Guide to Green Building Floors with Intertech Flooring and LEED Services
The environmentally responsible commercial construction market growth will offer greater opportunities for everyone from product manufacturers to specifiers to be involved with environmentally friendly building projects, including retrofitting. Along with this growth you can expect more information – and unfortunately, misinformation, about green construction materials and methods. To help you separate fact from fiction, here are answers to the most-often asked questions that specifiers and facility managers have about flooring and environmentally friendly projects.
Q: What LEED programs are impacted the most by commercial flooring?
A: LEED-NC (New Construction and Major Renovations) and LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors).
LEED-NC and LEED-CI are two programs (of four total) where flooring can play a role in earning LEED points. LEED-NC has performance criteria that apply to commercial and institutional buildings that are either new or undergoing major renovations. LEED-CI is a newer program designed to address the specifics of tenant spaces primarily in office and institutional buildings.
Q: Are there LEED experts that can assist with projects?
A: Yes. LEED awards professional accreditation to those who have studied and passed rigorous training.
Understanding the standards within these programs takes education and experience. The benefit to working with accredited professionals is their ability help you understand the documentation and certification process and assist you with design and construction phase submittals. Intertech Flooring is leading the industry in LEED expertise. We are one of the few flooring companies in the nation to have LEED-accredited staff on board.
Q: Are there any recent changes in LEED that can affect my flooring choice if I’m working towards LEED certification on my project?
A. Yes. A new version of LEED-NC released in November 2005 has updates that relate specifically to flooring.
LEED-NC version 2.2 includes major credit changes that affect your floor product choice, including updates to recycled content, new requirements on what constitutes regional materials and an enhanced standard on low-emitting materials-carpet systems. Intertech Flooring has access to the broadest product selection available on your search for flooring that meets the new NC v2.2 criteria.
Q: Does it cost more to specify green flooring products in pursuit of LEED certification?
A: Not necessarily.
Building green can pay off in reducing the environmental impact a building has on its surroundings and in the bottom line as well. If you look at just the “first cost” figures, it can cost approximately 2% more to construct a LEED-certified building. But, that cost can be recovered through faster lease-up rates, rental premiums and increased market valuation. A study by internally acclaimed architectural consultants Davis Langdon reported that sometimes the first costs of constructing a sustainable building are comparable to constructing a non-green structure, especially if LEED-savvy professionals are used and building systems synergies are identified early in the construction process. Intertech Flooring’s LEED-accredited staff can help you reduce “first cost” floor expense, thanks to our national StarNet buying clout with the nation’s leading floor covering manufacturers. And, because of our green building experience, we know how to control installation costs and related expenses.
Q: How can I justify the cost of green flooring on my project if the initial cost is higher?
A: Conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) analysis to evaluate and quantify the economic and environmental benefits of the floor over the life of the product and the building.
At Intertech Flooring, we understand that green projects translate to specifying for long life cycle rather than specifying for first costs. LCA analysis methods are becoming more standardized, and tools are emerging from manufacturers and organizations to provide comparable product evaluations. We can assist you with LCA evaluations and provide you with the best possible high-performance flooring solutions for your projects.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Tips for Controlling Costs on LEED Projects
- Define your environmental target and decide what level of LEED certification you going after.
- Set a clear and adequate budget: higher levels of LEED certification do require additional expenditure.
- Maintain the economic and environmental integrity of your project at every stage.
- Engineer for optimum life cycle value and sustainability.
- Hire LEED-knowledgeable professionals to assist with your project.
Starnet – and Intertech Flooring – Take the LEED
As a member of national flooring cooperative Starnet, Intertech Flooring also is a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Our specifiers are among the only LEED-accredited flooring experts in the country. They can provide objective product advice, technical assistance and installation documentation. As you work through your LEED planning, ask us questions early in the process. We will give you credible answers and may be able to point out ways to earn additional LEED points. When you need flooring help on your next LEED project, call on the LEED-accredited flooring experts at Intertech Flooring.
The USGBC and LEED: www.usgbc.org
The NRDC: www.nrdc.org