Green Products: Asking the Right Questions

July 1, 2003
Maximizing Building Performance Through Environmental Strategies - PRODUCTS
There are a lot of manufacturers marketing green products right now. But just how many of them are really “selling” green products? That can be a difficult question to answer. To help you determine whether a manufacturer’s claims are fact vs. fiction, you need to be savvy enough to know what to ask. The good news is that you don’t have to compromise performance in order to be environmentally friendly. If you’re ready to make a major commitment to environmentally friendly purchasing, then get ready to roll up your sleeves, do some research, and start asking the tough questions. Review the questions at right and evaluate which are more of a priority for your company; attribute more value to those responses. Remember – it’s not easy being green.How much recycled content (post industrial and post consumer) does the product contain?Is the disposal of the product after its useful life harmful to the environment? Will it break down safely in a landfill or can it be recycled?How is the product transported and packaged? Is it made of rapidly renewable materials?Does the product use water and energy efficiently or reduce the amount needed? Does the product generate energy?Will the installation require the use of adhesives or other materials that will off-gas and emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air?Does the product minimize the creation of waste?Is the product sustainable and durable enough to have a long life, lessening the frequency of disposal?Is the product manufactured with environmentally sensitive processes?Can the supplier provide a cost benefit or life-cycle cost analysis?

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