Cradle-to-Grave – is that product you want to buy really green?

In trying to find environmentally preferable products that meet the standards of LEED. One of my priorites in this project is find “green” products that meet the cradle to grave lifecycle assessment.

Cradle-to-grave is the full Life Cycle Assessment from manufacture (‘cradle’) to use phase and disposal phase (‘grave’).

Cradle-to-gate is an assessment of a product life cycle from manufacture (‘cradle’) to the factory gate (i.e., before it is transported to the consumer). The use phase and disposal phase of the product are usually omitted. Cradle-to-gate assessments are sometimes the basis for environmental product declarations (EPD).

Cradle-to-cradle is a specific kind of cradle-to-grave assessment, where the end-of-life disposal step for the product is a recycling process. From the recycling process originate new, identical products (e.g., glass bottles from collected glass bottles), or different products (e.g., glass wool insulation from collected glass bottles).

Gate-to-Gate is a partial LCA looking at only one value-added process in the entire production chain.

My researching led me to Green Seal. According to their website,  ” Founded in 1989, Green Seal provides science-based environmental certification standards that are credible, transparent, and essential in an increasingly educated and competitive marketplace. Our industry knowledge and standards help manufacturers, purchasers, and end users alike make responsible choices that positively impact business behavior and improve quality of life.”

I’m most impressed with Greenguard “The mission of GREENGUARDEnvironmental Institute (GEI) is to improve public health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air.  In accordance with that mission, GEI currently has three third-party certification programs.” They have Greenguard for Indoor Air Quality, Greenguard for schools and Greenguard for new construction. We’ve been using the latter for the materials for Green Life Smart Life and it has helped keep our time efficient and our information accurate.

Other ones I’ve come across include Green2Green is a free resource that allows building professionals to compare green building products side-by-side on basic characteristics, environmental attributes and performance.

None of then do something the others do so you need information from multiple places. When you look at manufacturer data sheets, their way of rating their products has become about telling you how many points you can get by using one product in house. I found a door at GreenBuild that could get me 6 points.

I need to go to take a green shower.

KDL | follow my nightly ramblings on Twitter: newscaster


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