15. July 2010 10:45
In the construction and building industry, the phrase “going green” has for some time now been an essential part of the everyday language of anyone associated with the business. It’s no secret that there is a great demand for environmentally friendly and sustainable building methods and practices. “Green” is in, and with it comes standards for building environmentally friendly, sustainable structures. The US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) green building rating system has become the standard by which a building’s design, construction and overall environmental performance are measured. A project earns one of four LEED certification levels by fulfilling prerequisites and credits, for which points are earned. The complete process and certification requirements are explained on the USGBC’s website, www.usgbc.org.
While everyone is anxious to make “Green” a part of their sales pitch and reap the benefits, there are many construction methods that are unable to really walk the “green” walk. Modular Construction however, isn’t one of them. Modular construction is not only inherently environmentally friendly; it contributes to LEED™ eligibility in several ways.
- Modular reduces energy consumption. Modular units are built from the inside out, allowing the fire caulking and sealing of all air infiltration openings, making the building more energy efficient. (Energy and Atmosphere: LEED™ EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance)
- Modular uses high recycled content nontoxic steel framing. Structural steel is a high cost primary building component in DeLuxe’s modular units, and easily exceeds the required 10% recycled content requirement (based on total project cost). Certain kinds of steel used by DeLuxe contain nearly 100% recycled content (60% post-, 40% pre-). (Materials and Resources: LEED™ MRc4: Recycled Content 10% (post-consumer + 1/2 pre-consumer)
- Off-site building lessens on-site waste. Small amounts of in-plant waste are generated from modular construction, and are managed through a recycling plan which includes recycling materials such as wood and gypsum drywall. (Materials and Resources: LEED™ MRc2: Construction Waste Management (Divert 50% from disposal)
- Modular improves indoor air quality. DeLuxe typically specifies low-VOC materials for all projects in order to increase indoor air quality for building occupants. (Indoor Environmental Quality: LEED™ EQc4 1-4: Low Emitting Materials (Adhesives & Sealants, Paints & Coatings, Carpet Systems)
The USGBC’s LEED™ rating system is a commendable way to measure sustainable and truly eco-friendly buildings, yet simply obtaining that high LEED™ rating shouldn’t be the objective of any project. “Going Green” through a building’s design, construction and everyday use should be the goal simply because it’s the right thing to do. Utilizing modular construction methods is one way to reach that goal.