How To Earn LEED Credits With DCI Furniture

In Blog, GreenCertification by Morgan Dix

Do you want to ensure that your residence hall meets the highest environmental and human health standards?Perhaps you are working to earn LEED credits for your green building?

Students spend a majority of their college years in their dorms studying, learning, and investing in their future.

So it’s important that we invest in building and furnishing residence halls that support student health and well being. One of the best ways to do that is to earn LEED credits towards your LEED certification.

Buying sustainable furniture is a reliable way for you to earn points towards the LEED certification of your residence hall. With DCI furniture, you can earn four different LEED credits.

But first, what is the LEED certification and why should you care about it?

What Is LEED Certification?

Earn LEED creditsDeveloped and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)—a nonprofit dedicated to sustainable building design and construction—the LEED green building certification is the recognized standard for assessing and measuring your building’s sustainability.

What are the benefits of LEED certification? According to the USGBC website:

LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

Most importantly, the LEED system legitimized green design so that it’s now universally accepted as a key indicator of your building’s environmental pedigree.

Until the LEED system came along, anyone could make claims about the “Green” qualifications of their buildings outside any verifiable context.

LEED Certification Pros and Cons

There is some criticism of the LEED certification system, mostly pointing to a rigid point system that is easily gamed and fails to consider the context of a particular building.

Nevertheless, the benefits of the system outweigh the drawbacks since without it, there would be no real sustainability benchmark for our built environment. As the popular architectural site ArchDaily puts it:

To its credit, LEED has moved a mountain: it has taken the “mysticism” out of Green Design and made Big Business realize its financial benefits, incentivizing and legitimizing it on a grand scale.

And that’s really just the beginning. Outlining the advantages of LEED certification even further, construction company A.H. Harris writes:

One of the most visible advantages of LEED certification is that it shows a commitment to the environment. It tells the world that your organization cares about sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. With a LEED certification come tax breaks. You will also have a more energy efficient building. Green buildings are famous for creating a better work environment with lots of natural light, open areas, higher air quality, and a better work environment. The community accrues benefits as well. A green building in the area is an advertisement for the community commitment to green practices. A LEED certified building has lower operating costs. According to the New Building Institute, there is a 24% average decrease in energy consumption.

LEED As A Minimum Standard

To our minds, LEED certification should be a baseline for any residence hall. It’s a clear way to demonstrate sustainable values to students and set an example.

There are four different levels to LEED ranging from basic certification up through silver, gold, and platinum.

The general idea is that the more advanced your certification, the less impact your building has on the environment.

So how can you earn LEED credits for your residence hall with DCI furniture?

4 LEED Credits You Can Earn With DCI Furniture

There are several categories through which your new building projects can earn LEED credits. Here are four different LEED credits that you can earn when you install DCI furniture in your residence hall.

We’ve gone ahead and outlined the intent and requirements of each credit and then explained how you can use DCI furniture to gain these credits.

Materials Reuse: MR Credit 3.1 and 3.2

Intent: To reuse building materials and products in order to reduce demand for virgin materials and to reduce waste, thereby reducing impacts associated with the extraction and processing of virgin resources.

Requirements: Use salvaged, refurbished or reused materials such that the sum of these materials constitutes at least 5% or 10%, based on cost, of the total value of materials on the project.

Response: DCI has experience manufacturing furniture reclaimed from old residence hall furniture. This can be done cost effectively through our sustainable Vertical Integration Process (VIP).

Recycled Content: MR Credit 4.1 & 4.2

Intent: To increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials.

Requirements: Use materials with recycled content such that the sum of post-consumer recycled content plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 10% (based on cost) of the total value of the materials in the project. The recycled content value of a material assembly shall be determined by weight. The recycled fraction of the assembly is then multiplied by the cost of assembly to determine the recycled content value. Furniture may be included, providing it is included consistently in MR Credits 3–7.

Response: DCI has purchased “cut-offs” from wood manufacturers in other industries and utilized Finger jointing technology to produce wood panels out of materials that would have been sent to a landFill.

And we don’t stop there. Because wood is so easy to recycle and can live many lives, we build brand new hardwood furniture that is fortified with upcycled internal components from furniture that we installed on other campuses over 25 years ago.

certified wood can help you earn LEED credits

Regional Materials: MR Credit 5.1 and 5.2

Intent: To increase demand for building materials and products that are extracted and manufactured within the region, thereby supporting the use of indigenous resources and reducing the environmental impacts resulting from transportation.

Requirements: Use materials or products that have been extracted, harvested or recovered, as well as manufactured, within 500 miles of the project site for a minimum of 10% or 20% (based on cost) of the total materials value.

Response: DCI owns and operates a sawmill in Vermont and has regional production capabilities in New Hampshire, North Carolina and California.

Certified Wood: MR Credit 7

Intent: To encourage environmentally responsible forest management.

Requirement: When using new wood-based products and materials, use a minimum of 50% that are certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s principles and criteria.

Response: DCI is a member of the SmartWood Program of the Rainforest Alliance and obtained Chain-of-Custody FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certification. Our certificate registration code is SW-COC-001181

DCI Ensures That Your Buildings Are Sustainable

Of course, we want to help you achieve the highest possible LEED certification. That’s why we offer these credits. At the same time, even the basic certification is much better than nothing at all. As a company, we can’t emphasize strongly enough how passionate we are about helping you evolve your sustainability ethic.

DCI has a number of other notable sustainability certifications that will ensure the health and wellbeing of your students.

You can learn more about our industry-leading FSC CoC certification, our MAS certification, and our green materials sourcing, sustainable manufacturing, and our unique zero waste Vertical Integration Process (VIP).

Download the DCI Sustainability Pledge here.

To set up an order today or to talk with one of our representatives, you can write to us here or call: (800) 552-8286.

(Photos via Flickr CC: roanokecollegeRyan McKnight)