Material Selection

Photo: Dan Brady. License: CC BY 2.0.


Materials really do matter to the health of occupants and the environment, but finding out what is in a product—and why—is not easy.

Products also have to perform as intended, so there are often tradeoffs between performance and the most sustainable materials.

Here you will find articles on:

  • the least hazardous, most environmentally sustainable materials used in products

  • environmental product declarations that can reveal the life-cycle impacts of materials

  • standards and third-party certifications that provide important VOC criteria and other health and performance metrics

  • chemicals of concern in building materials

You’ll also learn how what makes a product green can differ from product category to product category, and why multi-attribute vetting is critical no matter what product or material you’re selecting or specifying.

  • A More Sustainable Fluorinated PVDF Metal Coating

    Product Review

    With the PVDF coating Fluropon Pure, “fluorinated” does not necessarily mean persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic.

  • A New Foam-Free Sub-Slab Insulation

    Product Review

    Foam glass aggregate made from post-consumer recycled glass bottles can replace both foam insulation and aggregate below grade


  • New PVC-Free Resilient Flooring Options

    Product Review

    Shaw is now offering biobased and recycled PET resilient flooring options for commercial and healthcare applications.

  • Polystyrene Insulations Are Now HBCD-Free

    Product Review

    Dow, Owens Corning, and Kingspan have joined the EPS industry in eliminating the hazardous halogenated flame retardant HBCD from their XPS insulations.

  • New Insulated Metal Panels without Halogenated Flame Retardants

    Product Review

    Kingspan and Centria IMPs are using halogen-free flame retardants, resulting in less toxic, better performing insulated cladding.

  • Materials Transparency & LEED


    This deep dive into the three Building Product Disclosure and Optimization (BPDO) credits in LEED v4 provides the rationale for why product choices are so important, the details on how to achieve points within the three credits, and which options you shouldn't bother pursuing.

  • BuildingGreen Announces Top 10 Products for 2018

    Product Review


    Our innovative Top 10 product selections improve IAQ, save energy and water, contain fewer hazardous materials, and promote material transparency.

  • Mineral-Based Interior Paints Go Mainstream

    Product Review

    Mineral-based paint from Romabio contains no synthetic resins, and can be used in place of standard interior acrylic latex paint on drywall.

  • Interior Paints: LEED v4 and Beyond

    Product Review

    LEED v4 overhauled its low-emitting materials credit, with a new emphasis on VOC content and emissions. But be sure to look for durability as well.

  • Building Product Disclosure & Optimization (BPDO) Cheat Sheet


    The three Building Product Disclosure and Optimization (BPDO) credits in LEED v4 are pushing the industry into new territory. USGBC has done a great job defining and spurring manufacturers to support some options, but others are not yet (as of mid-2017) achievable, for a range of reasons. So go after the easy ones, and don’t waste time on others until they’re within reach.