Green Materials to Improve Air Quality, Conservation and Energy Efficiency

From on September 07, 2007 in Green Remodeling

green building materialsWithin the Criteria for Green Building Material, we reviewed the selection criteria for green building materials and products. Our next part addresses the other issues that are important considerations in selecting green building materials: indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water conservation and affordability.

There are six criteria in the area of indoor air quality (IAQ) that building materials must meet in order to be considered green. Materials must:

  • Be low in toxicity or non-toxic, which means they must emit few or no carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, or irritants. The manufacturer must have demonstrated these low or non-existent levels in appropriate tests.
  • Emit minimal volatile organic compounds (VOC) and must maximize resource and energy efficiency.
  • Not emit VOCs when being installed.
  • Be resistant to moisture to inhibit growth of biological contaminants.
  • Not emit VOCs during cleaning.
  • Promote healthy indoor air quality by identifying indoor air pollutants or by enhancing air quality.

Energy efficiency should be maximized by using materials and systems that help reduce energy consumption. (See Green Building Basics for more information.)

Water Conservation is achieved by utilizing materials and systems that reduce water consumption in buildings and conserve water in landscaping. (See Green Building Basics for more information.)

Affordability is achieved in building product life-cycle costs, as described here.

While these are all the criteria developed for the State of California, CalFinder is presenting them to you as an introduction to Green or Sustainable Building Criteria only. If you are not located in California, your state’s criteria may not be exactly the same. You may wish to request copies of the local and state standards if you wish to be in compliance with Green Building techniques in your own municipality.