Reduced Life-Cycle Impacts

Photo: Viridian Reclaimed Wood

Is wood a sustainable material? It depends: a table made from reclaimed wood has a much smaller environmental footprint than one sourced from a monoculture plantation that replaced a rainforest.

Defining responsible material sourcing—and then finding responsibly sourced products—is complicated. Here you will find in-depth resources that detail the benefits and challenges of using biobased materials, reclaimed wood, fly ash, and other materials. Our resources also detail which companies and industries are ahead of the curve in offering responsible choices.

What about the materials you don’t use? Using less is always a good idea—as long as that doesn’t compromise performance.

Doing more with less takes knowledge and attention: it’s about investing in human resources instead of wasting natural resources. And since our small planet has more humans every day, we’re not likely to run out of them anytime soon. Durability, efficient structural systems, and repairing and retrofitting rather than replacing are all key strategies to consider.

Reduced Life-Cycle Impacts

Deep Dives

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


    Loading...
  • Finding Products for LEED v4 and v4.1

    Feature Article

     Finding and managing product information for LEED has changed—and v4.1 has added even more to think about.

  • The Potential of Prefab: How Modular Construction Can Be Green

    Feature Article

    Offsite modular construction not only cuts costs and construction times but also benefits people and the planet.

  • Better Steel, Lower Impacts

    Feature Article

    Steel’s reputation for high embodied energy and carbon emissions are well documented, but improvements in processing, product selection, and end use can minimize these impacts.

  • Certified Wood: How SFI Compares to FSC

    Feature Article

    FSC-certified wood is ingrained in rating systems like LEED, but rival SFI has a revised standard. Can it show it’s just as good on the issues that matter most?

Quick Takes

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


    Loading...
  • Building Product Disclosure & Optimization (BPDO) Cheat Sheet

    Infographic

    The three Building Product Disclosure and Optimization (BPDO) credits in LEED v4 are pushing the industry into new territory. Suppliers have made significant progress on materials transparency and optimization since the release of version 4, but not enough to make all the points realistically achievable. With version 4.1, LEED has modified thresholds and simplified requirements so that all six points should be within reach for most projects.

  • Sand, a Surprisingly Limited Resource

    Primer

    Demand for the basic raw material for glass and concrete is prompting illegal mining that’s leaving beaches and riverbeds bare. 

  • What These Forestry Labels Really Mean

    Infographic

    You’ve seen FSC and SFI labels on wood products. Most often, you’ve seen no label at all. Here’s a green guide to each one.

  • The 12 Product Rules

    Infographic

    These 12 product rules provide a simple approach to selecting better, healthier, and more environmentally responsible building products and materials.

Product Guidance

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


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.


    Loading...
  • Building Products Matter Even More Than We Thought

    Op-Ed

    Operational energy use is critical, but materials might be an even bigger part of the solution to climate change and other pressing environmental issues.

  • FSC, LEED, and the Price of Perfectionism

    Op-Ed

    A hard line against industry-sponsored alternatives to FSC certification in the past may have unfortunate outcomes for the world’s forests.

  • EBN's Position on Fly Ash

    Op-Ed

    EBN is concerned about heavy metals leaching from products made with fly ash, and thinks these products should only be used if they reduce greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere or if the risk of leaching is very low.

  • Indigenous Cradle to Cradle

    Op-Ed

    Reader Bruce King questions the focus of the Cradle to Cradle product certification program on synthetic materials.

Learning Resources

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


    Loading...
  • The Potential of Prefab: How Modular Construction Can Be Green

    Feature Article

    Offsite modular construction not only cuts costs and construction times but also benefits people and the planet.

  • Better Steel, Lower Impacts

    Feature Article

    Steel’s reputation for high embodied energy and carbon emissions are well documented, but improvements in processing, product selection, and end use can minimize these impacts.

  • Certified Wood: How SFI Compares to FSC

    Feature Article

    FSC-certified wood is ingrained in rating systems like LEED, but rival SFI has a revised standard. Can it show it’s just as good on the issues that matter most?

  • 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.

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.