Reduced Manufacturing Impacts

Researchers in a laboratory at Oregon State University study the properties of cross-laminated timber. CLTs are a way to reduce the embodied impacts of a structural system.

Photo: Oregon State University. License: CC BY-SA 2.0.


We rarely think about our building products beyond their immediate impact on a building or its indoor air quality. But we should.

How much energy does it take to make a product? What are the raw materials? Is the manufacturing process poisoning us?

These questions are not addressed by most green product programs, but the resources found here look at products and materials throughout their life cycles, including through:

  • life-cycle assessments

  • environmental product declarations

  • carbon accounting

  • embodied energy

With additional knowledge, you will have a more nuanced view of why products are environmentally sustainable and how they can be improved in the future.

  • Embodied Carbon on a Roll
    October 9, 2018

    Blog Post

    The carbon that’s emitted when we produce materials and construct our buildings is finally getting the attention it deserves.

  • The Urgency of Embodied Carbon and What You Can Do about It
    September 10, 2018

    Feature Article

    Building materials emit massive amounts of carbon long before the lights go on. Here’s how thoughtful design can reduce global warming impact.

  • The BuildingGreen Guide to Insulation

    Reports, Courses, Study Guides, Live Webinars

    The BuildingGreen Guide to Insulation provides detailed guidance on insulation products and practices, including cost comparisons and detailed recommendations on what insulation to use, and what to avoid.

  • From Norway, A New Standard for Energy-Positive Design
    June 5, 2018

    News Brief

    Powerhouse is a new standard for energy-positive buildings that generate more energy than used for construction, operation, and demolition.

  • Material Transparency for LEED v4: EPDs and HPDs for Metal Studs
    May 22, 2018

    Blog Post

    Reducing your building’s carbon footprint or health impacts? Going after new LEED credits? Transparency documents for steel studs can help.

  • Better Steel, Lower Impacts
    May 2, 2017

    Feature Article

    Steel’s reputation for high embodied energy and carbon emissions are well documented, but improvements in processing, product selection, and end use can minimize these impacts.

  • Work Globally, Design Locally
    February 7, 2017

    Feature Article

    In today’s global economy, American architects work on six continents—but that doesn’t mean they should all have identical glass towers.

  • Composite Wood: EPA, California, and LEED v4 Requirements
    March 6, 2018

    Product Review

    EPA criteria are similar to CARB’s and create a federal formaldehyde standard for composite wood. We explain the LEED ramifications of these emission standards.

  • The Great Eight: High-Impact Material Choices for Green Building
    June 6, 2016

    Feature Article

    We’re at a tipping point in insulation, flooring, textiles, and other product categories. Here’s what to spec and what to avoid.

  • A Guide to Selecting Sustainable Textiles
    February 9, 2016

    Feature Article

    Textiles’ good looks hide an ugly environmental legacy, but there are five straightforward ways to make responsible design choices.