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Five Ways to Achieve LEED Certification with Industrialized Construction

As more cities require green building certification, precision-manufacturing can help hit those sustainability goals

Building sustainably. It’s more than just a nice afterthought. As green building rating systems gain momentum, many jurisdictions across North America have taken notice. Now sustainable buildings are becoming standard. In fact, many cities have adapted their building codes and legislation to ensure buildings obtain a green certification. 

Taking the LEED

Green building rating systems are a set of standards used to assess just how sustainable a project is. Dating back to 1998, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) was one of the first green building rating systems. It’s also one of the most widely used. It works by assigning points to a variety of credit requirements involving the materials, design, and practices used on a project. A rating (certified, silver, gold, or platinum) is determined by the number of points assigned to the building. 

Now, over 36 cities in the U.S. include LEED certification in their legislation. In Houston, Texas, buildings more than 10,000 square feet must meet LEED Silver requirements. In Portland, Oregon, all new city buildings require at least LEED Gold certification. It’s an indicator that finding ways to build sustainably is more important than ever. 

Sustainability has been at the core of how DIRTT builds from the start. So, we’ve got your back. Here are the top five ways that DIRTT can help contribute to LEED certification. 


Low-emitting materials

We spend up to 90% of our lives indoors. That means the materials used within the building envelope have a major impact on the people inside. Whenever possible, DIRTT uses products that have low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Applied off-site, this limits the amount of off-gassing that occurs in the client’s finished space. This is important for LEED certification. 

Most DIRTT assemblies are certified through Science Certification Systems (SCS) Indoor Advantage Gold, meeting emission standards set by green building rating systems. This helps earns points under the LEED indoor environmental quality (EQ) category. 

Leveraging precision manufacturing for sustainability

Environmental Product Declarations

DIRTT was the first in our industry to release Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for a variety of our assemblies. An EPD is basically a document that demonstrates the environmental attributes and impacts of a product over its life cycle. From carbon footprint to freshwater consumption, these metrics help designers and architects source greener products. Ultimately, EPDs contribute towards a credit under the materials and resource (MR) LEED category. 

Better materials for a better environment

IMAGE CREDIT: Kevin Jamieson

Less waste on job sites

Leveraging the power of off-site manufacturing, DIRTT generates significantly less construction waste than the same work done conventionally on-site. It’s a big deal because the amount of waste generated by construction is staggering. In 2018, construction and demolition waste made up more than twice the amount of municipal solid waste generated in the U.S. Our efficient off-site manufacturing can contribute to credits under the MR LEED category.   

Limiting construction waste

IMAGE CREDIT: Catherine Bosley

Recycled Content

And while we’re reducing waste, why not keep it out of the landfill altogether. When we can, DIRTT sources materials that have a high level of recycled content. Our wall assemblies use aluminum with 50 to 60% recycled content. And our cotton denim insulation is made with 80% post-consumer recycled material. Limiting the need to extract virgin materials reduces energy consumption as well as waste production. DIRTT’s Green team can perform a project-specific calculation of recycled content. This supports the LEED submittal process and recycled content can contribute to credits under the MR LEED category. 

Recycled aluminum and denim

IMAGE CREDIT: Zooropa Media

IMAGE CREDIT: Latitude Photography

Sustainable harvesting

Rounding out our list, DIRTT’s use of sustainable timber and medium density fiberboard (MDF). Our timber structures are sustainably harvested. We also offer veneer and MDF that is Chain of Custody certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC). This organization maintains a high standard when it comes to harvesting wood products sustainably. This protects biodiversity in forests and benefits the local economy. As a global forest conservation initiative, FSC products can contribute to credits under the MR LEED category. 

LEED is just one part of the sustainability equation. Continue the conversation by digging deeper on DIRTT’s sustainability initiatives

Resources and Further Reading

Trim Tab: Learn about the new emphasis on LEED in Miami 

Environment Journal: Find out how Canada stacks up when it comes to LEED 

Sustainably harvested timber

IMAGE CREDIT: Nik Weikert/Pilot Studio

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