August 2008 Newsletter

Do you need a LEED® statement on your website?

**** The 4specs Perspective

Having a LEED statement on your website may provide the edge it takes to get your products specified.

Many products that aren't themselves "green" can contribute to a building"s LEED certification. Having a well-written LEED statement can make a big difference for your company. And, regardless of whether your products are "green", every 4specs advertiser with multiple production locations should send us a list of your plant locations (with zip codes) for inclusion in our LEED regional materials search feature.

Here's an email I received from one of our users. It is typical of many conversations I've had:

Hey Colin,

I thought I would let you know that I found a LEED compliance letter from XCompany today. You could add a LEED icon next to their name in your database listing now. Oh yeah! I love that manufacturers are actually starting to do these letters, saves me time and DAYS researching this data. Thanks for all you do!

Our specifier users are often skeptical about an architect's enthusiasm when it comes to green building. So, we were a bit surprised at the high level of support for green building expressed in our 2008 user survey. On the question of whether products that contribute LEED credits are likely to be specified, 60.0% of our users agreed or strongly agreed that this is the case. Only 11.6% disagreed.

And, even if your products aren't "green" per se, they may well still contribute LEED points to building construction. Although products are a key focus at the USGBC Exhibit Hall, LEED certification does not require "green" materials. Most of the LEED points are design decisions. Quoting from BSDSoftlink's website:

Even though "green" materials specifying has a high profile as a general "green" issue, the LEED-NC Rating System assigns only 8 credits (out of 69) to materials issues such as recycled content, rapidly renewable content, locally-manufactured products, re-used products, and "certified" wood.
[link no longer available]

Here are several suggestions for your LEED statement:

1) Consider that designers are starting to incorporate LEED concepts into their designs on non-certified buildings, especially where they can get the benefits at a minimal cost to their owner. Several specifiers have used our zip code search to be sure they have considered all the local suppliers.

2) Develop a LEED statement explaining how your products can be used in a LEED-certified building. You do not need a long dialog about USGBC and LEED and why they are is important. Just describe how your products can be used.

3) Explain how your products affect each credit. Consider if there are additional LEED rating systems that are important to your products. There are several LEED systems - new construction, commercial interiors, core and shell, schools, etc.

4) Remember that your products do not give the LEED credit rather contribute to the LEED credit.

5) Remember that your products may not contribute enough value to be documented in the project. Documentation costs and not every product will justify the costs of documentation. For example, a steel frame on a project will contribute significantly to a recycled credit. A small steel product generally is not significant enough.

There are 2 times your documentation will be important - during design and during construction. During design the architect and specifier will decide which LEED credits will be targeted for the project. The design will include the design decisions and which products are to be included. During construction, each credit will have to be documented - and documentation is critical to the credit. Make your LEED statement complete enough so no additional research is needed. Work with an independent specifier or LEED consultant to review your LEED statement for completeness and to understand what is required.

Regional materials – LEED credits for every product.  One of the LEED credits is for regional materials. This requires permanently-installed materials to be made within 500 miles of the construction site, and the materials extracted within 500 miles from the project. Check out the 4specs Zip Code Search - the green button at the bottom of each page. This returns the page in zip code order so the designer can identify potential regional suppliers. If you have additional production facilities other than your home office, we will add your regional plants on this page. Try the zip code search on this page and look for Dietrich's plant locations.
http://www.4specs.com/s/05/05-2000.html

To add your plants to our database, just email me a list - preferred is a city-state-zip code text list - and you can update your contact and zip code search description to 75 words to cover multiple product lines at the same time. This database is updated early each month.

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Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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