Greener Product – a green building resource

One of the most challenging things about working on a LEED or other green building project can be sourcing materials and specifying products that will not only gain points in a certification program but also represent the level of sustainability desired.  If there are limited LEED experts in a given area, that challenge only grows for builders, architects, homeowners and contractors.  That’s why when I first stumbled across Greener Product, I thought it was a perfect solution for these resource problems.   Greener Product’s online provides architects, builders and the public a quick and easy online platform for searching and evaluating “green” products according to the Internationally recognized United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

The database can search by location and determine if the product meets the 500 miles radius requirement that LEED often provides for products used in a project. It will also give the user a checklist of the products in each search, letting them know if the product has recycled content, low VOCs, certified wood and if it’s rapidly renewable.  Maybe one of the most useful features, Greener Product shows the number of points that can be achieved by using a product.

From the Greener Product website:

Greener Product, LLC identified this problem and over the past year has developed a “game changing” web based platform designed specifically for LEED AP’s, architects and builders to identify green building products. This free service platform allows for the building specifiers to quickly search for green building products and then once identified evaluate those product against the LEED standards.

The online service is a platform for manufacturers to “tell their green story” directly to the largest group of American building specifiers. The products are registered on the Greener Product, LLC web site and presented to the LEED community for final consideration. Then the products are evaluated (against the LEED standards) and  the information is prepared in a report supported by copies of independent 3rd party certificates (FSC, CARB, Greenguard, Blue Angel, etc), laboratory testing reports, product environmental attributes, LEED credit and inserted into a comprehensive report ready for submission into the architects project file.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

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Green Life Smart Life Founder On Panel At Greener Gadgets Conference

Kimberly Lancaster, Founder of the Green Life Smart Life (GLSL) project, will be a speaker at this year’s Greener Gadget’s Conference on Feb. 25th in New York City.  Speaking on the “Green Living Begins at Home” panel, she and four other industry experts will discuss sustainable design strategies and tips for creating plans for a home that is both high-tech and green.

The GLSL project was designed to demonstrate the implementation of green building techniques and smart home technologies to achieve LEED® for Homes certification. Not only did the project achieve LEED® for Homes certification, but was rated by the US Green Building Council as Gold certified. The Narragansett, RI 4529 sq/ft home scored 92.5 out of 136 points and is the first LEED-H Gold home in RI and only the second completed LEED-H project in the entire state.

“Every day we make choices about what we are going to reuse, recharge and recycle in our home. By being aware of the impact of the choices you make, whether it is the amount of energy a device consumes or where it ends up at end of life, we can all minimize our environmental footprint,” stated Lancaster.

Lancaster is also the founder of Caster Communications, a full service public relations firm specializing in consumer electronics, clean technology and sustainable design. Caster Communications was the development and marketing team for the Green Life Smart Life project.

The Greener Gadgets Conference, sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) will cover issues on energy efficiency and sustainable design, along with innovative advances in packaging and product manufacturing to end-of-life recycling solutions. It will emphasize ways in which electronics make a major impact by utilizing renewable energy in developing nations.

GREENER PRODUCT approves 3rd party certifications for green building products

NEWS RELEASE

GREENER PRODUCT approves 3rd party certifications for green building products

CHARLESTON, SC – January 20, 2009 – According to a recent published report by the BBMG Conscious Consumer Report: Redefining Value in a New Economy nearly one in four U.S. consumers (23%) say they have “no way of knowing” if a product is green or actually does what it claims, signaling a lack of confidence in green marketing and revealing a widespread “green trust gap,”.

“There is a lot of green-washing in sustainable building today” according to Peter Rundle, Greener Product LLC. “As architects, designers and contractors develop more LEED certified buildings there is a growing need for an easy, fast and inexpensive method to find qualified “green” building products manufactured by environmentally responsible producers. We believe the Greener Product search engine provides a solution” stated Rundle.

The Greener Product platform utilizes the most successful method ever developed to connect the manufacturer directly to the end buyer. The recently introduced search tool, powered by the Greener Product proprietary software is an online service that allows building product manufacturers to “tell their green story” directly to 100,000 LEED APs, 200,000 architects and 5,000 of the most influential architectural companies. “Manufacturers can easily demonstrate how their products contribute to a green building project, help in providing valuable environmental answers and make it easy for their sales force to more clearly define their commitment to green building and customer service” stated Mr. Rundle.

Approved 3rd Party Certifications for LEED and NAHB rating standards

Forest Stewardship Council – FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. Established in 1993 as a response to concerns over global deforestation, FSC is widely regarded as one of the most important initiatives of the last decade to promote responsible forest management worldwide.

Sustainable Forest Initiative – SFI Inc. is an independent, non-profit organization responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving a sustainable forestry certification program that is internationally recognized and is the largest single forest standard in the world.

Green Guard Institute – The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is an industry-independent, non-profit organization that oversees the GREENGUARD Certification Program SM. As an ANSI Authorized Standards Developer, GEI establishes acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments, and buildings.

Blue Angel – Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2008, The Blue Angel is the first and oldest environmental label for products and services in the world. Since 1978 it has set the standard for eco-friendly products and services selected by an independent jury and approved by the German Government. This standard requires that the product contains no carcinogenic or halogenated organic compounds, no presence organic compounds or formaldehyde, and a low-level of hazardous flame-retardants and moth repellents

Scientific Certification Systems – SCS is a global leader in independent certification of environmental, sustainability, food quality and food purity claims. Over two decades, SCS has developed internationally recognized standards and certification programs aimed at spurring the highest level of environmental improvements, social accountability and product performance.

Composite Panel Association Testing and Certification Center – CPA was the first Third Party Certifier (TPC) in the world to be approved by CARB. Since May 14, 2008, CPA has been certifying manufacturers to the CARB rule. CPA is now certifying North American manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, and hardwood plywood for CARB.

NSF International – NSF is one of the most widely-respected and recognized global third-party certification providers. As such, NSF is uniquely qualified to evaluate your products and systems.

Floor Score – The FloorScore® program, developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), tests and certifies flooring products for compliance with indoor air quality emission requirements adopted nation-wide.

Green Label – In 1992, CRI launched its Green Label program to test carpet, cushions and adhesives to help specifiers identify products with very low emissions of VOCs. CRI has recently launched its next series of improvements called Green Label Plus for carpet and adhesives.

About Greener Product LLC

Greener Product has developed the world’s first online platform that creates a marketplace for the analysis of green building materials. Greener Product, LLC provides architects, builders and the public a quick and easy online platform for searching and evaluating “green” products according to the internationally recognized United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) rating standards.

For further information please contact

Greener Product Team

info@greenerproduct.com

Tel: 843 576 0112 x 121

http://www.greenerproduct.com

Show Wrap-Up: GreenBuild 2009

Having finally landed in one piece (mostly) on the East Coast after a whirlwind week of traveling to Opportunity Green in Los Angeles and GreenBuild 2009 in Phoenix, I am just now gathering my thoughts and notes from the shows.  I have to say, GreenBuild proved not only to be the best green event I’ve been to all year, but the best overall trade show I attended in 2009.  Most of the sessions were informative and interesting and despite some of the greenwashing from some of the manufacturers on the floor, I met a decent amount of folks with innovative, unique products and services for the green building industry.

The US Green Building Council reported a total of 28,000 attendees showing up for the 4-day long event which is impressive for a green event, even more impressive given the current economic climate.  I can say that the Phoenix Convention Center did seem packed although the separate exhibit halls (an inside source told me they weren’t allowed to call them the “main hall” and the “upper level hall” because exhibitors in the smaller hall were getting upset) weren’t too crowded.

Highlights:

Opening Plenary Celebration

The USGBC proved they know how to throw a good party.  The show opened with a night long celebration at Chase Field complete with catered food, drinks and special guest speaker Al Gore followed by a killer concert given by Sheryl Crow.  The bar even featured organic beer and wine, including Bonterra Chardonnay, one of my favorites.  Kudos on good taste!  The opening speech was given by USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi who was inspirational and clearly excited.  “Welcome to all 28,000 of you who didn’t get the memo that we’re in the worst economic recession of all since the 1930s,” Fedrizzi said to loud applause. “Good for you, you’re not buying into it.

Al Gore impressed as always, interjecting self-deprecating humor into a very informative and touching talk about our choices towards survival or devastation.  Gore pointed out that right now, in 2009, we have all the tools we need to solve the climate crisis.  So the question isn’t how but when and who.  I spent most of the speech wondering where this vibrant, inspirational man was during the 2000 election.  But anyway.

(Side note: There were a few protesters outside the opening plenary event with signs directed at Mr. Gore.  One of them said “GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH TO MAKE MONEY.”  Really?  REALLY?  Someone needs to get you a computer and access to The Google.  You’re missing some information, kiddo.)

Offsets in the Form of Foot in Mouth

I like to play the critic at green shows, mostly because I work in communications and tend to scrutinize a bit closer than most what message it is you are trying to get across – and of course how accurate it may be.  However, I went maybe a bit too far when I stepped into the Renewable Choice Energy booth and declared, I don’t believe in carbon offsets!  Turns out (heh), the fine folks at Renewable Energy Choice sell carbon offsets to companies looking to reduce their footprint.  Oops.  Well, I still stand by that statement but I certainly felt a little bad about stating it so fervently in front of them.  They were great, though, very nice guys and proceeded to explain that they don’t simply sell the offsets, they work with companies to find ways to reduce their output altogether and then help mitigate things they cannot avoid with offsets.

Well, ok. That I can buy into, a bit.  One of the guys pretty much disagreed with me entirely when I said it was more about encouraging bad behavior and less about saving the environment.  Yes, but who cares where and how the good comes from?  If they don’t really want to save the world but we can convince them to do so anyway, without really thinking they are, then who cares? Not a bad point.  I could still launch into a whole theory on systemic behavior and how it never changes if you just make it less reprehensible, that people literally have to be guilted into change, but NEVERMIND.  I am sure they are GREAT at their jobs (honestly) and I am even going to write a blog post about their wind offsets for every cell phone in the US.  Look for it soon.

Pretty, oh so pretty products

I don’t own a home.  Yet.  This is the key word.  It has become a front of mind purchase for me these days and while I watch my best friend and her husband complete their dream home, I cannot help but daydream about the day I can design mine.  (Or rather, have her do it for me and drink wine on the couch.  Either way).  But there were many products at the show that were not only sustainable and eco-friendly but just downright gorgeous.  IceStone, a favorite of mine since the minute I saw it, is simply beautiful.  Durable surfaces made from 100% recycled glass and cement, IceStone looks a bit like granite but in my opinion, is brighter and sleeker.

The other product that I thought was stunning was Alumillenium, a company that creates distinctive and luxurious metal tiles from 100% recycled metal.  I not only thought their tiles were gorgeous but they have very cool branding which for a marketing communications geek is a total bonus.

I have a whole section for “un-highlights” if you will, so stay tuned for GreenBuild: Some Things That Were a Total Fail soon.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

Andersen Helps Conserve Natural Resources Through Increased Use of Fibrex® Material

Andersen%20WindowAndersen Corporation, a durable goods manufacturer for over one hundred years and the leading brand of windows and doors, continues its commitment to environmental efforts through increased use of Fibrex® material. Fibrex material is the company’s patented, highly sustainable structural composite that blends the best attributes of thermoplastics and bio-fibers – much of it reclaimed directly from the company’s manufacturing plant operations.

Andersen began producing windows made from wood in 1903, and in 1966 introduced vinyl cladding to help reduce maintenance and increase durability. After decades of experience with these two materials, the company introduced Fibrex® material in 1994. It combines the strength and stability of wood with the low-maintenance features of vinyl.

Fibrex material not only reduces the company’s need for raw timber, but reclaims much of its wood wastestream, as well. It provides an efficient use of embodied energy in the reclaimed wood fiber and helps reduce volatile organic compound emissions, since no wood preservative treatment or painting is required. Additionally, converted Fibrex material can be reclaimed and reprocessed into new components. Andersen has saved hundreds of thousands of board feet of lumber since its introduction.

Wood is an important and renewable material that we’ve used in our products for more than 100 years,” said Shawn Aherns, product marketing manager at Andersen. “Combined with our preference to certified wood supplies, Fibrex material allows us to conserve natural resources and strive for continuous improvement of our environmental performance.”

Andersen uses Fibrex® material in the construction of many of its products including its Woodwright® double-hung windows, Renewal by Andersen® replacement windows, 200 Series basement windows and sill components for windows and patio doors.

Independent testing has found that the material has a low thermal expansion and contraction rate, is resistant to rotting and termites, and retains its rigidity and stability in high temperatures.

The design flexibility of Fibrex material allows us to research exciting product possibilities and applications,” said Aherns.

The Andersen® brand is the most recognized and most used brand in the window and patio door industry. For a local dealer, more information or a copy of the Andersen limited warranty, visit www.andersenwindows.com, or call 1-800-426-4261.

Electrical wiring considerations in a LEED project

If you’re building a green home, there’s one subcontractor that is going to have a harder time adopting green building methods than the others, and that is your electrician.

Why you may ask?

These guys are generally old school, the young guys who work for them, they learned the old school way. That means wires everywhere, overrun everything just in case and to cover the electrical code and challenging inspectors. They’re also used to homeowners (wives in particular, not that I am ackowledging my issues) who change their mind on the locations of fixtures.

But having just gone through this process, and working with an old school electrician guided by my young, eco consciuos electrical systems contractor (ESC), I’ve learned you must always work with subs who share your vision because if you don’t your project will never quite come out the way you intended.

For electricians who find themselves working on a green building project there are a number of areas we’re they can approach jobs from different perspective:

  1. Layout: Establish your pathways as far ahead of actual construction as you can. In a green home, chances are your client will be thinking about these things further out, since every amount and type of material used in the home can positively or negatively impact its LEED® for Homes (or competitive equivalent) rating. Planning for everything from lighting to appliance to equipment ahead of time can shorten wire runs, material usage, and time on a job.
  2. Materials: Wire for present day code and wiring needs, but run conduit for future proofing especially in homes or projects that are getting spray foam insulation.  Plan your wire runs so you aren’t left with extra wire that will be wasted in a back room, just to be tossed becaase wire is one of the least most recylable materials on a job.
  3. Lighting specs: get up to date on today’s lighting – from dimmable LEDs to new ballasted CFLs, there are lighting products that can save your customers energy and money, and may even increase you profit line on materials.
  4. Lighting Control: Be at the forefront of a hot industry. Lighting control systems require an electrician for installation and wiring, get certified, companies like Lutron and Control4 have certification programs that can bring lighting control into your business – again an opportunity for profit for you and energy savings for your customers.

Last tips, be clean. Electricians are notoriusly messy on jobs and leave behind the plethora of carboard, wire cuts, shredded peels and anchor nails wherever they may fall. Getting these scraps into the proper recycling containers means your contributing to the waste management program on the project.

The way I see it, this isn’t just about electricians opening their eyes to whole new practices but evolving, as the rest of have, into an era of responsibility and competition.

Time to step up.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter : newscaster

The growth of green building, why ESC’s should care

Even in today’s unstable housing market, demand is growing for green and eco-conscious homes. More than 97,000 homes nationwide have been built and certified by voluntary green building programs since the mid-1990s, according to the National Association of Home Builders, representing a 50 percent increase from NAHB’s 2004 survey. Further, more than half of NAHB’s 235,000 members (representing about 80 percent of homebuilders) reported that they expect to employ at least some green building practices by the end of the year. There are more than 2,000 LEED Certified Projects and 4,000 NAHB Certified projects. With new technologies like energy monitoring and management systems emerging, as well as a growing number of ENERGY STAR and eco-conscious tech solutions available, more installers are going to be faced with installing such systems in green homes. With the February 2009 passing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, homeowners are receiving more tax incentives and rebates on both state and federal levels for installing energy saving or green systems in their homes. As these systems become more affordable and homeowners receive more financial incentives to install them, general contractors will look for sub-contractors who possess experience with green homes. Installing a green tech system can garner valuable LEED points for the homeowner. Of specific interest to custom integrators is that, trough the Innovation and Design (ID) category, energy monitoring and management systems can add LEED points to a home’s application.

Many of customers are thinking about the environment and their impact on it.

Today’s technology products can enhance a customer’s lifestyle; decreasing energy and water usage and increasing environmental sustainability. When integrated to function as part of a home control system operating throughout your home’s living and working spaces, product performance, as well as comfort and convenience, can be enhanced; greater gains in savings can be realized.

Home control systems can help reduce impact on our environment by providing you with local and remote access and control, as well as monitoring of major energy systems in your home, such as heating and cooling, lighting, hot water, your water use and even an entire home’s energy consumption.

Benefits include monitoring your home systems while at work or on travel; returning to a house that’s comfortably cool or warm; turning-off lights in empty rooms; and increasing hot water in anticipation of demand, while decreasing it off peak. Monitoring water use might even reveal problems; protecting a customer against a damaging water leak.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter : newscaster