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GREEN, LEED & OPERABLE WALLS – WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON

We are all familiar with “save the whales” & “save the polar bear”. Also “Global Warming” & “Greenpeace” & “Green” amongst many other day to day terms that are all interrelated to life on earth. All refer to and encourage appreciation of what we have, who we are and offer examples of things we can do to participate in conservation. It was in this spirit that in 1993 the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was founded (In Canada it is CaGBC). The USGBC is a non profit trade organization that promotes sustainability (sustain: to maintain, keep going, prolong) in how buildings (in which there are operable walls) are designed, built and operated. Because of its name USGBC is often thought of being some branch of a government agency. It is not. It is a private membership based non profit organization having more than 20,000 members, including Moderco, from every sector of the building industry.

To achieve sustainability USGBC works through its members, the construction industry, all forms of government, Architects, major corporations etc. to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. To achieve this USGBC has developed a variety of programs and services and works closely with key industry and research organizations and all branches of government agencies. In order to make USGBC initiatives meaningful and definable LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating systems and Greenbuild, a green building conference and expo that promotes the green building industry were developed. LEED has grown from one standard for new building construction to a comprehensive system of six interrelated standards covering all aspects of the development and construction process and provides a framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals in five environmental categories. Buildings earn points for satisfying criteria designed to address environmental impacts all the way from construction to operation: ratings are from certified (40 – 49 points) to platinum (80 points and above).

What are the benefits of LEED Construction?: cost less to operate and maintain, increased occupant performance and health, higher lease rates than conventional buildings, prestige and recognition, helps owners measure and manage properties as well as save money through energy conservation, many governmental agencies are offering tax incentives to building owners based on level of LEED certification. It is like the nutrition label on packaged food – It provides owners and occupants with information that will guide decision making. In today’s environment – green is good.

So how does all of this apply to Moderco and you? Even though operable partitions are a small part of a typical project, all building components contribute to a project achieving a specific level of certification and all designers, contractors and owners are seeking all of the credits possible. If a building registers for LEED certification they will want to use products that will contribute towards this achievement. As a Moderco distributor you can assist in this regard by providing environmentally friendly operable wall products. To do so you must have a clear understanding of what LEED is and have a basic knowledge of sustainable building design. Moderco will assist by providing you with accurate and complete LEED submittals that will support the accreditation process.

The following is a brief description of those credit categories in which Moderco products will contribute to LEED certification:

MR Credit 1.3 – Building Reuse: Moderco products can help with building reuse by relocating its products to divide existing space.

MR Credit 2.1/2.2 – Construction Waste Management: we can ship our product on L-skids or uncrated to reduce waste. Cardboard protectors and shrink wrap are 100% recyclable.

MR Credit 3.1/3.2 – Material Reuse: Moderco products could theoretically be reused in a new location but it is unlikely due to the fact that the wall systems are typically custom made for a specific opening. It is possible however that track systems could be relocated and reused.

MR Credit 4.1/4.2 – Recycled Content: All Moderco products have recycled content the percentage of which is dependent on the specifics of each order.

MR Credit 5.1/5.2 – Regional Materials: All Moderco products are manufactured in Boucherville Quebec. If the project site is within a 500 mile radius of their manufacturing facility then the Moderco product will contribute to this credit category.

MR Credit 7 – Certified Wood: this is applicable only when using a wood veneer covering. Moderco does have wood veneer products that will contribute to this category

EQ Credit 4.1/4.2/4.4 – Low Emitting Materials: Moderco products do not require any adhesives, paints or coatings that have to be applied on site.

There are also other credit categories in which operable partitions may be able to contribute to credit achievement. These include:

Daylight and Views: Crystal Wall systems can increase natural daylight.

Optimize Energy Performance: When not in use the extension of Moderco wall systems can be used to thermally isolate space.

Thermal Comfort Control: The operation of the buildings heating and air conditioning systems can be adjusted to change depending on whether or not the walls are in place or in storage.

Lighting System Controls: The control of space lighting can be programmed to change based on whether or not the walls are extended or in storage

In summary Green is here to stay. LEED is a fact and now a part of virtually every specification. Moderco is committed to Green manufacturing and endorses the LEED concept of building design and construction. We are continuously striving to increase the recycled or recyclable material content of all our products by working with our partners and material suppliers as well as find new and better ways to contribute to sustainable construction.

Richard Plante is the primary Moderco contact on this subject. He can provide a breakdown of recycled material content and recyclable product percentages on a job to job basis, fill out the LEED certification forms as it pertains to Moderco products as well as answer all of your questions. Please call him at any time.