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.

  • Not Enough Votes for LEED Certified Wood Benchmark

    News Analysis

    The certified wood battleground now moves to the next version of LEED, with a planned release date of late 2012.

  • BuildingGreen Announces 2010 Top-10 Green Products

    News Analysis

    BuildingGreen announced its ninth annual Top-10 Green Building Products during the 2010 Greenbuild conference in Chicago. The list recognizes the most exciting products drawn from recent additions to GreenSpec, coverage in EBN, and blogs.

  • UL Environment Teams Up with EcoLogo

    News Analysis

    In a major consolidation among the crowded field of green product labels, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has acquired Terrachoice, the manager of the EcoLogo Program.

  • New Company-Wide Certifications for Manufacturers

    News Analysis

    Manufacturers will soon have their choice of three green certifications, from Green Seal, UL Environment, and Leonardo Academy.

  • Canadian Timber Companies in Landmark Environmental Deal

    News Analysis

    Twenty-one Canadian forest companies and nine environmental organizations have signed the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, creating a three-year plan for sustainable forest management. The plan will protect the habitat of many species by halting the logging of 29 million of the 72 million hectares included. The agreement is effective immediately with goals set at 6 and 18 months.

  • New Standard Showcases Efficiency of VRF Multi-Splits

    News Analysis

    The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recently created a standard that evaluates the efficiency of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) multi-split heating and cooling systems. AHRI 1230 allows a comparison between VRF multi-splits and unitary HVAC systems that was not possible previously.

  • LEED Policy on Certified Wood Gets Only Minor Changes

    News Analysis

    USGBC has opened new revisions of its policy on certified wood in LEED to public comment. The changes solidify a controversial move made during the last revisions.

  • Energy Star Beefs Up Requirements and Enforcement

    News Analysis

    After an embarrassing report pointed out flaws in the system, Energy Star is revamping its standards, certification processes, and image.

  • Master Painters Institute's New "Extreme Green" Standard

    News Analysis

    MPI has released a new standard with tight restrictions on volatile organic compounds.

  • Revised LEED Wood Credit Slammed from Both Sides

    News Analysis

    The latest draft of LEED's proposed new Forest Certification credit includes a significant change from the previous version-and stakeholders on all sides are sounding alarms.