LEED Materials in Stair Railing Systems

Last Edited 09/12/19

Even though LEED credentials were established over two decades ago, the passion for eco-conscious consumerism has only grown. Shouldn’t your building design follow suit?

Architects, builders, designers, and engineers are continuously finding innovative ways to introduce environmentally-beneficial practices and materials into construction. It’s no different for handrails, balustrades, and railing systems in installations and renovations. Using sustainable materials can help increase the number of points awarded to a building in the LEED system.

Why is LEED so Important?

Short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED is arguably the most widely used green building rating system in the world. A globally recognized symbol of sustainable practices, LEED provides standards that promote healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.

LEED 4 — the newest version of LEED — pays special attention to materials and occupant comfort. That’s why it’s all the more important to be thoughtful about the components you choose for buildings, right down to stair railing materials and the way people use them.

The LEED rating system is organized into five environmental categories along with two bonus categories for innovative design and regional differences. It offers credits and points for items such as reducing energy and water use and using materials that have a less negative impact on the environment.

While LEED is a voluntary program, obtaining LEED certification projects a positive environmental image to the community in which your building resides. As similar initiatives such as WELL Certification gain traction, sustainable design and construction are an essential component to include in your building blueprints and initial building conception.

HDI creates products and enacts processes that, as part of an environmentally-sustainable construction plan, can earn your project LEED credit.

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Environmentally Responsible Materials

Products from HDI are built to exceed durability standards. This makes our materials a natural choice for LEED material requirements, which call for increased durability and low maintenance. In addition, many of our materials are recyclable after use.

Many designers opt to choose HDI stainless steel railing systems to ensure corrosion resistance and secure construction. These railings last a minimum of 30 years without replacement, earning LEED credits for lifespan. Look for AISI 304 or 316 stainless steel composed of 45% to 65% recycled material, which earn LEED credits for use of a recycled material.

HDI’s glass supplier employs a process that recycles virtually all glass waste from in-plant production melting and cutting processes.  This broken glass, known as cullet, is reintroduced with a raw materials batch mix in the furnace as an aid to melting. It takes half the amount of energy to produce glass from cullet as it does to produce it from raw materials. For LEED™ certification calculations, HDI glass contains approximately 20% post-industrial cullet (recycled glass). It does not contain any post-consumer recycled content because unidentified glass from unknown sources might not blend.

Upon request, Forest Stewardship Council certified wood can be supplied. This organization sets high standards to ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Emissions

Powder coating has become a popular trend, but to ensure its application does not harm groundwater, soil, or air, make sure your formula does not contain solvents. HDI’s powder-coated formula does not contain solvents. In addition, HDI powder coating is low-VOC to reduce impact on indoor air quality.

Energy Efficiency

Depending on your design, including LED lights in your handrail system can earn several LEED credits in multiple categories. LED lighting typically uses 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents to save money on energy costs.

Infill options can also contribute to LEED certification they impact daylighting, control energy use, and improve environments. For example, a glass infill or smoke baffle can contribute to Energy & Atmosphere credits since they maximize the use of outside light to reduce energy consumption and lighting requirements.

Meet Your LEED Goals with HDI

You don’t have to sacrifice vision for environmentally conscious design. Talk to HDI about pre-fabricated and custom stair railing systems to achieve your LEED goals today.