The LEED™ Connection: A Synergy of Nature and Science

Oct. 3, 2003
SUSTAINABILITY. At Dow, sustainable development is an integral part of the long-term strategy. Results, not words, have become the measure of progress -- highlighted by the introduction of specifiable new products. Green building practices such as those defined by the LEED rating system have helped to establish the direction for product research, resulting in two outstanding new technologies for commercial interiors: WOODSTALKä high-performance agrifiber-based products for wood applications and BIOBALANCE* Polymers, advanced polyurethane polymers for commercial carpet backing applications.WOODSTALK.  Dow manufactures WOODSTALK in Elie, Manitoba, Canada from formaldehyde-free polyurethane resin and harvested wheat straw fiber · a sustainable, annually renewable resource.  An inherently low VOC alternative to products such as MDF and particle board, WOODSTALK is recommended across a broad range of applications, including ready-to-assemble furniture, cabinets, millwork, store fixtures, case goods, fiberboard core hardwood plywood, shelving, and underlayment.  The process of making WOODSTALK has environmental benefits as well, converting the crop residue remaining after wheat harvest from a disposal burden to a revenue-producing second crop.  According to Martin Lehman, Dow WOODSTALK Manufacturing Leader, “The wheat straw incorporated into WOODSTALK creates a valuable use for a material that would otherwise be burned.  The resulting reduction in air pollution has beneficial health implications as well as contributing less greenhouse gas emissions."  Recognition of the functional and environmental advantages of WOODSTALK has been widespread, including being named in as one of the top ten new green building products by GreenSpec® Directory and Environmental Building News.BIOBALANCE. BIOBALANCE Polymers are polyurethane polymers that are manufactured with a portion of the polyol coming from a renewable resource. Today, BIOBALANCE Polymers are incorporated into several polyurethane backings processed at Universal Textile Technologies, LLC (UTT) including THE ENHANCER* and THE ENFORCER* Polyurethane Carpet Backings. Specifiers of Dow’s backings processed at UTT receive the added green-enhancement of recycled polyurethane content in the backing system and a non-woven outer surface made from 100% post-consumer recycled PET. Of interest in the LEED program, this combination of renewable and recycled materials makes up 15-18% of the backing weight of THE ENHANCER and THE ENFORCER Polyurethane Carpet Backings. BIOBALANCE Polymers borrows from nature and leverages world-class carpet backing experience, culminating in this noteworthy addition to green building products from Dow.GREEN BUILDING PRACTICES. As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Dow has gained valuable insight on sustainable products and the needs in this segment of the commercial interiors market. Viewed through the perspective of LEED credentials, the areas of contribution and potential LEED credit make WOODSTALK and BIOBALANCE attractive options for specification in commercial interiors (See table below). LEED CREDIT INFORMATION FOR BIOBALANCE AND WOODSTALKLEED CategoryDescriptionPossible CreditsBIOBALANCEWOODSTALKEnvironmental QualityEQ 4.3 & 4.4Low or reduced volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in commercial interiorsEQ 4.3 – One pt.EQ 4.4 – One pt.Low VOC’s are a Dow polyurethane carpet backing design criteria, compliant with Indoor Air Quality standards EQ 4.3Naturally low VOC’s measure same as background.  No added formaldehyde EQ 4.4Materials and ResourcesMR 4.1MR 4.2Recycle content-Products with any recycled content contribute to achieving points within this Credit.  Credit dependent on building recycle content MR 4.1 – One pt.MR 4.2 – One additional pt.THE ENHANCER and THE ENFORCER Polyurethane Carpet Backings with integral recycle content can be specified and the recycle content will contribute to the requirementsStraw is considered a post industrial waste and as the main raw material for WOODSTALK, the recycled content will contribute to this LEED requirement.Materials and ResourcesMR 5.1Local/Regional Manufacturing and Materials (20% of building materials must be manufactured within 500 miles of project)MR 5.1 – One pt.Contribution dependent on project proximity to manufacturing site in Dalton, GA. Contribution dependent on project proximity to manufacturing site in Manitoba, CN Materials and ResourcesMR 5.2Locally Harvested Building MaterialsRequires half of materials identified in MR 5.1 to be harvested locallyMR 5.2 – One pt.The renewable resource content of BIOBALANCE Polymers included in THE ENHANCER and THE ENFORCER Polyurethane Carpet Backings may contribute to this LEED credit.Due to local wheat straw supply, credit for MR 5.2 is distinct possibility when MR 5.1 requirements are metMaterials and ResourcesMR 6Rapidly renewable resource credit, defined as resources that are planted and/or harvested in a ten-year cycleMR 6– One pt.The renewable resource content of BIOBALANCE Polymers included in THE ENHANCER and THE ENFORCER Polyurethane Carpet Backings may contribute to this LEED credit.Wheat straw, a major component of WOODSTALK, qualifies the product for contribution to the rapidly renewable resource credit.

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