Sunday, May 02, 2010

Book Review: LEED Materials

LEED Materials: A Resource Guide to Green Building by Ari Meisel
Princeton Architectural Press, 2010
Paperback, 224 pages

For those not familiar with the workings of LEED -- the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification system for measuring sustainability -- the different certifications (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Certified) are determined by a weighted point system in various categories (Sustainable Sites, water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality), which also includes prerequisites that must be met. The system works so that certain points can be ignored, but achieving LEED-Platinum and, more importantly, trying to create the most sustainable building possible means that no criteria are overlooked or not considered. This guide to materials and their application is indispensable for practicing architects looking to maximize points, particularly because many of the materials featured can go towards categories beyond the obvious Materials & Resources.

Published by Princeton Architectural Press, Ari Meisel's book follows the format of the popular Transmaterial series by Blaine Brownell. Materials are arranged by constituency or application and include photos above a description of the material, advice on using it towards credits, and other information like the manufacturer's contact information. The most valuable text, the book's raison d'etre, is the list of LEED credits where each material works. For example, one see that Agriboard prefab panels can fulfill six points in three categories. A LEED credit index is also helpful for architects looking to fulfill one particular credit. Like the Transmaterial books and web page, Meisel's book has the potential to expand into a series, given the plethora of materials out there and the constant innovation, now in the service of LEED and other systems. It's a simple but smart idea to target material use in LEED; the product is a book that fits well alongside other LEED references in any architects' library.