uilt environment through our sealants, adhesives, and firestopping products. Each of these product categories play vital roles in energy conservation, as safeguards from air and noise pollution, the preservation of physical property, and most importantly – the protection of human health and well-being.
To that end, we are pleased to announce that our Firestop-814+ Firestopping Sealant and Sound Seal 90 Draft, Smoke, and Acoustical Sound Sealant have been UL tested for emissivity and are LEED v4 compliant sealants as ‘low emission interior sealants and adhesives applied on site’ per testing to CA Section 01350.
WHAT IS LEED V4?
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program was created by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1997 and was later formalized by the USGBC.
LEED was established as a rating system to evaluate the environmental performance of a building as well as helping to promote a market shift towards a more sustainable design. Today, LEED is the most widely used green building system in the world and covers nearly all building project types. The credit-based system creates a framework wherein project teams create healthy, efficient, and cost-effective buildings by earning points for satisfying specific ‘green’ building criteria during the construction and designed use of a building.
The LEED rating system has seen multiple revisions, with the most recent iteration being LEED v4. While being launched in 2013, projects were able to be registered under the previous version’s (LEED 2009) rating system until last year. This latest version, according to USGBC, aims to be “more specialized and designed for a better user experience”. Additionally, LEED v4 contains more stringent criteria while requiring product validation by approved third-party testing.
LEED V4.1 is an update rather than a full version change. It references the newest standards and is more performance-based. On U.S. Green Building’s website, LEED V4.1 “raises the bar on building standards to address energy efficiency , water conservation, site selection, material selection, day lighting, and waste reduction.” The rating system in LEED V4.1 has been simplified; the scoreboard and requirements are streamlined, and new methodologies for tracking and rating performance are integrated directly into the rating system. This provides a clear framework for achieving LEED certification, not just for entire buildings but the spaces with in them as well.
WHAT’S CHANGED IN LEED V4.1
If you already know version v4, you won’t have to re-learn a new rating system with v4.1. However, there are some new additions, such as the new metric to evaluate energy performance. For the first time, energy-based evaluations will be on greenhouse gas emissions plus energy costs. To recognize projects that go above and beyond, they’ve introduced an option for exemplary performance within the BD+C credit.
For low-emitting materials in LEED v4.1, there are some changes. For example, instead of requiring you to earn every category for all products in order to get three points, you can now choose any of the categories and get 1 point for meeting 2 categories, 2 points for meeting 3, and 3 points for meeting 4, as well as an exemplary performance point for earning 5 categories – out of a total of 8.
The emissions standards have also changed. Instead of 90% emissions compliance, it is now 75% and applies to all categories, excepts flooring and ceilings, which are both 90% instead of 100%. For more updates and changes in version v4.1, go to the resource area on USGBC’s website https://www.usgbc.org/leed/v41
LEED V4 AND VOC EMISSIONS
In regards to certain VOC emitting materials, previous LEED versions have treated them as 5 separate issues, each worth 1 point. In LEED v4, these categories (plus an additional one) have been condensed into one credit called “Low Emitting Materials”, worth a total of up to 3 points. Also in previous versions, LEED set out VOC guidelines (using those set by California regulations or GreenSeal standards) and the grams per liter of VOCs in each product used on a LEED certified project were compared to these limits to determine compliance.
In LEED v4, the VOC compliance guideline still remains, but an additional layer of certification is required. VOC compliance alone is no longer enough. Instead, LEED v4 has bolstered the requirements by mandating emissions testing by a certified, third-party laboratory to ensure the product is in compliance with the California Department of Public Health’s “Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources using Environmental Chambers” v1.2 (Emission testing method for CA Specification 01350).
There are a host of other changes in LEED that affect nearly all building materials and types of construction – not just sealants and adhesives. Click here to learn more about LEED.
The concept of green building is the realization that the built environment can have huge effects, both positive and negative, on the natural environment as well as the individuals who occupy buildings every day. Beyond this realization, it is about action to maximize the positive while minimizing the negative of these effects throughout the life cycle of the building, from planning to daily operation.
In understanding that our caulks, sealants, adhesives, and firestopping products are essential components in building safer and more sustainable buildings, we at EverKem realize our responsibility to provide quality, performance-driven products that impact the built and natural environments, and the people who occupy them, in a positive way.