New developments and buildings spring up in Seattle every day. In many of these new structures people may notice a LEED Green Building certification on the wall, but some may wonder what it means to receive this award? There are several pathways to the certification, and commercial concrete contractors in Seattle often have a hand in a building qualifying due to concrete’s sustainable characteristics and its environmentally-beneficial uses in building design.
What is the LEED certification?
The Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Building Certification is a designation given to new or existing buildings that prioritize sustainable and environmentally-friendly choices in their design and construction process. The certification is awarded based on a point system and is broken into five areas: Building Design and Construction, Interior Design and Construction, Building Operations and Maintenance, Neighborhood Development, and Homes. The certification has multiple levels that correspond with the amount of points a building has collected, with 40-49 points earning the base certification, 50-59 points earning Silver, 60-79 points earning Gold, and 80 points or more earning Platinum. The points are awarded for various characteristics or processes in building design and construction, such as use of sustainable materials, water-efficiency, energy performance, or indoor environmental quality.
Concrete’s Natural Qualities
Concrete can be a great asset in building design and construction as developers and contractors work toward a LEED certification. By its nature concrete optimizes energy performance in buildings because of its high thermal mass which leads to thermal stability in the structure. Concrete is also known for its superior strength, so its use in taller vertical structures allows designers to forgo columns and other interior floor space obstructions, which means more natural light can suffuse the interior space, increasing indoor environmental quality and decreasing lighting energy usage.
Concrete and its use in buildings can also be specifically engineered to increase its sustainable qualities. The aggregate in poured concrete or shotcrete mixtures can be sourced from recycled materials, or sourced from regional materials that are found near the construction site, thus reducing CO2 emissions from transportation. Old concrete can be reused for retaining walls or crushed and used as a pavement base. To increase water-efficiency and sustainable stormwater management, pervious concrete can be used for large horizontal slabs like parking lots to allow rainwater to flow through the concrete to the soil below.
The Conco Companies’ mission is to be the best supplier of concrete services in the Western U.S. and to bring expertise and incomparable quality to each project. We continue to upgrade and expand our facilities to better serve the growing market for commercial, educational, parking structures, public works projects, and other development. Contact us to learn more about the services from one of the most trusted concrete contractors in Seattle.