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.

  • Porous Plus: Eco-Tek Pavers Include Regional Slag

    Product Review

    Eco-Tek porous pavers offer recycled and regional content in addition to stormwater management.

  • Knoll, Steelcase in Lead with Level 3 Certified Products

    Product Review

    Two years after the "level" furniture certification program was developed by BIFMA, six products and products lines meet the most rigorous of the certifications-level 3.

  • Sansin and Vermont Natural Coatings Debut Low-VOC Stains

    Product Review

    Two new low-VOC interior stain systems were recently released: Vermont Natural Coatings' zero-VOC Woodtone Series Concentrated Tints and Sansin's Purity Interior 0-VOC Stain. Both systems offer a competitive option over higher VOC choices.

  • EBN's Position on Fly Ash


    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.

  • 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.