Material Selection

Photo: Dan Brady. License: CC BY 2.0

Selecting building materials can be complex. You have to take into account toxicity, performance, the environmental life cycle, cost, and other factors.

Understanding what makes a building product green is a long-term prospect. Green characteristics differ from product category to product category, and multi-attribute vetting is critical.

Material Selection

Deep Dives

Get up to speed on complex topics. You can also earn CEUs and download PDF Spotlight Reports.


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  • Wood: What’s Good?

    Feature Article

    Mass timber seems alluring because of its low carbon footprint, but not all wood is equally sustainable. We dig deep into the controversy over which types of timber are “climate smart.

  • Finding Products for LEED v4 and v4.1

    Feature Article

     Finding and managing product information for LEED has changed—and v4.1 has added even more to think about.

  • 20 Ways to Advance Sustainability in the Next Four Years

    Feature Article

    In this age of political revolution and environmental urgency, it’s time to step back and take a look at priorities, challenges, and opportunities

  • VOCs: Why They’re Still Here and What You Can Do About It

    Feature Article

    “Sick building syndrome” was one of the first problems the green building community tried to solve. We’ve come a long way, but we’re not done yet.

Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.


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  • What These Forestry Labels Really Mean

    Infographic

    You’ve seen FSC and SFI labels on wood products. Most often, you’ve seen no label at all. Here’s a green guide to each one.

  • The 8 Shades of Greenwash: How Many Do You Recognize?

    Infographic

    Most building products these days have an environmental angle to their sales pitches. Many are legit, but as ever, you still have to watch for the telltale signs of greenwash—the practice of inventing or exaggerating the environmental benefits of a product.

  • The 12 Product Rules

    Infographic

    These 12 product rules provide a simple approach to selecting better, healthier, and more environmentally responsible building products and materials.

  • VOC Testing: What It Can and Can’t Tell You

    Primer

    “Section 01350” has come a long way since it acquired its curious nickname. Here’s what it can tell you about indoor air quality—and what it can’t.

Product Guidance

Unbiased information from our product experts helps you separate green from greenwash.


In The News

We break news down to the essentials and provide expert analysis.


Perspective

Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.


Learning Resources

Syllabus supplements and CEU content, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.


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  • Spec This, Not That: Avoiding Toxic Chemicals in Commercial Building Projects

    PDF Report

    Spec This, Not That details approaches used by architects, designers, contractors, and building owners to reduce chemical hazards in their building projects. It also includes at-your-fingertips insights for designers and spec writers on which hazards to watch out for in the major building product and material categories.

  • Wood: What’s Good?

    Feature Article

    Mass timber seems alluring because of its low carbon footprint, but not all wood is equally sustainable. We dig deep into the controversy over which types of timber are “climate smart.

  • VOCs: Why They’re Still Here and What You Can Do About It

    Feature Article

    “Sick building syndrome” was one of the first problems the green building community tried to solve. We’ve come a long way, but we’re not done yet.

  • Are Cool Roofs Green? The Answer’s Not Black and White

    Feature Article

    Roofing choices are complicated by heating tradeoffs, climate effects, and condensation, but proponents say reflective roofs still make sense in most climates.

Just For Fun

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