Green Building Made Easy with Insulated Concrete Forms
Sustainable or green building practices promote the construction of buildings that are healthier for the occupants and healthier for the environment. They reduce the tremendous impact that building construction, operation, maintenance, and disposal have on both people and nature.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Center for Sustainable Development, buildings consume 40-50% of the world's total energy, 25% of its wood harvest and 16% of its water. The building industry is the nation's largest manufacturing activity, representing more than 50% of the nation's wealth.
A recent report by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) promotes Green Building for the Biggest, Easiest Cuts in CO2 Emissions. Energy-saving technologies applied in buildings can result in enormous reductions in demand for fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases.
Insulated Concrete Forms are one key technology because they provide an ultra-efficient, high mass, high strength, and very durable building shell that keeps occupants healthy and comfortable.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) established the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) Rating System for many types of buildings. LEED evaluates environmental performance from a "whole building" perspective over a building's life cycle (cradle-to-grave), providing a standard to measure and improve a buildings sustainability.
For an industry snapshot, see Green Building by the Numbers (USGBC).
LEED Rating Primer
The LEED-NC 2009 rating system has six main credit categories:
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Sustainable Sites
- Innovation & Design
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Materials and Resources
- Regional Priority
Within each category, points are awarded for meeting specific criteria. All points are totalled up to determine the level of LEED certification. Using Quad-Lock ICFs and concrete can achieve up to 45 LEED points. See LEED '09 for ICF
Regions Requiring LEED
Many regions and municipalities in the US and Canada now require LEED certifications for publicly-owned building projects:
- At least 10 states have adopted LEED standards for new
construction: AZ, CA, ME, MI, NJ, NY, OR, PA, WA, and VA.
- Some of the municipalities are:
These lists are growing daily! Check out the LEED Guidelines for more details.