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Thoughts from a LEED AP

Mukhtar Giader, P.E., S.E. is a manager in the structural engineering department at Opus Architects & Engineers in Minnetonka, Minn. He is also a LEED AP certified professional. We’ve asked him to share his and his colleague’s insights as well as some advice about LEED and sustainable design in the Tilt-Up concrete industry. Giader can be reached at 952-656- 4625 or

TCA: What does the Tilt-Up industry need to know about green and sustainability?

Giader: That it is not a trend and it is here to stay. We need to increase the use of recycled materials in the product and study ways to increase the R-Value by adding insulation to wall panels. The industry also needs to know where the materials are produced, how far they are transported to the site, and how waste materials are disposed of.

TCA: Why is Tilt-Up a fit for LEED?

Giader: Tilt-up wall construction can achieve LEED credits in the following categories:

1. Energy & Atmosphere (EA):

EA Prerequisite 2: Minumun Energy Performance

EA Credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance

Strategies Include:

  • Improving the exterior wall R-values by adding insulation.
  • Taking advantage of the concrete thermal mass which tends to store energy and thus smoothes the effect of daily temperature variations.
  • Using special exterior wall paints that help absorb or reflect solar energy depending on project location.

2. Material & Resources (MR):

MR Credit 1.1 & 1.2: Building Reuse
MR Credit 2.1 & 2.2: Construction Waste Management
MR Credit 3.1 & 3.2: Material Reuse
MR Credit 4.1 & 4.2: Recycled Content
MR Credit 5.1 & 5.2: Regional Materials
Strategies Include:
  • Taking advantage of the inherent durability of existing Tilt-Up wall buildings and remodel them for reuse. LEED credits can be achieved by preserving as much of the building as possible, including the exterior walls.
  • During remodeling for reuse, recycle any discarded wall panels as site fill or pavement sub-base material.
  • Relocate wall panels for reuse.
  • The use of materials with recycled content such as reinforcing steel bars and concrete mixtures containing fly ash, ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBF), or possibly silica fume.
  • The use of materials that are produced within a 500 mile radius from the building site. The production of Tilt-Up wall panels on site should make achieving MR Credit 5.1 & 5.2 relatively easy.

3. Innovation & Design Process (ID):

ID Credit 1-1.4: Innovation in Design

ID Credit 2: LEED Accredited Professional

Strategies Include:

  • Encourage research and innovation that leads to achieving the maximum possible LEED credits for the clients.
  • Ensure that at least one of the principle participants of the project team is a LEED Accredited Professional.

TCA: Please dispel any misconceptions about the use of Tilt-Up concrete in a LEED project?

Giader: The lack of insulation within the panel can be compensated for by insulation added to the inside of the wall, and to the roof.

TCA: Even if a project isn’t seeking LEED Certification, what elements of LEED can be incorporated to the betterment of the project?

Giader: Most of the strategies listed in item #2 are easily achievable without adding much cost to the construction budget. In addition, the Tilt-Up method of construction uses very little forming materials and typically does not require temporary heating.

TCA: Who is driving the decision to use Tilt-Up on your projects?

Giader: Factors include: market conditions, local aesthetic requirements, cost and schedule, as well as the availability of experienced Tilt-Up contractors.

TCA: Who is driving the decision to use green or sustainable elements on your project? What about LEED Certification?

Giader: The Opus Group of Companies strives to incorporate sustainable design practices into all of our projects. The pursuit of LEED certification is driven by market demand. For example, all projects for federal government agencies are required to meet one of the four LEED certification categories.

TCA: How can a Tilt-Up contractor, engineer, architect or product supplier capitalize on the growing green and sustainable movement?

Giader: Learn more about it and offer products and services that are green/sustainable, and educate the decision-makers about the benefits of incorporating sustainable design practices into their projects.

TCA: How does Tilt-Up compare to other building methods with regard to LEED Certification?

Giader: For warehouse construction, it is challenging to achieve LEED certification and still be competitive in the market place. However, for an office project, Tilt-Up can offer many advantages.

TCA: Where do you see the role of Tilt-Up in the green/sustainable movement in the future?

Giader: Playing an active role for office buildings, and possibly for warehouses, depending on market demand.

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.