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.

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  • Making Carpet Environmentally Friendly

    Feature Article

    Carpets are the most popular floorcovering in the U.S., but they have also been associated with environmental problems including indoor air emissions and intensive resource use. However, manufacturers have worked to curb their environmental footprints by recycling carpet, examining their life-cycle impacts, and pursuing broad-based certification.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • Bark Cladding Is First Cradle to Cradle Platinum Product

    News Brief

    C2C Platinum certification sets a very high bar for sustainability. A decade in, Bark House shingles are the first product to make the grade.

  • SIREWALL: The Next Generation of Earthen Walls

    Product Review

    Made from local earth, rebar, and polyiso, SIREWALL rammed earth walls are beautiful, durable, and are stronger than concrete with less portland cement.