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.

  • 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.

  • Three-in-One Insulating Sheathing from Dow

    Product Review

    A new polyisocyanurate sheathing from Dow uses recycled content and provides structural shear bracing, wraparound insulation, and a water-resistant barrier in one product.

  • Decorative Ceiling Panel Uses Recycled Content

    Product Review

    Chicago Metallic has introduced Monarch GE, a decorative ceiling panel system using gypsum and 70% recycled content from glass.

  • Migrations Biobased Tile from Armstrong

    Product Review

    A new biobased composition tile from Armstrong offers a more attractive alternative to popular vinyl composition tile.

  • Agrifiber-Plastic Composite Privacy Fencing Introduced

    Product Review

    Heartland Biocomposites combines wheat straw with post-consumer high-density polyethylene to create its durable, insect-resistant PrairieFence line.

  • Indigenous Cradle to Cradle


    Reader Bruce King questions the focus of the Cradle to Cradle product certification program on synthetic materials.

  • Green E-Board Building Panels

    Product Review

    With the durability of cement backerboards but with a carbon footprint closer to gypsum, Green E-Board panels are an intriguing new drywall option.

  • Recycled-EPS Interior Molding

    Product Review

    Recyled polystyrene molding from Timbron International is waterproof, mold-resistant, paintable, and workable.

  • Meeting Your Challenge


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

  • 180 Walls Sets New Standard for Green Wallcovering

    Product Review

    A woven polyester wallcovering from Milliken, 180 Walls is cost-competitive with vinyl wallcoverings and offers a number of environmental benefits that are backed up by third-party certifications.