April 2006

LEED the way

Are you familiar with the LEED program? This may be a new word to many of you, as it was to me a short time ago. LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) developed LEED to define green building design and raise awareness of its impact on the environment. The program promotes the use of environmentally friendly, as well as, energy efficient products in the building industry. For complete information on LEED and its certification process, check out the USGBC website at www.usgbc.org/leed.

This program is being embraced by architects, builders, and property owners whose impact is beginning to drive the use of materials with recycled content. Finally, products with recycled glass content are being sought out and used in building projects. These “green” products go well beyond the traditional flat-paned window glass. The unique qualities of recycled glass allow it to be incorporated in everything from roofing, to kitchenware, to landscaping.

For example, Vetrazzo™, made by Counter Production, is a ceramic aggregate material used in countertops that consists of 85-90% post-consumer recycled glass. It is as smooth as marble and four times as strong as concrete. Ice Stone® located in Brooklyn, New York also sells durable surfaces. So does EnviroGLAS® in Plano, Texas. In addition, EnviroGLAS® sell EnviroSCAPE™ which is landscaping mulch. The Quarry Tile Company uses 75% recycled materials, including glass, to make its Eco-Tile which is similar to ceramic tile. Bedrock Industries transforms 100,000 lbs. of recycled glass every year into luminous tiles, dinnerware, and garden products. Allied Floors™ in Seattle Washington has a product called Spectocular Floors™ that is a more affordable alternative to traditional terrazzo flooring.

Besides the highly visible surface products, recycled glass is being considered for use in other building materials. For example, Garland® Co. in Cleveland Ohio offers a new roofing material called StressPly® EUV. This unique, high-performance membrane incorporates post-consumer recycled rubber from scrap tires, post-consumer recycled glass from bottles, and post-industrial boiler slag. Invisible Structures manufactures Gravelpave² a molded geotextile fabric formed into a grid structure that contains the aggregates used in pathways, driveways, and parking lots. When combined with recycled glass gravel aggregate you have an eco-friendly and safe porous paving system with excellent drainage and maintain ability. Gravelpave² can provide a void space of up to 35% for storage volume of rainfall during rain events.

The LEED program also encourages and awards “points” for the actual recycling of waste glass generated during construction. The LEED program is helping recyclers to provide comprehensive recycling services to the construction companies building a LEED building. For example, Conigliaro Industries offers “Total Construction Job Site Recycling Services” that comply fully with the LEED program. These services include: online quotes for hauling and recycling; online paperwork retrieval of documents such as schedules, work orders, certified weights, and certificates of recycling; and the actual recycling of many materials.

Look out for more glass in the floor, part of the counter, on the roof, in the garden and across the parking lot. Recycling service companies can find this as a new opportunity to be LEEDers in their industry. Understand, support and recognize this new opportunity and then you will LEED the way.


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