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.

Material Selection

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  • Can Concrete Save Us? Locking Up Carbon in Building Materials

    Feature Article

    Concrete is responsible for a huge proportion of global carbon dioxide emissions. A few companies want to reverse this cycle by sequestering carbon in building materials.

  • The PVC Debate: A Fresh Look

    Feature Article

    PVC is banned by some green building programs and simply reviled by some groups. How did we get here, and has anything changed since vinyl became the enemy?

  • Innovative Products and Technology from the Greenbuild Expo

    Feature Article

    Our product editors pick some winners from the expo floor at Greenbuild 2013 while raising questions about some materials.

  • Engineering a Wood Revolution

    Feature Article

    Engineered wood products are challenging concrete and steel in structural applications while proffering a lower environmental footprint.

Just For Fun

Something weird happens every April at BuildingGreen...


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  • Remove quotes around phrases to match each word individually: "blue drop" will match less than blue drop.
  • You can require or exclude terms using + and -: big +blue drop will require a match on blue while big blue -drop will exclude results that contain drop.