Reduced Life-Cycle Impacts

Photo: Viridian Reclaimed Wood

OVERVIEW

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.

    Loading...
  • Piping in Perspective: Selecting Pipe for Plumbing in Buildings

    Feature Article

    Potable water supply piping and drain-waste-vent piping represent a significant fraction of a building's materials. Choosing the greenest pipe for both applications, particularly deciding between metal pipe and plastic alternatives, requires evaluating a variety of environmental and human health impacts as well as durability and performance issues.

  • Bamboo in Construction: Is the Grass Always Greener?

    Feature Article

    An increasingly popular building material, bamboo is celebrated for its quick growth and ability to regenerate after being harvested. But bamboo also has its downsides. In this feature article, EBN examines the pros and cons of building with bamboo.

  • Reality Check for LEED v4 Product Credits

    News Analysis

    The three “Disclosure and Optimization” or “BPDO” credits in LEED v4 include both some pretty easy points and points that are not yet achievable.

  • 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. USGBC has done a great job defining and spurring manufacturers to support some options, but others are not yet (as of mid-2017) achievable, for a range of reasons. So go after the easy ones, and don’t waste time on others until they’re within reach.

  • Unmilled Timber Frames Go High Tech, Replacing Steel

    Product Review

    Keep the beauty of round logs, and get more strength from an engineered wood structure, promises Wisconsin-based company WholeTrees. 

  • 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. 

  • Stone Certification Recognized in LEED v4, Living Buildings

    News Brief

    Natural stone is one of the oldest green building materials, but it’s the newest to have a rigorous multi-attribute certification recognized by USGBC

  • A Tour of Cool Products from Greenbuild 2016

    Product Review

    These products from Greenbuild 2016 expo floor save water, use wood in innovative ways, and protect buildings and materials from the elements

  • BuildingGreen Announces Top 10 Products for 2017

    Product Review

    Our innovative Top 10 product selections reduce stormwater and wastewater, improve efficiency and IAQ, and contain fewer hazardous materials.

  • Treated Wood for Ground Contact, Minus the Toxic Pesticides

    Product Review

    Accoya, now code-approved for fungus and termite resistance, relies on acetylation as a benign alternative to conventional pressure-treated wood.