Why Glaziers Should Know LEED

Why Glaziers Should Know LEED

There’s an issue that not a lot of glazing contractors think about—but maybe they should.

When we talk about environmental standards for the building industry, LEED is it. Since it was launched in 2010, commercial projects seeking LEED certification have grown by 107%, with changes and evolutions coming almost as fast as we can get comfortable with them.

While LEED decisions are typically made during the design process and there’s never been much pressure on glazing contractors to need to understand the nuances of the program, I think that’s a missed opportunity on the part of our industry.

Glazing provides two major avenues for earning points toward LEED certification: performance and daylighting. U-value, thermal performance, visible light transmission and lines-of-sight—all of these glazing benefits lead to better environmental outcomes for the buildings. And better environmental outcomes lead to LEED, which attracts more tenants, faster and qualifies building owners for cost-saving financial incentives.

And lines of sight to the outdoors, while providing LEED and design benefits, also, and unsurprisingly, is great for occupants. Those who work, heal or study in living spaces with lots of natural light experience:

  • 10-25% better mental function and memory;
  • 6-12% faster call processing;
  • 8.5% shorter stays in the hospital;
  • 5-14% higher test scores;
  • 20-26% faster learning;
  • 18% more productivity; and
  • 15-40% increase in retail sales.

So … why should glazing contractors know LEED well enough to make recommendations? Two reasons.

First, to build solid relationships with general contractors and architects. It’s great to bring something extra to any party, and a well-made suggestion can make the difference between LEED silver and LEED gold.

Secondly, to sell more glass. Daylighting and efficiencies can benefit us all, if we only know how to capitalize on them.

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