LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an American certification for the building industry, managed by the Green Building Council, which requires compliance with a given set of environmental requirements. In order to be LEED certified, a building must obtain at least 40 credits out of 110 credits available. Every single material used must therefore qualify for as many points as possible. The aim of this certification is to ensure the sustainability of buildings.
LEED certification relates to several issues, but the main objectives are:
· Reduction of the amount of waste produced and of resources used
· The re-use of materials
· The recycling of materials
To this end, buildings that aim to obtain LEED certification must comply with 9 requisites:
1. Integrated Processes
2. Location and Transportation (LT)
3. Sustainable Sites (SS)
4. Water Efficiency (WE)
5. Energy & Atmosphere (EA)
6. Materials & Resources (MR)
7. Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)
8. Innovation (IN)
9. Regional Priority (RP)
Novoceram ceramic tiles can contribute towards obtaining points for 3 out of the 9 areas listed above.
1) SS : Sustainable Sites :
The standards foresee the reduction of the heat island, that is to say the difference of thermal gradient between the industrialized and non-industrialized areas (urban and rural) to reduce to a minimum the impact on the micro-climate on human and animal inhabitants. The criterion foresees the measurement of two different features of the materials: solar reflectance and thermal emission. This leads to the calculation of an index which takes into consideration measured values, called SR (Solar Reflectance), in accordance with ASTM E-903 and ASTM E-892 regulations.
• In order to obtain LEED points it is necessary for the covering materials used on building external walls, terraces and parking lots to have an index of SR = 33.
The Solar Reflectance index of a material is a function parameter of the ratio between the amount of thermal energy emitted by the surface and the fraction of radiation reflected from the surface itself. The coefficient varies between 0 and 1 and is influenced by color/heat: the clearer the surface, the higher the coefficient, and by the characteristics of the ceramic: if it were a metal sheet the coefficient would be lower.
2) MR : Materials & Resources
Such credits are based on the increase on the demand of construction materials extracted or produced within the regional territory of the building site, therefore also reducing the impact of transportation.
• An initial requirement is given by the presence or the absence of an EDP (Environmental Product Declaration) or by the certification released by a third party on the product, which proves the reduction of the impact on the average indicators of the products in the same sector based on 6 standard environmental criteria. Novoceram EPD meets this need.
• Another point may be awarded if the producer uses raw materials in a transparent way: the company must be able to supply information on the place of origin, place of extraction and the commitment on behalf of the quarry towards the environment.
• An additional point may be awarded in function of the amount of recycled waste material contained in the product. Novoceram has certified some of its products as containing a given amount of recycled materials.
• Another point concerning raw materials used by Novoceram in compliance with the REACH European Directive. At least a 10% value of building materials used must have been extracted, recovered or processed in a place close to the project site.
3) IEQ: Indoor Environmental Quality
The parameter refers to any emission of Volatile Organic Compound (or VOC).
As for their nature and the production process they undergo, ceramic tiles do not contain VOCs.
The tile firing at a temperature superior to 1200° eliminates any organic compound and this allows the automatic point award.