Steel Industry Releases Guide To LEED v4 Certification

The Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh opened its doors last fall. Detailed coordination with architecture and mechanical systems yielded an innovative steel-framed structure that earned the project LEED Platinum certification. (Photo: Sippel Steel Fab)

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) has released a guide to using steel construction products for the latest version of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program. The guide, “LEED v4 for Steel Products Used in Construction Applications,” is a resource intended to help construction professionals understand how steel products can earn points toward LEED v4 certification.

“A rapidly-evolving green building industry and increasing demand for sustainability have led to a number of updates and a more rigorous certification process in LEED v4,” said Mark Thimons, vice president of sustainability with SMDI. “The new process places an increased focus on material and resource transparency. This new guide for steel construction products will help builders leverage steel’s sustainability benefits to meet their certification goals.”

Steel has always been well-positioned for credits in categories like recycled content, but LEED v4 offers even more opportunities to earn credits for steel use, across a range of categories, such as:

  • Materials and resources: Steel-intensive design truly excels in this category, which focuses on minimizing the embodied energy and other impacts associated with the extraction, processing, transport, maintenance and disposal of building materials. The requirements are designed to support a life-cycle approach that improves performance and promotes resource efficiency.

  • ​Energy and atmosphere: ​This category approaches energy from a holistic perspective, addressing energy use reduction, energy-efficient design strategies and renewable energy sources. Steel framing can provide the building block for truly energy-efficient designs, while steel cladding products can help create exceptionally tight building envelopes. Additionally, steel roofing provides an excellent platform for photovoltaic systems to earn energy and atmosphere credits.

  • ​Sustainability sites​: Construction professionals can earn sustainable sites points by using steel roofing products to reduce heat island effects and prefabricated steel products to reduce onsite construction times.

The guide is available at