Achieving LEED Certification with Interior Glass
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a point-based rating system that evaluates the environmental impact of green buildings. The four LEED certification levels — Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum — are globally recognized symbols of sustainable achievement in the design, construction and facility management industries. Studies have shown that, in addition to being among the most energy efficient buildings in the world, LEED certified projects attract higher paying tenants, boost property values and cost significantly less to operate.
Interior glass partitions can help your building earn valuable points toward LEED certification, bringing you closer to attaining the coveted Platinum plaque. To understand how, let’s take a look at three major LEED categories:
Energy and Atmosphere (1-20 points)
Energy and Atmosphere (EA) credits award points to projects that save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Project teams can earn up to 20 points toward certification by demonstrating an improvement of at least 6% in energy performance compared to a conventional building. Interior glass walls can be instrumental in achieving this goal.
These walls enable spaces to be subdivided into different thermal zones, resulting in a more efficient heating and cooling system, while maintaining the appearance of an open plan. Additionally, glass partitions allow spaces to be illuminated by natural light which can significantly reduce artificial lighting demands.
Indoor Environmental Quality (1-6 points)
Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) credits are designed to support the health, productivity and comfort of building occupants. There are several ways interior glass can contribute to these objectives.
As mentioned above, interior glass partitions allow daylight to penetrate deeper into floor plates. If 75% of the occupied floor area is illuminated by natural light, projects can earn up to 2 points toward certification.
In addition to transmitting daylight, clear glass partitions also drastically improve sightlines between spaces and to the exterior. Projects are eligible for an additional 2 points if 75% of interior spaces have unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape.
Lastly, projects are rewarded 2 points if all occupied spaces surpass a minimum level of acoustic performance. These minimums are 45 STC for office spaces, 50 STC for retail spaces and 55 STC for residences. Interior glass partitions can be installed with double and triple glazed assemblies, helping projects meet and exceed these minimums.
Materials and Resources (1-3 points)
Materials and Resources (MR) credits reward project teams that reduce waste, source materials locally and use environmentally friendly building products. Depending on the manufacturer, interior glass wall systems may be able to earn you points in this category.
Projects can earn one point if 25% of the building’s components contain recycled, salvaged or refurbished materials. The aluminum frames that support interior glass walls often contain recycled content which would qualify. And, if the partitions were manufactured within a 100-miles of the project site, they count for double!
As a bonus, hospitals and other healthcare projects can receive an additional point if they are designed to easily adapt to different uses later on. To facilitate this, LEED asks that 50% of spaces feature demountable partitions. The interior glass wall systems by Brisk Architectural meet this criterion. They can be installed without permanent silicone joints, allowing tenants to easily demount, move or recycle them in the future.