Recycled Products” guidelines.
They are meant to reduce the demand for raw materials that must be processed and refined to a great extent before being put into use. Any materials of this nature incorporated into the design must be categorized as post-consumer or pre-consumer items, referring to their method of production and acquisition.
These components must, at a minimum, contribute to 10% or 20% of the total value of recycled materials used in the project. Determining the exact figure for the total value of recycled material is done by weight. This number is then multiplied by the total cost of assembling the materials into usable components.
Companies or homes installing a green roof can potentially earn close to 30 LEED points. By merely covering half of the roof with vegetative materials during the construction, projects generally gain two points at a minimum.
Gaining 9 points from just the roofing system can actually account for 20% of the total points needed for a building to become LEED certified.
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