Outokumpu forerunner in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

08 JUL 2014

Outokumpu and stainless steel get a boost from recent revisions to The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED certification program. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design encourages much longer building life and energy modeling to reduce energy use.

“Building materials must be capable of reaching these expectations,” notes Camilla Kaplin, Manager—Product Safety & Environment for Outokumpu. “This favors stainless steel. Stainless is more suited for corrosive environments and stainless can achieve at least a 60-year life, which is the minimum when evaluating the service life of a building according to the LEED program” she adds.

LEED applies to all building types

The 2013 LEED revisions are referred to as v4. LEED certification applies to all building types including residential, commercial and industrial and is used by architects to design and specify projects with enhanced sustainability.

“Most people do not understand the breadth of scope in LEED points or the tremendous potential that Outokumpu stainless can provide. Designers and architects specifying Outokumpu stainless could gain as many as 10-15 points toward LEED certification,” Kaplin indicates.

Earlier versions of LEED recognized recycled content, which already benefits stainless. “But LEED v4 has many more criteria where stainless steel, and Outokumpu, can contribute credits,” stresses Kaplin. 

Stainless steel adorns the top 300 feet of New York City’s Chrysler Building. Built in 1930, the spire continues to shine despite being cleaned only twice in its history.

Outokumpu is the only stainless steel producer providing Environmental Product Declarations

Two areas in which Outokumpu offers an advantage are under Material & Resources: Raw Materials Extraction and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD). An EPD is environmental information presented in a standardized way to more easily compare different building products.

“Because an EPD requires external, third-party verification, the EPD data is generally very reliable,” Kaplin says. An EPD is based on life cycle data, information that Outokumpu has been gathering for some time.

“To my knowledge, we are the only stainless steel producer to have publically made available EPD,” Kaplin reports.

The inherent qualities of stainless steel also help achieve LEED points. For example, the LEED program grants up to three points for the use of low emitting interior materials. “Stainless steel, like most metals, is recognized as a ‘no emissions’ material,” cites Kaplin.

Recyclability and recycled content are what people often associate with stainless. These are areas in which Outokumpu excels. Outokumpu stainless is 100% recyclable, and more than 80% of Outokumpu stainless comes from recycled content.

Read more about Environmental Product Declarations and gaining LEED points