PDF Guide

The BuildingGreen Guide to Building Product Certifications and Ecolabels - Site License

The site license permits the purchaser to share the PDF Guide file within their company/organization and post it on their intranet. Site licenses do not include the CEU quiz.​ If multiple individuals in your organization would like to access the CEU accredited quiz, please purchase individual copies.

The sheer number of building product certifications and labels is overwhelming, and even those experienced with green labels can get exhausted trying to figure out which are relevant and which aren’t.

The confusion in the market over green labels can complicate efforts of both manufacturers and design professionals to make and use greener products, while also distracting the industry from bigger sustainability concerns—how to lower the carbon footprint of existing building stock, how to minimize and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and others.

This BuildingGreen publication provides a no-nonsense guide to the world of green building product certifications to help designers, purchasers, manufacturers, and others in the industry to focus on what is significant and relevant so that market forces can work and the industry can focus on bigger issues.

The guide starts with a bird’s-eye view of the certification world. It then provides guidance on the key green certifications that span multiple building product sectors. This includes:

  • single-attribute certifications

  • those developed to address specific environmental claims such as sustainable forestry and indoor air quality

  • multiple-attribute programs that consider broader factors

  • programs that provide even more comprehensive information

This is followed by an overview of the certification world by product sector, including an in-depth look at key green certifications that are tailored to a specific product category.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the purpose of product certifications in achieving environmental, human health, and social equity goals for building projects.

  2. Discern what constitutes greenwashing so practitioners can avoid overinflated or false claims that run counter to sustainability goals for a building project.

  3. Apply product certifications and ecolabels to sustainability practice in the context of pursuing whole-building certifications—LEED, WELL, the Living Building Challenge, and Passive House—as well as the AIA Materials Pledge.

  4. List more than thirty green building product standards, certifications, and ecolabels and understand the differences between them as well as how they overlap.

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