What Is LEED Certification And How Does It Apply To Commercial Resinous Flooring?
Updated: Aug 8
Over 20 years ago, The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) sustainable certification program was founded by the U.S. Green Building Council. The purpose of this was to provide guidelines and standards that a construction project must comply with in order to be deemed environmentally sustainable.
If you’re starting a new architectural project, or even revitalizing an already existing building, there’s a good chance that you’re required to meet LEED certification requirements. But how does LEED work? Why is it important? And how do you make sure your floors are LEED compliant?
How Does The Certification Work?
The certification program categorizes project requirements based on ratings systems for each individual industry, including many that may need to upgrade their flooring systems, such as commercial buildings, schools, and healthcare facilities.
These requirements are separated into categories that assign credits to certain projects that can be earned in order to satisfy the sustainable building requirements.
The total number of credits that the building earns in each category determines the project’s level of LEED certification, so it is important that commercial contractors are aware of these requirements.
Why Is LEED-Certification Important?
LEED certified buildings and products significantly reduce the amount of strain on the environment, as they generate less waste and are more resource and energy-efficient.
There are many other added benefits of being able to say that your flooring is LEED-certified. These include the ability to gain a competitive edge, attracting tenants or customers, and economic savings.
Improving the environmental quality of your flooring can also reduce absenteeism and work hours that are affected by respiratory ailments such as asthma, allergies, and mental disorders such as depression.
Overall, LEED-certified epoxy flooring products create healthier spaces and provide employees and customers with clean air that is free from harsh chemicals that are found in other flooring systems.
Epoxy Flooring Is Perfect For LEED
Many companies that need to, or want to, meet LEED requirements should consider installing an epoxy flooring system inside their facility. This is because epoxy flooring is perfect for LEED, as many formulas meet the specific requirements for VOC limits.
Replacing a stained or cracked concrete floor with an epoxy coating is significantly more sustainable than installing a different type of flooring system, as it saves on energy, materials and eliminates the usage of landfills.
In addition to this, epoxy is also 100% solid, and it produces no odors and no off-gassing, making it very environmentally friendly.
Epoxy also has other added benefits, such as that it can be cleaned in a more efficient manner than other flooring options. Cleaning techniques can include environmentally sustainable solutions, such as detergent-free scrubbers and water scrubbing technologies, which reduces harmful emissions and decreases maintenance costs.
What Buildings Are Required To Have LEED?
Every state has its own requirements when it comes to environmental regulations and permit decisions.
For example, New Jersey requires that new state building constructions earn a minimum of LEED Silver certification. This includes recommendations for increased energy efficiency in buildings across the state.
Additionally, in 2020, Governor Phil Murphy created a new plan to reach goals of 50% clean energy by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2050. His plan specifically aims to improve energy performance in state buildings and establish procedures to increase efficiency in buildings that already exist.
One of the simplest ways to increase the energy efficiency inside your facility is to install a flooring system that uses LEED certified products.
How To Tell If The Flooring Products Being Used Are LEED Certified?
This can be determined by speaking with your resinous flooring expert about the products that they use when installing an epoxy or cement flooring system. Manufacturers provide data sheets that list LEED compliances, as well as other environmental information for each product that will be used during installation.
Long-Term Environmental Benefits of Epoxy Flooring
Epoxy flooring has a better long-term environmental impact than other flooring options.
For example, plank, vinyl and other flooring options would typically need to be removed and placed in a landfill once they have exceeded their lifespan, or if the floors became damaged in any major way.
However, epoxy floors do not need to be removed, as they weld to the existing concrete slab that is already in place. This eliminates the need for products to be placed in landfills and is better for the environment overall.
Do The Products Used By High Performance Systems Meet The VOC Threshold?
This isn’t actually that straightforward of a question. We don’t simply take epoxy and install it, we design a personalized epoxy system. Each component is chosen through working with you so the finished floor is tailored to your needs.
With that in mind, if LEED flooring is a requirement for your space, that is more than possible. Make that clear upfront, and we’ll make sure our proposed plan is LEED compliant. We’ll work with our manufacturers to make sure every component fits the requirements.