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Demystifying the Differences Among Leading Green Product Certification and Standards Programs
According to the McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report 2008, architectural and building contracting firms (non-residential sector) agree that to remain competitive they must shift towards green building, including the use of green building products to achieve energy efficiency, water conservation and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) goals. More than 50% of specifiers are incorporating green products in their building projects. However, making wise product selections is challenging, especially when confronted by a myriad of marketing claims, green washing practices and the lack of credible sources for industry-independent, third-party information.
The McGraw-Hill Report identified eight green product standards and certification programs as the primary market movers. These programs apply to various products and their environmental attributes as follows:
- ENERGY STAR - identifies efficient products that reliably deliver energy savings and environmental benefits
- WaterSense – identifies high performing, water efficient products and practices
- Cradle to Cradle - certifies products based on lifecycle of materials used to construct a product and the overall lifecycle of the product
- GREENGUARD Certification Program - certifies products and processes for their low chemical emissions and low toxicity
- Green Seal - certifies products and practices for their low toxicity and overall environmental impact
- GreenSpec Directory - a published resource on environmentally preferable products
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)- certifies wood products coming from forests managed to meet social economic and ecological needs
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) - certifies wood products coming from well-managed forests and responsible procurement practices
A new report, titled “Primary Green Product Standards and Certification Programs: A Comparison” has been issued by Aerias, an international resource of indoor air quality and green construction information. This extensive report compares the objectives of these leading green product programs; it also details program accreditations, product qualification processes and qualified or certified products. See www.aerias.org for the complete report.
This Comparison report includes an explanation of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party certification programs and describes how each green product program fits these definitions. The market’s desire for clarity, transparency and validity will increase the demand for green products meeting certifications based on sound principles, valid standards and third-party verification.
Also, important to architects, specifiers and designers is the ability to earn points for the LEED building certification programs based on the green products they select. This comprehensive Comparison report includes a table highlighting accreditation of the standards developer and also the currently recognized LEED points achievable with products recognized or certified by these various programs.
As noted earlier, this article and the Aerias Comparison report only covers the certifications identified in the McGraw Hill Construction SmartMarket 2008 Report – Commercial & Institutional Green Building. There are more certifications in the marketplace, and readers are encouraged to visit the websites of each product certification program for more details.
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GREENGUARD In the News
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute serves as a resource for publications and media outlets, providing information on various topics that relate to product emissions and indoor air quality. The following are recent articles and features.
Green Lodging News
Why Green Product Certifications Matter
Green Your Life - 7 Easy Tips
School Planning & Management
Cleaning and IAQ in Schools
The Wall Street Journal
This Old House, Better Than New
Eco-minded Purer Palettes
To read these and past articles visit the Press Room/Articles under the 'About GEI' tab on the GEI website. Read More...
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GREENGUARD Introduces Its New Healthcare CEU
GEI is excited to announce the availability of its newest CEU – Indoor Air Quality and Healing Environments. This CEU addresses the important green design principles required to protect the health and welfare of patients, residents and healthcare workers. Healthcare environments including hospitals and long-term care facilities have unique requirements based on their purpose, daily activities and overall goal of assisting in the protection and improvement of one’s health.
The CEU is categorized as HSW (Health Safety Welfare) and is eligible for SD (sustainable design) credit (1 hour) through the American Institute of Architects (AIA). It joins other accredited CEUs available from GEI including Healthy Indoor Air by Design, Clearing the Air on IAQ: Making Sense of IAQ Standards and IEQ Requirements, Building Blocks for Healthy Indoor Air (K-12) and Design to Prevent the Damaging Effects of Mold. For more information about bringing any of these CEUs to your organization, email email@example.com or call 800.427.9681.
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What is the New NAHB National Green Building Standard?
Recently, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) National Green Building Standard for all residential construction, including single-family homes, apartments and condos, land development, remodeling and renovation. This is the first green building standard approved by ANSI. In addition to numerous green building attributes, achieving good indoor air quality is an integral requirement. The use of low-emitting GREENGUARD Certified products plays a key role in achieving the following credits for home certification:
For a complete list of certified products visit GREENGUARD's onlineproduct guide.
- Indoor Environmental Quality 901.6 Hard Surface Flooring
- Indoor Environmental Quality 901.7 Wall Coverings
- Indoor Environmental Quality 901.8.2 Architectural Coatings
- Indoor Environmental Quality 901.9.2 Adhesives & Sealants
- Indoor Environmental Quality 901.10 Cabinets
- Indoor Environmental Quality 901.11.1 Insulation
- Indoor Environmental Quality 901.11.2 Insulation
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The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) is a national organization that oversees a green building rating program especially designed for K-12 schools. The CHPS Criteria is a system of environmentally responsible benchmarks designed to ensure that schools are built as sustainable as possible. Currently, 43 schools have received CHPS Certification and approximately 300 more across the United States are in the pipeline.
While the program started in California, many other states have adopted CHPS and added specific requirements for their needs and geographical location. These states include Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Achieving good indoor air quality (IAQ) is a major requirement of each individual program, and a key strategy is to reduce harmful chemical emissions from construction materials, finishes, furnishings and cleaning products. After a rigorous qualification process, the GEI for children and schools program was accepted by CHPS. So all, GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certified products qualify for Low-Emitting Credits in CHPS programs throughout the country.
Another way to ensure good IAQ is to make sure excessive moisture does not infiltrate an educational structure and result in mold contamination. Most recently, the Texas team developing their new CHPS program (finalized February 2009), realized the damaging effects moisture and mold can have on indoor environmental quality and the potential health risks to occupants. They addressed the concern by adopting the GREENGUARD Mold and Moisture Management Standard for New Construction in the Resource Section of the EQ 2.0: HVAC and Construction IEQ Minimum Requirements credits. Implementation of this important GREENGUARD Standard, expected to be accredited as an ANSI standard, will assist schools in minimizing the health risks of mold exposure to students, staff and visitors.
Click here for more information on the GREENGUARD Mold and Moisture Management Standard for New Construction (GREENGUARD Building Construction).
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Recently Certified Manufacturers
GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®
Mohawk Finishing Products and Chemical Coatings Inc.
Mohawk Finishing Products and Chemical Coatings Inc. (CCI), offer GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified® finishing systems utilizing a variety of staining and glazing options. Based out of Hickory, North Carolina, and part of the RPM Wood Finishes Group, Mohawk Finishing Products and Chemical Coatings, Inc. are your source for professional finishing products and touch up and repair products for fine furniture and cabinetry. www.mohawk-finishing.com and www.ccicoatings.com
GREENGUARD Children and SchoolsSM Certified
Royal Seating, LLC
Royal Seating, LLC offers GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM Certified chairs, tables, workstations and desks. Headquartered in Cameron, TX, Royal Seating, LLC focuses on educational, preschool, computer, library, auditorium and higher education furniture. www.royalseating.com
Midwest Folding Products
Midwest Folding Products offer GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM Certified mobile cafeteria tables, stages and risers and multi-use tables. Based out of Chicago, IL, Midwest Folding Products also manufactures a complete line of table and chair caddies for a wide array of environments. www.midwestfolding.com
Evonik Foams, Inc. offers GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM Certified SOLCOUSTICÔ duct liner and SOLIMIDEÒ foam insulation products. Headquartered in Allen, Texas, with manufacturing in Magnolia, Arkansas, Evonik Foams offers a family of high performance thermal and acoustic insulation products for a variety of industries worldwide. www.evonikfoams.com
Decca Furniture Limited
Decca Furniture Limited offers GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM Certified office and hospitality furniture. Based in Hong Kong, China, Decca focuses on the supply of high end wooden furniture for contract and hospitality applications. For further details, please visit www.deccacontract.com and www.deccahospitality.com
More certified manufacturers
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GREENGUARD Environmental Institute
2211 Newmarket Parkway Ste 110
Marrietta, GA 30067
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Tip of the Month
Designing and constructing a building to prevent moisture and mold protects your property before you move in and for years to come. Poor indoor air quality caused by mold contamination can lead to serious problems ranging from structural defects to expensive remediation costs not to mention human health issues like asthma and other allergic reactions. To prevent these problems, the GREENGUARD Building Construction Program provides a comprehensive set of specifications to implement during the design, construction and occupancy of a building. Once this program is successfully completed, the building achieves GREENGUARD Building Construction Certification, which earns LEED points - specifically, EQ Credit 10 in LEED for Schools. In addition, an Innovation in Design (ID) credit can be achieved in other LEED certification programs.
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GEI is proud to be a recognized USGBC Education Provider, and provides numerous Continuing Education Courses related to indoor air quality principles, including the following:
Indoor Air Quality and Healing Environments
Credits: AIA (1LU)
Healthy Indoor Air by Design
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), CSI (1-ECH), USGBC
Clearing the Air on IAQ: Making Sense of IAQ Standards and IEQ Requirements
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), CSI (1-ECH)
Building Blocks for Healthy Indoor Air
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1CEU), USGBC
Design to Prevent the Damaging Effects of Mold
Credits: AIA (1LU), CSI (1-ECH)
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