Copper in Buildings

Case studies and examples of copper's contribution to LEED and other sustainable building systems.

  • Sustainability in the Desert
    The Health Sciences Education Building at the University of Arizona chose copper because it is a sustainable material and it provided the design freedom required for a stunning design that fits the natural surroundings. This article cannot be printed from If you would like to print a copy for your personal use, please visit the Construction Specifier web site.
  • Building Green: How Copper Can LEED the Way
    A brief overview of how copper helps Green buildings perform better for their occupants, the environment and the bottom line.
  • Copper Roof Systems Prove to be Energy-Efficient and Sustainable [PDF - 3.3Mb]
    Copper roofs provide more benefit than having a higher life cycles, low life cost cycle and being recyclable. They are also able to easily reflect solar energy and emit infrared radiation released by our sun. A properly ventilated copper roof system can be more effective than comparable stainless steel and asphalt systems. Read this article to learn more about the study which proved these additional benefits property owners receive when electing to use copper for their roofing material.

Case Studies

  • Austin City Hall: Leading the Way in Green Building
    Copper was easily manipulated to fit the unique spaces of the building's design. Copper played a supporting role in the building's LEED Gold certification-from material reuse, to energy use, to several features which make the building more functional for users.
  • Copper's Role in York University's Award-winning Green Building
    Copper was chosen for its durability, low cost of maintenance, aesthetic value, low embodied energy and recyclability. The study shows how it provides unexpected operational benefits as well.
  • Copper Serves Environmentally Conscious Luxury E'Terra Inn
    Copper adorns the Inn's exterior and interior, including fixtures for 11 bathrooms and miles of piping and wiring. Aside from being durable and recyclable, its local availability meant lower transportation costs and emissions. It also reduced maintenance costs and concerns.
  • GM's Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant-The Future of Manufacturing Facilities
    GM's plant is 45% more energy efficient than industry standards. Efficiencies enabled by copper in the HVAC system and smart lighting (motion sensors, simple light switches and smart panels) contribute to saving the plant $1 million per year.
  • JohnsonDiversey Headquarters LEED-EB Pilot Project
    Personal environment modules-installed in 93% of the building's office areas-enable individuals to tailor their own workspace according to their preferences for lighting, temperature and even background noise. The modules automatically sense if a person is present and turns on lights and adjusts air temperature. The significant role of monitoring and control systems is a dominant feature and is just one feature that benefits from the extensive use of copper.
  • Penn State University's SALA Building-Practicing What They Teach
    Seeking a building that is as transparent as possible meant more glass, which meant greater glare and heat fluctuations within the building, unless you added copper sun shades. Building designers maximized the use of glazing, while minimizing the downsides of its use, and achieved 5 LEED credits - including one for innovation and design - by using 30 tons of copper in various building components.
  • Adventures in Green Building by Christina Koch, Reprint, MetalMag Online (published by R.R. Donnelley), Nov/Dec 2007, pp 60-68.
    This article describes how copper was used to achieve a LEED rating on the new Transit Maintenance Facility in Santa Clarita, CA.
  • The Role of Copper, Bronze and Brass in Architecture & Design, Reprint, Metal Architecture, May 2007.
    This article covers the basics of copper design and installation for both exterior and interior applications. It also contains a description of how copper facilitates sustainable construction and green building.