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

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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Choosing Windows: Looking Through the Options

    Feature Article

    We ask a lot from windows: energy efficiency, aesthetics, durability, affordability, and more. Which window frame materials and low-e glazing options balance these choices best? This article explores all the options and decodes the performance labels we see when buying windows.

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  • Meeting Your Challenge

    Op-Ed

    Sarnafil US, Inc. meets EBN's challenge to recycle its old roofs as well as production waste and scrap.

  • Why the USGBC Should Change LEED's Position on Wood

    Op-Ed

    Alex Wilson, who wrote a white paper for the USGBC recommending changes to the LEED Rating System relative to wood and biobased credits, explains why the changes make sense from an environmental standpoint.

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