The industry is increasingly recognizing the need for a more comprehensive review of green products. We don't have perfect programs yet, but we scrutinize the most prominent programs out there and highlight how they're useful.
Polystyrene is widely used as a rigid insulation in North America, offering high insulation values, moisture resistance, strength, and affordability. But a flame retardant in the material, as well as its life-cycle impacts, raise questions about whether it should be used at all.
Incorporating a continuous air barrier into a building's design and construction can save energy and improve the indoor environment, among other benefits. The right materials and assemblies can help accomplish that goal, but careful attention during design and close oversight during construction are essential.
The number of environmental product standards and certifications is growing rapidly, putting numerous different "green" logos on products. This article reviews the key programs and evaluates their rigor, and offers guidance in using them to accomplish project goals.