In the global environmental building stakes, the US backed LEED scheme has left all rivals trailing in its wake. So what is LEED, how has it defeated BREEAM so decisively in almost every market across the world and what are the implications for your choice of building materials.
LEED is similar to BREEAM in many ways. Both schemes promote best practice and award credits with the total number of credits won being used to determine a ‘value’ for the building – ‘Excellent’ or ‘Outstanding’ for BREEAM, ‘Gold’ or ‘Platinum’ for LEED. The two schemes even award credits for many of the same things.
One of the major differences is in the approach of the competing schemes. BREEAM is, in many ways, more bureaucratic, as belies its deep and highly entangled roots within the UK building regulations and commissioning process.
By contrast LEED is more flexible and often prescribes multiple ways to achieve the same credit. This makes it a more easily adaptable scheme and may be one of the reasons why it has been more successful outside of the UK.
Of course the power and global reach of US companies who require all of their international premises to be built to a unified standard, the US standard, has also helped LEED to expand and grow.
There are a number of differences in emphasis between LEED and BREEAM. Neither scheme has very much to say about pipe insulation at all but LEED does place a higher importance on indoor air quality and this can influence material selection.
One particular credit is ‘EQ: low-emitting materials’. This is a credit that’s awarded for ensuring that adhesives, paints and some other fixtures and fittings comply with the strict rules on volatile organic chemical content (VOCs). Because these VOCs are a major contributing factor towards indoor air-quality, achieving this credit is important in ensuring a healthy building free from ‘sick building syndrome’.
Kaimann: LEEDing by example
Kaimann has always given a high priority to ensuring that consultants who specify Kaiflex can fully comply with LEED and achieve the ‘EQ: low-emitting materials’ credit.
The first way that we’ve moved towards LEED compliance is by developing and promoting systems that can be installed without the use of liquid adhesive. Solutions such as Kaiflex ST selfseal and Kaiflex Turbotube are compliant with the strict requirements of the ‘EQ: low-emitting materials’ credit.
Where liquid adhesive is absolutely necessary Kaimann can supply a special adhesive (Kaiflex Adhesive 494) that’s been formulated to comply with the LEED requirements. This adhesive can be used in any building where the ‘EQ: low-emitting materials’ credit has been targeted.