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Renovation Plans: What Makes Building Materials Green?

Renovation Plans: What Makes Building Materials Green?

Many of us begin thinking about renovating our nest (along with the birds!) as spring nears. But how to renovate in ways that will have the least impact on the environment?

Check out these standards for green building products that can help you make the best and most eco-friendly choices as you start your spring projects.

Sometimes getting to know what the experts consider important in any one area is the best starting point for beginning to think about how you can be more eco-friendly.

Here are 27 bulleted standards for green building products that are interesting to read and start thinking about. They are a summary of the standards used in the annual GreenSpec Product Resource Guide by the renowned expert resource center Building Green.

Summary of Product Standards for Greenspec’s Product Resource Guide .

Products made from environmentally attractive materials:
* Salvaged products
* Products with post-consumer content
* Products with post-industrial content
* Certified wood products
* Rapidly renewable products
* Products made from agricultural waste material
* Natural or minimally processed products

Products that are green because of what isn’t there:
* Products that reduce material use
* Alternatives to ozone-depleting substances
* Alternatives to products made from PVC and polycarbonate
* Alternatives to conventional preservative-treated wood
* Alternatives to other components considered hazardous

Products that reduce environmental impacts during construction, renovation, or demolition:
* Products that reduce the impacts of new construction
* Products that reduce the impacts of renovation
* Products that reduce the impacts of demolition

Products that reduce environmental impacts of building operation:
* Building components that reduce heating and cooling loads
* Equipment that conserves energy
* Renewable energy and fuel cell equipment
* Fixtures and equipment that conserve water
* Products with exceptional durability or low maintenance requirements
* Products that prevent pollution or reduce waste
* Products that reduce or eliminate pesticide treatments

Products that contribute to a safe, healthy, indoor environment:
* Products that don’t release significant pollutants into the building
* Products that block development and spread of indoor contaminants
* Products that remove indoor pollutants
* Products that warn occupants of health hazards in the building
* Products that improve light quality

Read more: Crafts & Design, Materials & Architecture

Adapted from Building with Vision by Watershed Media. Copyright (c) 2001 by Watershed Media. Reprinted by permission of Chelsea Green. Reprinted with permission from "Building Materials: What Makes a Product Green?" Environmental Building News, January 2001
Adapted from Building with Vision by Watershed Media (2001, distributed by Chelsea Green).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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+ add your own
10:17AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

thanks for sharing

12:55AM PST on Jan 13, 2013

Thank you for sharing

10:39AM PDT on Jun 25, 2011

green paint :-)

12:47AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

great info

12:56AM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Thanks for these ideas.

11:44AM PST on Feb 24, 2011

thank you

7:57AM PST on Feb 24, 2011


2:45AM PST on Feb 24, 2011

Thanks for sharing

12:15PM PST on Feb 23, 2011

The market for sustainable construction is very small. So help free it up.
Thank you.

3:32PM PDT on Oct 5, 2010

I did not find it so helpful( perhaps I did not follow it so well?), more useful might be something more specific like using hemp fibre insulation & hemp lime bricks, cement & concrete are very bad & should be avoided as far as possible.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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