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.

  • 180 Walls Sets New Standard for Green Wallcovering

    Product Review

    A woven polyester wallcovering from Milliken, 180 Walls is cost-competitive with vinyl wallcoverings and offers a number of environmental benefits that are backed up by third-party certifications.

  • Recycled-Content Paint Standard Released

    News Analysis

    A new latex paint standard addresses product quality, performance, VOC content, and additive- and recycled-content levels.

  • Unique American Teak Offers FSC-Certified Flooring

    Product Review

    A new supplier is offering prefinished teak flooring from Costa Rica certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

  • U.K. Homes Rating System Recognizes FSC, SFI

    News Analysis

    The Building Research Establishment's (BRE) EcoHomes environmental rating system for homes in Great Britain recently gave equal recognition in its guidelines to wood certified by FSC and SFI, two rival programs.

  • Concerns About Broadening LEED's Wood Credit


    Bill Edgerton, AIA, writes about his concerns that broadening LEED's wood credit would weaken LEED and erode USGBC's credibility.

  • Nail Kicker Aids Wood Reuse

    Product Review

    A pneumatic tool that aids salvage and reuse of wood, the Nail Kicker has recently been reissued.

  • Triton Logging Recovers Underwater Forests

    Product Review

    Triton Logging, Inc., of British Columbia has brought to market environmentally-friendly lumber from forests flooded by reservoirs; standing trees are recovered using the company's unique Sawfish submarine harvester.

  • News on the Toilet Testing Front

    News Analysis

    Veritec Consulting has redesigned its toilet-performance testing protocol to save soybean paste, and a new system helps consumers identify toilets that save water and flush well.