Residential Construction: Green ProductsPrint Friendly Page
Green products are an essential component of green design. However, defining what is green is not an exact science. Products require assessment in terms of their entire life-cycle -- from raw materials used in manufacture through processing, transport, installation, use, reuse, recycling or disposal. Forethought in product selection provides a means of evaluating how one product choice affects another so that tradeoffs and choices can be evaluated for overall environmental impact. A builder can follow general guidelines to choose most building materials and products. Then, if a questionable product is being considered, review research provided by organizations that do more complex analyses (see references below).
Green products are available for every stage of construction. To effectively include green products, talk with distributors during the design phase and specify purchasing practices for subcontractors. For a more detailed discussion of green purchasing practices, visit the Green Purchasing Topic Hub. Sources for various types of green products can be found in the Green Building Product Directory.
Reasons to Change
Home owner concerns for protecting family and environmental health is a major driver for designing green products into a new home. They should perform as well or better than the conventional item. As with green design, product choice is aimed at reducing pollution, resource consumption, and waste generated during home construction, operation, renovation, and demolition. By adding green products, builders and consumers can most effectively create the system they desire.
One green purchasing method is to buy local products when possible. Products purchased from local or regional sources reduce transporation costs and bolster the local economy.
Using environmentally friendly products can also reduce builder liability and increase marketability of homes. To learn how about how Northwest businesses are achieving benefits read this Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Center newsletter.
P2 in Action
Products with environment-friendly qualities can be identified using the following guidelines:
Consider Raw Materials Used in Manufacture
Consider Durability and Waste Produced
Consider Safety and Health of Workers and Occupants
Where To Find Green Products
Many organizations work to provide builders and consumers with guidelines, standards, and model purchasing specifications. The following are some of these organizations for quick reference:
Click on "More Links" in the left-hand navigation bar to find articles, reports, standards, directories and news regarding everything from efficient lighting to healthy indoor products to foundation systems. Check there to find guidelines or important issues concerning particular types of products. For a quick list of product and vendor directories click here: Product Directories.