What’s the Point?


March 1, 2009

Whether in canine agility or green marketing, knowing how the points are calculated can add up to getting the gold.

by Bill Langer

I recently let you in on a secret – my two dogs compete in K-9 agility. Actually, Lucy (11 years old) recently retired from agility when she completed her two Masters Titles. Rosie (5 years old and pictured below) already has her Masters Titles and is earning points towards her MACH title. She needs 750 points (Mach is 750 miles per hour – the speed of sound), and gets points based on how fast she runs the agility courses. Rosie also needs 20 Double Q’s, but that’s another story.

If you are in the aggregate business, or related business such as ready mix or asphalt paving, chances are some of your customers already are, or soon will be, coming to you to get points of another kind – points to help them achieve LEED certification. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt. And understanding what LEED is all about might even help your business.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit association whose major focus is The Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. According to the USGBC Web page (www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CategoryID=19), “The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.”

Simply put, LEED is a way to measure the “greenness” or environmental compatibility of a construction project. LEED evaluates an entire building and its environment. It awards points for a variety of features including things such as site preparation, landscaping, the construction materials and finishes used in the building, and energy efficiency. Projects need to gain at least 30 points to become LEED certified, 50 points to become a silver project, 70 points for gold, and 90 points for platinum.

Your customers might earn LEED points by using some of your products. For example, Boulder, Colo., gives builders up to 10 points for using locally derived aggregate as the preferred material for foundations. The [San Francisco] Bay Friendly Guidelines for Greenbuilt Landscapes give up to five points to landscapers who use aggregate as ground cover. Builders get credit for using pervious concrete for driveways, patios, and other hardscape, and for using high fly ash concrete in their foundations. They can even rack up LEED points by using an aggregates operation’s recycled concrete or asphalt.

The USGBC is composed of more than 15,000 organizations that create ‘environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work.’ Members include building owners and tenants, real estate developers, architects, engineers, general government agencies, and non-profit organizations. More importantly to producers, members also include contractors, subcontractors, and the businesses that supply materials to the construction industry. I am talking about aggregate producers, ready-mix producers, and asphalt producers – including some of you folks reading this article.

Go to the Member Directory on the USGBC Web page (www.usgbc.org) and snoop around in the Product Manufacturers section. You will be amazed with the number of aggregate and related industries that are members, including some really big names in the business.

And if you want to see how a couple of aggregate producers are creatively dealing with green products, go to www.graniterock.com/greenproducts.html or www.aggregate-us.com/_aius/enviro/e_leed.cfm. The Web sites describe the green products they sell, list and explain applicable LEED credits, and have links to other green building sites.

So the next time a customer talks to you about green building, you will understand when they brag about all the points they have. Rosie has 337!

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