Choosing Certifications & Ecolabels: From Projects to Products Video, 57 minutes

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Green building product selection is a mess.

With an overwhelming number of green product certifications and labels available, even veteran designers and construction professionals can easily get lost in the maelstrom.

  • Manufacturers and designers are often not even speaking the same language.

  • Performance, durability, aesthetics, and cost are always in play right alongside sustainability concerns.

  • And greenwashing has diminished since the early days of product certifications but is still a real problem.

The whole thing can become a confusing distraction from the industry’s communal sustainability goals.

This webinar is designed to help. The presenters, Brent Ehrlich and Paula Melton, share what they learned about today’s certification landscape while writing BuildingGreen’s Guide to Building Product Certifications & Ecolabels, distilling some of the information available in that guide to help attendees start to make sense of it all.

Brent and Paula will walk you through:

  • What you need to know about LEED and other whole-building rating systems. 

  • How product labels can help you meet the AIA Materials Pledge and similar commitments.

  • Which top certification categories make the most difference in sustainability.

  • How certifications are changing to address big issues like social equity and circularity.

A list of takeaways, followed by a Q&A with the instructors, will set you up to move with greater confidence in the chaotic world of green building product certifications and ecolabels. 

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the role of green product certifications and ecolabels in achieving both firm-wide and project-level sustainability goals.

  2. Differentiate and prioritize certifications and ecolabels in the context of whole-building certifications and the AIA Materials Pledge.

  3. Discern the objectives of different certification and ecolabel categories—including energy and water performance, indoor air quality, protection from chemicals of concern, biodiversity, circularity, and social equity—to aid in product selection.

  4. Identify specific certifications and ecolabels that help teams meet documented project goals.


As BuildingGreen’s Products & Materials Specialist, Brent excels at deep, nuanced technical research on the health and environmental impacts of green building products and materials. Some areas of focus include:

  • product and material constituents, including their risks

  • product certifications

  • third-party product and material testing frameworks

  • ensuring functional performance

  • LEED Materials & Resources requirements

  • life-cycle assessment

  • the performance advantages and environmental impacts of different structural materials

Brent also serves as products editor at BuildingGreen, writing or editing all the company’s product-related publications. In this role, he also oversees BuildingGreen’s annual award program—the Top 10 Green Building Products—and presents his findings yearly.

Paula brings passion, humor, and discernment to all her writing and speaking. Areas of special interest include:

  • social equity and environmental justice
  • industry standards and certification systems
  • building rating systems (both development and implementation), including WELL v2 and LEED v4.1
  • regulatory issues and their influence on green building
  • forestry practices and mass timber

Paula manages ongoing content development and publications. She has been a speaker at the AIA Conference on Architecture, Greenbuild, and many other venues.