Feature Article - March 2008
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Easy Being Green

By Dawn Klingensmith

What Does "Green" Mean?

Summarized here are the criteria BuildingGreen.com uses for including products in its online GreenSpec directory.

Products made with salvaged, recycled or agricultural waste content:

Post-consumer recycled content trumps pre-consumer recycled content because it is more likely to divert waste from landfills.

Products that conserve natural resources:

Includes exceptionally durable and low-maintenance materials; certified wood products; rapidly renewable products; natural or minimally processed products; alternatives to ozone-depleting products; products that reduce stormwater pollution, etc.

Products that avoid toxic or other emissions:

Includes natural or minimally processed products, as well as alternatives to ozone-depleting substances, alternatives to hazardous products, products that reduce or eliminate the need for pesticide, products that reduce stormwater pollution, products that reduce impact of construction or demolition, and products that reduce pollution or waste from operations.

Products that save energy or water:

Includes building components that reduce heating and cooling loads; renewable-energy and fuel-cell equipment; etc.

Products that contribute to safety and health:

Includes products with zero or no VOC emissions.