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.

  • Earthstone's Affordable, Recycled Granite Pavers

    Product Review

    Earthstone Products manufactures exterior granite pavers and interior granite floor tiles from recycled countertop scrap.

  • Lego Blocks from Straw

    Product Review

    While still under development, Oryzatech's Stak Block rice-straw, interlocking, highly insulating building block is an exciting product that could revolutionize the use of straw as a building material.

  • Building a Better Building Block-Pozzotive Plus

    Product Review

    Kingston Block & Masonry Supply has introduced a line of CMUs and concrete facing brick made with a post-consumer-recycled-glass pozzolan substituting for 30% of the portland cement as well as about 50% post-consumer recycled aggregate.

  • Nexterra NSF-140-Certified Commercial Carpet Tiles

    Product Review

    Bolyu and Cambridge carpet tiles with Nexterra backing were the first carpets certified to NSF 140-2007e, achieving the platinum level.

  • iCrete Mixes Stronger Concrete With Less Cement

    Product Review

    iCrete is an approach to concrete mix design that uses a proprietary algorithm, informed by detailed analysis of available aggregates, to optimize particle packing and use only as much cement as necessary.

  • Knauf Introduces Ecose Biobased Binder

    Product Review

    Knauf's EcoBatt insulation uses a new biobased binder with no added formaldehyde, although it has not revealed the proprietary ingredients.

  • No-Compromise Green Fabrics from O Ecotextiles

    Product Review

    O Ecotextiles offers luxury textiles made from rapidly renewable fibers. The company continues to work toward eliminating toxic chemicals, unfair labor practices, and water pollution at each step in the textile production process.

  • Lime Stucco from American Clay Enterprises

    Product Review

    American Clay Enterprises, known for its popular natural earth plaster, has introduced a setting lime stucco to the national market.

  • Masonite Offers Straw-Core Door With No Added Urea-Formaldehyde

    Product Review

    Masonite's Safe 'N Sound Emerald door features a wheat-straw core, FSC-certified veneers, and adhesives with no added urea-formaldehyde.

  • Whey-Based Floor and Furniture Finishes

    Product Review

    PolyWhey floor and furniture finish from Vermont Natural Coatings uses whey protein, a byproduct of the cheese industry, to create a durable product with low levels of volatile organic compounds.