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Sustainability: LEED

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council designed to provide "building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions."* "LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building ... was designed and build using strategies aimed at achieving high performance ... sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection and indoor environmental quality."*

As of March 2012, there were 12,000 LEED certified commercial buildings in the U.S. While LEED certification is increasingly an objective for a wide range of new commercial buildings and major renovations, it is a requirement for many buildings developed by or for federal, state and local government.
U.S. Green Building Council

Aluminum Extrusion and LEED:

Due to aluminum's fundamental properties, the nature of the extrusion process, and the structure of the North American extrusion industry, the use of aluminum extrusions in commercial buildings can contribute to LEED points (and certification) in a number of areas, including Energy Efficiency, Selection of Sustainable Materials, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Note: LEED assessment criteria are currently being revised and updated; the revisions, to be called LEED v4, are expected to be available during the first half of 2013. The following is based on current criteria, which will continue to be employed, in parallel with LEED v4 into 2015.


  • EA1: Optimize Energy Efficiency: 1-19 points for increased performance
    — Thermal barrier aluminum frames, sunshades, light shelves, skylights

  • EA2: On-Site Renewable Energy: 1-7 points
    — Aluminum framing for rooftop solar panels, PV integrated into windows, overhangs

  • MR2.1 and 2.2: Construction waste management: 1-2 points
    — Aluminum recycling

  • MR4.1 and 4.2: Recycled Content: 1-2 points
    — Recycled content in aluminum extrusions

  • MR5.1 and 5.2: Regional Materials: 1-2 points
    — Recycled content recovered, reprocessed near project

  • ID1: Innovation in Design: 1 point
    — For use of Cradle-to-Cradle certified materials

  • EQ2, EQ6.2: Ventilation and thermal comfort control: 1-2 points
    — Increased use of operable windows

  • EQ8.1 and 8.2: Daylight and views: 1-2 points
    — Increased use of windows, skylights, atriums, light shelves


To learn more about aluminum extrusion applications & performance in building & construction, and to earn continuing education credits while you do so, visit AEC Daily, the largest provider of free on-line continuing education to construction professionals. The Aluminum Extrusion Council's new extrusion course is approved for credit by AIA, the US Green Building Council, NAHB, NARI and over 10 other construction-related organizations.