RESEARCH GUIDE: SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT CERTIFICATIONS
Find explanations of different types of U.S. and international green building standards, green product certifications, and green building rating and certification systems, with links to relevant codes, standards and organizations.
NSF International sustainability standards for building products and furnishings are multi-attribute, life-cycle based standards for commerical furniture, stone, carpet, wallcoverings, and commerical furnishings fabric.
Products with Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification do not use any substance on the C2C Banned List of Chemicals, and are rated in five categories: safe materials, continuous reclamation and re-use of materials, clean water, renewable energy, and social fairness.
Products with the ENERGY STAR label are independently certified to meet current ENERGY STAR standards. Standards are raised as technology improves, so an ENERGY STAR certification always indicates better-than-average energy efficiency.
An EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) is an independently verified document that details the life-cycle environmental impact of a product in a standard way that allows you to compare the eco-friendliness of products and materials. All EPDs are publically available and free to download.
In this 8-minute video, Arup engineer Frances Yang explains how to get what you need from environmental product declarations (EPDs).
Flooring products with the FloorScore® IAQ (indoor air quality) Certification are independently certified to meet California’s indoor air quality emission requirements.
Products with the FSC CoC label are independently certified to come from responsibly managed forests that meet environmental, ethical, and economic standards.
Products with the GreenCircle Certification are independently certified based on recycled content, design for the entire life cycle, renewable/bio-based resource content, and recyclability.
Carpet, cushions and adhesives with the Green Label Plus are third-party certified to meet stringent criteria for low emissions such as VOCs.
Products with the Green Seal® label are third-party certified to meet environmental standards specific to each product category (paints, adhesives, lamps, windows, etc.), throughout the life cycle of the product.
Tiles and tile installation materials with the Green Squared® certification are independently certified to meet certain standards in the areas of product characteristics, manufacturing, end of product life management, progressive corporate governance, and innovation, throughout the life cycle of the product.
GREENGUARD independently certified products are interior products and materials that have low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The GREENGUARD Gold standard requires testing for additional chemicals and lower total VOC emissions levels to ensure that products are acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities.
Furniture and building materials with the Indoor Advantage certification are independently certified to meet California’s indoor air quality emission requirements.
Furniture pieces with level® certification are independently certified to meet certain standards in the areas of material selection, energy usage and emissions, human and ecosystem health, and the company’s social responsibility.
SCS Global conducts third-party certifications for over 20 different building and interior product standards, including asthma & allergy friendly®, Biodegradable certification for cleaning and sanitation products, Certified Resilient Flooring, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Environmentally Preferable Products, FloorScore®, Formaldehyde Emissions Regulations for composite wood products, Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody (FSC CoC), Green Retail for retail operations plans, Green Squared® for tile and tile installation products, Health Product Declarations (HPDs), Indoor Air Quality Certification, Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) Certification, Lead Safe Paint®, level® certification for furniture, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Chain of Custody for wood and paper products, Recycled Content Certification, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Chain of Custody, Sustainable Carpet Certification, Sustainable Fabric Certification, and Zero Waste Certification
Products and services with the WaterSense label have been independently certified to be at least 20% more water efficient without sacrificing performance.
Interior building products with a ClearChem Self-Declaration of Product Conformity follow a standard format to make single-attribute claims about VOC emissions and VOC content of that product.
Declare labels are “nutrition labels’ for building products, with information about where the product is assembled, the life expectancy and end of life options for the product, and the raw materials that go into the product. Raw materials of concern are highlighted. Manufacturers have the option of seeking third-party verification of Declare label claims.
HPDs (Health Product Declarations) detail the material contents and potential health hazards of building products in a standard way that allows you to compare the eco-friendliness of products and materials. The HPD Collaborative provides the standard format and instructions to companies; each individual vendor is responsible for completing and publishing HPDs for their products.
The front of each board must be labeled with the name of the student(s) and with the year and semester completed
Each board should measure 16 x 20 inches, 20 x 30 inches, or 24 x 36 inches
by Maureen Mitton
Provides quick guidance on preparing sketches, renderings, plans, models, presentation boards, materials boards, and slideshows for design presentations
When your instructor doesn’t care how you cite as long as you do cite, make sure to include the information someone would need to find your source on their own. A citation for information about a product certification might look like this:
“Get Cradle to Cradle Certified.” Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. http://www.c2ccertified.org/get-certified/product-certification.
Cite It Where You Use It
Every time you use a quotation, a piece of information, or an image from another source, cite the source right where you use it, whether it’s on your project board or in your paper, job book or presentation.
Include enough information to allow your audience to figure out which source (from your complete list at the end) you’re citing. For example, if you use the Cradle to Cradle information in the example above, the citation on your board or presentation slide might be “Get Cradle to Cradle”.
Check out this tutorial on Citing Sources Informally for more guidelines and examples to informally cite every source you use - whether it’s a book, magazine, website, blog or video - and avoid plagiarism.
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