How Sustainable is Your Green?

There are a number of manufacturers of “green” products for LEED® building, but as with everything else, they are not created equal.  The Green Building Council does not make recommendations when choosing a supplier for your products, but there are a number of factors you can check off when choosing suppliers.Commitment to SustainabilityYou want to make sure that the manufacturers you purchase from have their own commitment to sustainability.  They should have a working environmental policy in place, easy to find, on their website or product literature.Product CompositionTake a good look at the products themselves.  Check the raw materials; find out where they came from.  Are they from renewable sources?  Does the manufacture process release harmful substances?  You should also know if the products use adhesives or finishes/coatings and what those coatings and glues are made of.Other Product FacetsTake into consideration the main function of the product.  You want to know that it does its job well, and nurtures the health and well-being of its users.  Find out its energy consumption and whether it releases VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).  Research packaging, transportation, installation and maintenance of the product.Pay attention to the color and the textures involved.  These can affect your lighting and thermal comfort conditions.  You also want to check how maintenance is performed on the product.  It should be in a benign manner, and use only safe cleaning product.Disposal StrategiesAny product considered should preferably be durable, biodegradable and recyclable.  Hopefully, it can be made into something else or returned to the manufacturer.As with every other aspect of preparing for LEED® certification, the products you choose can have a major impact on your score.  They should therefore be examined very carefully, and with a strict set of standards.

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