Green building is a “holistic concept” that is an effort to promote positive effects on the environment throughout the entire building life-cycle, meaning from building design to construction and even the manufacturing process of the building materials. Another term that is widely used is sustainable building. No matter what you call it, the aim is to make efficient uses of land, materials, energy and water, generate minimal waste and provide healthy environments by restoring, improving or enhancing the natural environment.
This is not a new concept. The benefits that are associated with green building and sustainability practices are abundant, and more companies are adopting green practices into their overall business strategy. Not only does green building provide environmental benefits, it also provides the company implementing these practices numerous benefits:
Green Construction Benefits:
Green design and building practices reduce the usage of water and help conserve natural resources like wood and energy. Air and water quality is improved because less chemicals are emitted that pollute the environment. By utilizing green building principles, companies are also able to protect our ecosystems by conserving the natural habitat.
Specific materials that are qualified for “green building” are less harmful on the environment starting with the manufacturing process. Environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes emit minimal greenhouse gases and use very little natural resources to help preserve our wildlife and environment. Also, using certain green products as a building material, like plastic lumber, requires little to no maintenance after installation, so you can save time, money and resources by not having to replace and repair as often as other building materials.
For companies who have implemented these green design and building practices into their products and projects, many have seen reduced operation costs by saving on repairs and improved productivity. Companies are also helping to increase awareness of the “green” community by participating in green building practices.
USGBC & LEED
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) was established in 1993 with the main mission to promote sustainability-focused practices in the building industry. It started as a single meeting in a boardroom of representatives from over 60 firms and many nonprofit organizations to discuss ideas and develop a green building rating system, which later became known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
This certification program is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. With over 2.2 million square feet of buildings as LEED certified, 92,000 projects constructed in over 165 countries and territories, this system is globally accepted as a symbol of sustainability achievement.
The LEED rating system evaluates building projects in areas that are considered to have direct impact on human and environmental health. This system awards points to the projects that meet certain requirements in many different building and design areas. Last year, LEED v4 was introduced, which included updates to many of the requirements. One of these areas is building materials.
Building Material Requirements
Projects can be awarded points for many requirements in this section: using recycled content, an efficient manufacturing process, finding local or regional projects to save transportation energy and cost, using salvaged, refurbished or remanufactured material, durability in product life and being able to reuse or recycle the material after it has been dismantled.
Recycled Content: This includes products with recycled content, either post-industrial or post-consumer.
Resource-Efficient Manufacturing Process: The manufacturing process includes reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste and reducing greenhouse gases.
Locally Available: Materials found locally to save energy and resources in transportation to the project site. LEED awards points for 500 miles or less.
Salvaged, Refurbished or Remanufactured: Material is saved from disposal and renovation, repairs and restoration and improves the appearance, performance, quality or functionality of a product.
Reusable or Recyclable: These materials can be easily disassembled and reused or recycled at the end of their life-cycle.
Durability: This means that the material is longer lasting comparable to conventional product with long life expectancies.
Recycled Plastic Lumber by Bedford Technology
Choosing an environmentally-friendly building material isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Recycled plastic lumber by Bedford Technology comes in 4 product lines to suit your specific project and green building requirements.
Our products meet criteria for the USGBC LEED requirements: Most of our material comes from post-consumer waste and far exceeds the recycled content percentage criteria of 50%. We also use an environmentally-friendly process that produces minimal greenhouse gases. Most of our material comes from post-consumer HDPE, but we also use scrap/salvage from post-industrial bottle manufacturing and from our existing customers to reuse in our manufacturing process. Our products are 100% recyclable and in most situations, can be dismantled as easily as wood.
“Durable” doesn’t even begin to describe our product lines. Our structural recycled plastic lumber is resistant to termites, marine borers, salt, oil, rot and fungus and won’t splinter, crack or degrade when installed correctly. It can hold up in harsh environments and withstand high moisture levels.
LEED Continuing Education Credits:
Click here to learn how to get CE LEED credits
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