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Sustainability Standards and Rating Systems

Supporting your LEED projects and more.

Download LEED v4 Solution Guide

Green building standards

Our customers rely on our products and sustainability expertise to support their projects’ LEED certification and other green building standards.

Green building standards and certification programs include the Living Building Challenge, the WELL Building Standard™, Green Globes®, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® 09 and v4, among others. These programs are establishing sustainability design standards and criteria for building materials, resources, products and environmental impact.

Careful consideration of the products’ material ingredients, performance, and related sustainable attributes also includes choosing environmentally responsible, acoustic ceiling systems.

Helping building teams tackle many of today’s biggest sustainability and development challenges, Rockfon offers thoughtfully designed, innovative, sustainable solutions to benefit the comfort, health and safety of occupants, and the environment.1

LEED-certified buildings are better performing and more cost efficient 

As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), we share a commitment to transforming how our buildings are designed, constructed and operated through LEED, and enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.

Since the LEED rating system’s unveiling in 2000, it has evolved to LEED v4 and has become an international standard for environmentally sound buildings. More than 2.2 million square feet is LEED certified per day. More than 92,000 projects around the world are now using LEED.

In the United States alone, buildings account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions and out-consume both the industrial and transportation sectors. LEED-certified buildings have 34 percent lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.

Upfront investment in green building also makes properties more valuable, with an average expected increase in value of 4 percent.

LEED v4 highlights

LEED works for all buildings anywhere. It is based on prerequisites and credits that a project meets to achieve a certification level: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Helping meet all levels, our products contribute to LEED v4 credits:

Materials and Resources (MR)

  • Construction and demolition waste management planning
  • Interiors life cycle impact reduction – Designed for flexibility
  • Building product disclosure and optimization – Environmental product declarations
  • Building product disclosure and optimization – Sourcing of raw materials
  • Building product disclosure and optimization – Material ingredients
  • Construction and demolition waste management

Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)

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Being a building specifically housing the environmental science and chemistry groups within the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, there was no question the building would have to operate as efficiently as possible. It was a mission of mine to achieve the highest possible level of efficiency for this type of energy-use intensive building prior to the design team and contractor coming on board. Initially, we targeted Silver; however, working with the design team, we were able to fine-tune the various sustainability initiatives to target Gold.

Hovan Stepanian, M.Sc., University of Toronto Scarborough’s Facilities Management Department’s project manager

WELL Building Standard highlights

The WELL Building Standard (WELL) is a performance-based system that measures, certifies and monitors features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being in new and existing office buildings, their cores and shells, and their interiors. Currently in Version 1.0 (v1), WELL examines seven concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Our acoustic ceiling systems can contribute to several Optimization Features detailed in the Comfort section of WELL v1. The WELL concept of Comfort seeks to “create an indoor environment that is distraction-free, productive and soothing. Solutions include design standards and recommendations, thermal and acoustic controllability, and policy implementation covering acoustic and thermal parameters that are known sources of discomfort.”

The Optimization Features for WELL Certification of New and Existing Interiors include:

  • Feature 78 calls for maximum Reverberation Times (RT60) to decrease stress and maintain comfortable sound levels through the use of sound-absorbing materials. Conference rooms are specified at 0.60 seconds and open office spaces at 0.50 seconds, which follows the trend toward more stringent absorption criteria.
  • Feature 80 also requires spaces to incorporate absorptive surfaces to help with reverberation management and improve privacy and acoustic comfort. It refers to using ceilings with high Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) values to achieve this. Open office spaces need ceilings with a minimum NRC 0.90 for 100 percent of the ceiling. Conference and teleconference rooms need ceilings with a minimum NRC 0.80 for at least 50 percent of the ceiling.
  • Feature 81 addresses noise from adjacent spaces using sound barriers to reduce transmission.
    • Noise Isolation Class (NIC) is the field measurement of total sound insulation between two rooms, specified by WELL as NIC 40 for enclosed offices without sound masking; and NIC 53 for conference and teleconference rooms or for private offices with adjoining walls. NIC is similar to Sound Transmission Class (STC) values in that they both are measures of sound insulation. NIC is measured in the field after construction and accounts for all sound transmission paths. 
    • Also part of this section on sound barriers, WELL notes that all interior walls enclosing regularly occupied spaces be properly sealed along the top and bottom tracks. This commonly would be interpreted as using full-height walls and preventing noise leaks to isolate sound between adjacent spaces. 

In alignment with WELL, we recommend using ceiling systems that optimize absorption and, where needed, using walls or plenum barriers to effectively block sound between rooms.

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GSA P100 facility standards

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and its Public Buildings Service (PBS) act as the landlord for the civilian federal government. PBS owns or leases 8,700 buildings, maintains an inventory of 370 million square feet of workspace for 1.1 million federal employees, and preserves 481 historic properties. Helping manage all of these properties, GSA PBS publishes the P100 Facility Standards.

To support the comfort, health, and productivity of the people working in all U.S. Federal Buildings, P100 sets minimum acoustic performance criteria for Noise Isolation, Room Acoustics and Speech Privacy.

  • For open offices, the GSA P100 calls for acoustical ceilings with a minimum NRC of 0.85 or for tier 1 high performance a minimum NRC of 0.90. For enclosed offices, it calls for acoustical ceilings with a minimum NRC of 0.60 or for tier one high performance a minimum NRC of 0.75.
  • A maximum reverberation time of 0.80 seconds is required in open offices. In enclosed offices, the reverberation time requirement is 0.60 seconds.  
  • Metal stud partitions, demountable partitions and operable walls between rooms are required to achieve STC 40, 45 or 50 ratings depending on if they are considered baseline, tier one high performance or tier two high performance. 

Similar to WELLLEED and other programs, GSA P100 recognizes that optimizing acoustics in these facilities can have a tremendous, positive impact on both the employees and the public they serve.

Sources

1.  https://new.usgbc.org

2.  https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/organization/public-buildings-service

We need to continue working hard to produce even better products and leaving a smaller footprint in the process – that includes thinking sustainability into our products, operations, and R&D as well.

Jens Birgersson

CEO, ROCKWOOL GROUP
ROCKWOOL Group

About Rockfon

We provide customers with a complete ceiling system offer, combining stone wool ceiling panels with suspension grids and accessories. Our ceiling systems are a fast and simple way to create beautiful, comfortable spaces. Easy to install and durable, they protect people from noise and the spread of fire while making a constructive contribution toward a sustainable future.

ROCKWOOL Sustainability Report 2017