How Green is a Product?Date: July 02, 2013
There are many things to consider when building a new home or remodeling your existing home. Green products are one such thing to consider. However, it can be difficult to figure out how green a product really is.
While at a conference, Eric Phelps from Victoria + Albert Baths, gave us a great list of questions to help address a product’s “greenness.” The following questions will help you learn more about green products.
Examine the manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability:
– Is there a written, working environmental policy in place?
– Is it easy to find green information on their website or in their product literature?
– Does this policy strive to make important improvements in manufacturing, reducing and reusing
– first, then recycling?
– Do they comply with their industry’s voluntary testing programs?
Examine the product’s composition:
– What are the raw materials used to create the product and where do they come from?
– Did the materials come from renewable resources?
– Is the manufacturing process energy efficient?
– Does the manufacturing process release harmful substances?
– Are adhesives needed to make the product viable? If so, what are they using?
– Are coatings or finishes needed to make the product viable? Is so, what are they using?
Examine other aspects of the product:
– Does the product nurture the health and well-being of its occupants?
– Does the product do the job well?
– How much energy does it use?
– Does the product release VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)? At what rate?
– How is the product packaged and transported?
– How is the product installed and maintained?
– Does it have a color or texture that can lead to reduced lighting energy or an expanded range of thermal comfort conditions?
– Can the product be maintained in a benign manner using safe cleaning products?
Examine strategies for disposal:
– Is the product durable? Biodegradable? Recyclable?
– Can the parts be separated for recycling?
– Can it be made into something else?
– Can the product be returned to its manufacturer at the end of its useful life?