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.

  • A 2030 Challenge for Building Products

    News Analysis

    Cutting the energy use of buildings is crucial, but it's not the only concern. Designers and manufacturers turn their attention to the carbon footprint of building products with the 2030 Challenge for Products.

  • 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.

  • A 2030 Challenge for Building Product Manufacturers

    News Analysis

    Cutting the energy use of buildings is crucial, but the building products themselves are a shorter-term greenhouse gas concern. Architecture 2030 launches a Challenge for Products to address embodied carbon.

  • USDA Biobased Label Identifies Farm-Grown Content

    News Analysis

    USDA rolls out a Biobased Product label to identify products with agricultural content. Will the label help consumers, or confuse them?

  • Study Says Bioplastics Not Necessarily Greener

    News Analysis

  • 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.

  • Canadian Timber Companies in Landmark Environmental Deal

    News Analysis

    Twenty-one Canadian forest companies and nine environmental organizations have signed the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, creating a three-year plan for sustainable forest management. The plan will protect the habitat of many species by halting the logging of 29 million of the 72 million hectares included. The agreement is effective immediately with goals set at 6 and 18 months.

  • Recycled Plastics Enter Structural Applications

    News Analysis

    Axion International is manufacturing the world's strongest recycled structural plastics, which can be used in a variety of heavy load-bearing applications, including bridges.

  • 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.