Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council designed to provide "building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions."* "LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building...was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance...sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection, and indoor environmental quality."*

LEED Impact

Since LEED 1.0 was launched in 1998, over 100,000 U.S. projects have been LEED certified.  While LEED certification is increasingly an objective for a wide range of new commercial, institutional and residential buildings, it is also a requirement for many buildings developed by or for federal, state and local government.

Aluminum Extrusion and LEED

Due to aluminum's fundamental properties, the nature of the extrusion process, and the structure of the North American extrusion industry, the use of aluminum extrusions in commercial buildings can contribute to LEED points (and certification) in a number of areas, including Energy & Atmosphere (EA) Materials & Resources (MR), and Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ). 

Extrusion Contributions

LEED 4.1, the current version, was adopted in 2019 with the objective of increasing achievability and reflecting realities of market adoption and implementation of prior versions. Aluminum extrusions continue to contribute to LEED points in a number of areas.

  • EA:  V 4.1 places increased emphasis on energy use, upgrading the standard to ASHRAE 90.1-2016. Thermal barrier aluminum window frames facilitate the assembly of windows meeting the resulting U-factor requirements, while extruded sunshades & light shelves can enhance energy efficiency.
  • MR now rewards transparency via credits for materials (like aluminum extrusions) with EPDs;  further V 4.1 reinstitutes credit for recycled material content, common in extrusions.
  • EQ offers credit for quality views, daylighting, and the management of excel sunlight.  Low profile extruded window frames, along with light shelves and louvers contribute to these factors
  • MR near project

An extensive discussion of extrusion’s contribution to LEED credits for a wide variety of buildings is beyond the scope of this narrative.  

The USGBC or a LEED certified professional should be consulted for further guidance.