Building Operating Management

Certified Green Products Directory

By BOM Editorial Staff   Green

Green products are all the rage these days. But facility executives may have trouble wading through the constant barrage of green-tinted advertising to determine what’s actually a green product and what’s a normal product, marketed as green. One good indication of a product’s greenness is whether it has been certified by an independent, third-party organization. Facility executives can match their criteria — a paint with low VOC emissions, or a roof with a high reflectivity, for example — with the products that have been certified to meet those criteria and be assured they’re getting what they thought they were getting.

The editors of Building Operating Management present the Certified Green Products Directory. We’ve collected the lists of manufacturers from the most recognizable and widely consulted third-party green certification bodies. We hope this directory will provide facility executives with a one-stop-shop, or at least a one-stop-starting point, for dependable, accurate information on green products. Each certification body’s Web site is included for facility executives interested in learning more about a certification’s exact criteria. Also, manufacturers’ Web sites are listed for each manufacturer that has had at least one product certified by the third-party organization under which it is listed. We hope the directory will serve as a valuable resource to help facility executives meet green product goals.

Green Certifications

Energy Star
Roofing products are labeled as Energy Star-compliant if they meet the Energy Star standard for reflectance on initial installation and after three years of weathering. The standard differs for low- and steep-sloped roofs. Reflective roofs can save money on energy bills by reducing heat gain into a facility.

Green Label / Green Label Plus
Green Label, administered by the Carpet and Rug Institute, is a certification for carpet, adhesives, cushions and vacuum cleaners that emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Green Label Plus is an enhancement to the Green Label certification that includes additional low-emitting requirements set forth by the California Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).

The Greenguard Environmental Institute certifies a variety of product types that exhibit low VOC emissions. The organization also certifies products at a more stringent emissions standard for use in schools, and has recently started a mold risk reduction program that certifies the design, construction and ongoing operations of facilities.

Green Seal
Green Seal is a non-profit organization that certifies everything from paints and coatings to cleaners. For paints and coatings (listed below) the organization's standard is unique in that in addition to VOC emissions criteria, it also includes performance criteria, so that buyers are assured of both an environmentally responsible paint and one that will meet industry standards for quality.

McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) Cradle-to-Cradle
The brainchild of sustainability experts William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Cradle-to-Cradle certification recognizes products that meet benchmarks for use of sustainable materials, design for material reuse, renewable energy and water use in the manufacturing process, and design for social responsibility. The certification was launched in June 2005.

SCS Environmentally Preferable Product
Scientific Certification Systems certifies carpet face fiber, broadloom, carpet tile, and flooring management systems under critieria set forth in a stringent standard that examines several aspects of a product's performance and manufacturing. SCS also certifies single-attribute environmental claims for material content, biodegradability and indoor air quality performance. For instance, an insulation product could be certified to use a minimum of 35 percent recycled content. SCS has certified several hundred of these single-attribute claims.



Greenbuild 2006 — Green Product Education

Green product selection, as a major facet of whole-building green design, is a theme facility executives will easily recognize at this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual trade show. This year, Greenbuild takes place Nov. 15-17 at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. In addition to the trade show with more than 700 exhibitors, two educational sessions at this year’s Greenbuild provide valuable information about how to select green products.

CSI GreenFormat: A Standard for Evaluating Sustainable Products
Nov. 15, 10:30 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.
Session Number: 101

This session will address a structured process for evaluating products, materials, assemblies and systems to consistently determine compliance with sustainability requirements of LEED and other rating systems.

First, the requirements of designers and specifiers will be framed by an architectural specification writer specializing in sustainable project work. A product designer from a building product manufacturer will then relate the challenges involved in meeting the many and differing requests for information on product performance.

Finally, a member of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Sustainable Facilities Task Team will present a standard sustainable criteria reporting format recently developed by CSI to structure information about products, materials, assemblies, and systems to help the project team make selections that meet the varying requirements of different performance measurement systems such as LEED.

The new CSI GreenFormat provides a consistent framework for reporting and analyzing information that is responsive to sustainable requirements by work categories. The advantage of a structured format consistent with the standard format used to prepare project specifications will be illustrated.

An opportunity to discuss the challenges faced in evaluating products and how the new format will address these challenges will conclude the panel.

The presenters for the session are Peggy White, providing the designer's perspective and Judith Hochhauser of Schneider Electric, providing the manufacturer's point of view on evaluating products, materials and systems for sutainability. Pat Hooper of CSI will discuss CSI's New GreenFormat.

Got LCA? Strengthening Skills to Innovate Sustainable Building Products
Nov. 17, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Session Number: 609

A growing number of building product and material manufacturers are focusing on sustainability in product development, in part because of the prominence of LEED and other sustainability initiatives.

Increasingly, manufacturers see products designed with economic, environmental and social attributes as key to competitive advantage and success in the building and construction market.

Knowing how to attain and effectively use the information needed to innovate more sustainable products is a first step. In this context, the use of life-cycle assessment is spreading within North America’s high-performance building market and companies are developing the skills and knowledge they need to effectively use life-cycle assessment.

Drawing on real-world case studies from product and material manufacturers, this session will focus on:

  • Why life-cycle assessment is a valuable decision-making tool
  • What opportunities and challenges exist
  • How to foster the knowledge, skills and tools needed to assess a product’s environmental performance across its life cycle.

Three companies will present their experiences and insights on current and future efforts to build capacity for life-cycle thinking and life-cycle assessment studies. The companies will talk about why they conducted environmental life-cycle studies, what they learned, how they used the knowledge, and what value it generated. They will also describe the resources and skills needed to conduct life-cycle assessments.

The session will introduce the idea of life-cycle assessment in the context of green building trends and LEED credits, followed by the three case studies — each posing questions to participants to stimulate interaction and facilitate discussion.

The session is geared toward those interested in learning what it takes to study the life-cycle environmental impacts of products and what the resulting value may be. It is designed for individuals selecting products and materials, as well as manufacturers of those building products.

  Greenbuild 2006
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, Colorado
Nov. 17-19, 2006
The session's presenters are Paul Firth of Interface Research, Andrea Russell of Rio Tinto Borax and Steve Baer, Armstrong World Industries.

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  posted on 10/1/2006   Article Use Policy