As the construction industry’s quest for environmental-responsibility continues, finding affordable, sustainable building products becomes more and more important. Polished concrete flooring is not only a natural, durable and beautiful flooring application, but also contributes to LEED certification.
BENEFITS OF GREEN FLOORING
POLISHED CONCRETE & LEED
For LEED-NC (new construction), there is a maximum of 69 points that can be accrued, with the certification levels defined as below.
- Certified – 26-32 points
- Silver – 33-38 points
- Gold – 39-51 points
- Platinum – 52-69 points
Perfect Polish’s polished concrete system contributes to the following LEED-NC points:
1 LEED point each (Materials & Reuse):
MR 1.1 – Building Reuse – Maintain 75% of Existing Walls, Floors, and Roof:Reusing building materials instead of replacing them reduces the environmental impact incurred by manufacturing and transporting new material. Reusing the concrete slab contributes to this point if the total amount of reused materials meets or exceeds 75% as calculated by the square footage.
MR 1.2 – Building Reuse – Maintain 95% of Existing Walls, Floors, and Roof:If the total amount of reused material meets or exceeds 95% on the project, the building can achieve a point in addition to MR 1.1. The reused components, including (polished concrete) flooring, framing, roof, and the exterior structure of the building, can all be used to calculate this percentage.
MR 3.1 – Material Reuse – 5% Reused Items:Using polished concrete and exposed concrete as a floor finish, instead of covering it with carpet, tile, or other materials, prevents waste and dematerializes a project. We are not sitting material on top of the slab that will end up in a land-fill upon replacement.
MR 3.2 – Material Reuse – 10% Reused Items:An additional point (on top of MR 3.1) can be attained if the amount of materials reused in the project exceeds 5%, and meets or exceeds 10%. This percentage can be calculated by analyzing the replacement value of items versus the total cost of the construction project.
1 point: Indoor Environmental Air Quality 4.2 – Low Emitting Materials – Paints & Coatings:
About 30% of the population is affected by some degree of environmental sensitivity, which is why volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) need to be avoided as they affect the indoor air quality. By using a low VOC sealer on the floor (or by omitting the sealer entirely), our Natural Wonder Floor System will assist in meeting this requirement. Materials that emit odorous or harmful VOCs should be avoided whenever possible to maintain green design.
(Prerequisite) Energy and Atmosphere P2 – Minimum Energy Performance:
Buildings must comply to a minimum energy efficiency level overall as established by standards in their local building codes, the Department of Energy Standards, or by complying with ASHRAE / IESNA 90.1-2004 regulations before they can even be considered for LEED certification.
The ambient lighting provided by a Natural Wonder sheen will reduce the amount of lighting required to illuminate the space. This maximizes the natural and artificial lighting already in use, promoting a more green lighting system as a whole.
Also, the insulating properties of constructing with concrete (thermal mass), including walls and exposed slabs, help retain the internal temperature of the building reducing the energy consumed by HVAC systems.
1-10 points: Energy and Atmosphere 1 – Optimize Energy Performance:
Up to ten points can be achieved through credit EA 1 if the energy efficiency threshold exceeds the energy savings baseline required for the prerequisite (EA P2). Again, reflectivity and thermal mass help optimize the energy performance of the project, resulting in increased environmental sustainability.
The points are accumulated if at least 10.5% improved energy savings comparing the resulted performance to the baseline performance. Additional points are gained for each 3.5% improvement thereafter. For existing buildings, the initial rating is 3.5% with additional points still accruing at each 3.5% improvement.
Sustainable architecture is about bridging the gap between sustainable construction, architecture and environmental protection. Using polished concrete as a building material provides an intrinsically green solution.