Put your money where your mouth is and invest in sustainable products that are not harmful to the environment. It may take a little detective work, but once you’ve established a set of criteria, creating guidelines and implementing procedures for the procurement of earth-friendly products will be easier than you think. Keep the following basics in mind when putting together a policy for your facilities:• Define what green procurement means. According to Executive Order 13101, environmentally preferable purchasing is defined as investing in “products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.”• Minimal transportation equals less vehicle emissions. Resurrect the ’60s mantra “Think globally. Act Locally.” and purchase products from area providers when possible. • Specify products that are made of rapidly renewable materials. Flooring made of bamboo, furniture made of wheatgrass, and cotton batt insulation are a few examples.• Inquire about companies actively involved in responsible forest management practices, and select wood-based products harvested from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (www.fscoax.org).• Purchase products that contain post-consumer and/or post-industrial recycled content.• Purchase products that will either break down safely in a landfill or can be recycled (preferably in a closed-loop process) after their useful life.• Avoid purchasing products that generate pollutants during manufacture and volatile organic compounds during installation.• Quality products have a longer life-cycle, can sustain more wear and tear, and will not need to be disposed of or replaced as frequently – consider life-cycle costs vs. first cost. Leasing options are another opportunity to limit the amount of waste going to the landfill.• Avoid purchasing products and/or systems that contain ozone-depleting substances and discontinue or avoid HVAC systems that use CFC-based refrigerants.For additional guidance on building a policy on purchasing earth-friendly products, research similar programs being implemented by the U.S. government. The General Services Administration’s Affirmative Procurement Program targets products and services that 1) contain recycled content, 2) are environmentally preferable, and 3) are listed by the USDA for their biobased material content.Continue Article >> Step 3) Investigate Ways to Increase Energy EfficiencySOURCES: Governor’s Green Government Council, The State of Pennsylvania (www.gggc.state.pa.us); U.S. Green Building Council, LEED Rating System 2.0; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov); U.S. General Services Administration (www.gsa.gov).