Stainless Steel & Leed Certification

Stainless Steel and LEED Certification

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system.  LEED certification promotes design and construction practices that increase profitability, while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings, and improving occupant health and well-being.[1]  LEED certification is obtained based on a point system, and includes many areas that are directly or indirectly related to choice of materials.  These include recycled content, potential for product reuse, impact on energy and water consumption, the likelihood of product or coating emissions, impact on indoor air quality, thermal comfort, durability, maintenance requirements, and impact on indoor light.[2]

The most straightforward way that Stainless Steel contributes to LEED certification is through its high recycled content and high salvage rate at end of life.  SSINA provides a stainless steel Fact Sheet that can be submitted during certification.  In addition, stainless steel has the potential to influence other LEED points based on how it is used in a specific application.  A LEED expert should be consulted before designing a project intended for LEED certification, but here are a few examples that show potential ways that stainless steel could contribute towards additional LEED points.

Indoor Light:  Reflective stainless steel panels could be used to bring natural light into a building.

Impact on Energy Consumption:  The high solar reflective index (SRI) of most bare stainless steel surfaces is high enough to reflect away and dissipate heat so that air conditioning requirements are reduced when it is used for high slope roofing and walls.[3]  Also, stainless steel sun screens could be placed over windows to reduce air conditioning expenses.  They allow natural light to enter while reducing heat gain.

Indoor Air Quality and Outdoor Emissions:  Stainless steel is ideal for interior and outdoor applications because it is inherently corrosion resistant, and thus requires no protective coating.  This eliminates the adverse environmental impacts associated with coatings, such as out gassing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).[4]  In addition, a recent Swedish study suggests that stainless steel roofing is a good choice in environmentally sensitive areas due to very low run off levels.ii

Maintenance Requirements:  Stainless steel is easy to clean, and requires no environmentally hazardous chemicals.

For more information on LEED certification, click here.


[1] “NRDC: Building Green – LEED Certification Information.” Natural Resources Defense Council – The Earth’s Best Defense | NRDC. Web. 08 Oct. 2011. http://www.nrdc.org/buildinggreen/leed.asp

[2] Houska, Catherine. “Sustainable Stainless Steel Architecture.” Www.nickelinstitute.org. Nickel Development Institute. Web. Oct. 2011.

[3] “SSINA: Stainless Steel: About.” SSINA: Specialty Steel Industry of North America. Web. 11 Oct. 2011. <http://www.ssina.com/sustainability/>.

 [4] Houska, Catherine, P.G. Stone, and David J. Cochrane. “Timeless Stainless Architecture.” Timeless Stainless Architecture. Nickel Development Institute, Jan. 2002. Web. Oct. 2011

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Stainless Steel & Leed Certification