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

Deep Dives

Get up to speed on complex topics. You can also earn CEUs and download PDF Spotlight Reports.


    Loading...
  • 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 Today?

    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.

Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.


  • Check if your spelling is correct, or try removing filters.
  • 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.

Product Guidance

Unbiased information from our product experts helps you separate green from greenwash.


    Loading...
  • BuildingGreen Announces 2007 Top-10 Products

    Product Review

    BuildingGreen, Inc., publisher of the GreenSpec Directory and Environmental Building News (EBN), announced its annual Top-10 Green Building Products, representing the most exciting products covered in those publications in the last year.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Nail Kicker Aids Wood Reuse

    Product Review

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

In The News

We break news down to the essentials and provide expert analysis.


Perspective

Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.


  • Check if your spelling is correct, or try removing filters.
  • 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.

Learning Resources

A wide range of education options, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.


  • Check if your spelling is correct, or try removing filters.
  • 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.

Just For Fun

Something weird happens every April at BuildingGreen...


  • Check if your spelling is correct, or try removing filters.
  • 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.