Material Selection

Photo: Dan Brady. License: CC BY 2.0.

OVERVIEW

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.

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  • Mass Timber to Be Recognized in Washington Code

    News Brief

    Supporters of Washington’s new mass timber law hope it will increase tall wood construction.

  • Seal, Tape, Gasket: A Sticky Search for Better Materials

    Feature Article

    Given the importance of sealing hidden joints in our air and water barriers, you'd think we'd know how long our sealants, adhesives, and gaskets last.

  • Exterior Paints: Long-Term Protection and Environmental Tradeoffs

    Feature Article

    Exterior coatings protect buildings from the environment but often contain hazardous ingredients, so maximizing their durability is often the greenest option.

  • Biobased Materials: Not Always Greener

    Feature Article

    We tend to think of biobased materials as inherently greener-but even "natural" and "rapidly renewable" materials can carry big environmental impacts.

  • What Makes a Product Green?

    Feature Article

    Lots of manufacturers call their products "green," but are they? Here's our guide to the high-performance attributes that matter.

  • LEDs: The Future Is Here

    Feature Article

    LEDs have finally become an economically viable lighting option, but choosing the best LED products still takes knowledge and skill.

  • Better Choices in Low-Slope Roofing

    Feature Article

    There are big differences in environmental impacts of commercial roofing materials, but the biggest variable may be service life.

  • Choosing Windows: Looking Through the Options

    Feature Article

    We ask a lot from windows: energy efficiency, aesthetics, durability, affordability, and more. Which window frame materials and low-e glazing options balance these choices best? This article explores all the options and decodes the performance labels we see when buying windows.

  • What's New in Multi-Attribute Environmental Certifications

    Feature Article

    The industry is increasingly recognizing the need for a more comprehensive review of green products. We don't have perfect programs yet, but we scrutinize the most prominent programs out there and highlight how they're useful.

  • Wingnut Real-World Testing of Basement Waterproofing

    Blog Post

    A basement testing of UGL Drylok Extreme, Koster NB1 Grey, Xypex Concentrate negative-side waterproofing