Standards and rating systems have been at the heart of the green building movement at least since U.S. energy standards for buildings (like ASHRAE 90.1) started ratcheting up following the 1970s energy crisis.
If you care about health and sustainability, you can now rely on dozens of ratings and standards for buildings as well as things in and around them, including:
Lab protocols for chemical emissions from finishes and furniture
Testing methods for durability of paints, textiles, and many other products
Standards for energy use, ventilation, thermal comfort, and more
Rating systems for schools, healthcare facilities, parking garages, landscapes, and healthy spaces
With several announcements at the 2006 Greenbuild conference in Denver, the U.S. Green Building Council signaled that it would use its LEED Rating System to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by tightening LEED requirements and by increasing the number of buildings designed to LEED standards.
Analytical chemistry tools, used together with product testing chambers, are making it possible to "see" product emissions in new ways. Editor Nadav Malin discusses the science behind product emissions testing, the different product certification standards, and what's ahead for this growing field.
Over the years, the original Passive House Institute (PHI) certification system has branched out considerably to offer different requirements for different building types, such as offices, hospitals, schools—even swimming pools.