Environmental Sustainability and Healthy Buildings
Sustainability has become a large factor in most aspects of modern life, including the commercial building industry. It is important to understand the long-term effects and impact products and materials have on our environment. Intricately related to public health and safety, improving sustainability goals is more prevalent now than ever before.
Green building standards and ratings, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, Living Building Challenge (LBC), Red List Free certification, Declare Label, and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), promote human and environmental health. This is accomplished through sustainably healthy buildings and reducing the overall environmental impact of building materials. Regulations and guidelines continue to evolve with innovative advancements in science and technology, along with our understanding of the positive and negative effects materials, chemicals, and other+ elements have on human and environmental health.
Your building project can earn credits toward green building certifications by meeting the guidelines listed below.
Do your building materials meet the recycled content, environmental standards, and guidelines listed below?
Use the following checklist to determine if the building materials you are using meet environmentally healthy building standards and regulations.
Environmentally Healthy Building Checklist:
Certified Halogen/Bromine-Free Materials
Halogen/Bromine-based fire-retardants are considered organohalogen compounds. Organohalogen compounds consist of at least one halogen (fluorine (F), chlorine (CI), bromine (Br), or iodine (I)) bonded with carbon. These compounds are known to have the potential to be toxic, persistent, bio-accumulative and/or leachable into the environment throughout their lifespan. This risk is ongoing during all stages of a product’s life cycle including from building to the landfill.
Products containing Halogen/Bromine-based fire-retardants release highly toxic dioxins and furans into the environment when burning. Many building owners, architects, and fire inspectors, along with local, national, and international regulations have sharply restricted or eliminated the use of these harmful flame retardants.
The Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List Free Certification
The Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List represents materials and chemicals, often found in the building industry, which are known and proven to cause harm to overall human and environmental health. The LBC Red List was created by The International Living Future Institute (ILFI), a non-profit working toward restoring our environment and ecosystem to healthy standards. The Red List is regularly reviewed and updated to stay relevant with technology and the building material industry.
To qualify as Red List Free, manufacturers are required to disclose 100 percent of their product’s ingredients and must not contain any Red List chemicals at or above 100ppm or 0.01 percent. By practicing complete transparency of what materials, chemicals, and elements are in a product, a manufacturer can earn Red List Free certification.
The ILFI’s goal is to phase out and eliminate the use of these harmful materials and chemicals to create a more sustainable and healthier ecosystem for future generations. To achieve sustainability, it is imperative that manufacturers do not use harmful materials, chemicals, and elements. Have you checked the elements of your building materials to ensure they are not causing harm to human and environmental health?
Declare is a product labeling program that assists manufacturers and specifiers with identifying materials in the marketplace by providing three key points. These key points include: (1) where a product comes from, (2) what a product is made of, and (3) where a product goes at the end of its life. Relying on the LBC Red List as its primary basis for material evaluation, Declare Label supports the catalyst for change within the material industry by pushing for healthy buildings.
A Declare Label discloses the following information about a product or material:
- Final assembly locations
- Embodied carbons
- End-of-life options (salvageable or re-usable)
- Ingredients by component
- LBC temporary exceptions
- Declare identifier (valid for 12 months)
- Original issue date
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Type III (Product Specific)
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) offers complete transparency of the environmental impact throughout the entire life cycle of a product. Testing is carried out through a life cycle assessment (LCA) to identify the overall environmental performance of a product.
EPDs showcase a manufacturer’s dedication to sustainability through healthy building materials. An EPD is thoroughly tested and verified before being registered to the International EPD System database. The EPD database helps builders and developers identify products to use to create a healthy building.
LEED Certification Recycled Content Requirements
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification credit 4.1 (1 point) requires building materials to contain a minimum of 25% in aggregate, a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content material, or a minimum of 40% post-industrial recycled content material.
Recycled content refers to materials within a product that are repurposed and diverted from the landfill. Utilizing products consist of recycled contents contribute to green building and environmental sustainability. Are your building materials recyclable?
Best Practice Solution: SMARTci Systems & GreenGirt Sub-Framing
SMARTci continuous insulation systems and GreenGirt z-girt sub-framing offers the best practice solution for your healthy building project. Our products meet or exceed environmental building standards and regulations set forth by the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List Free certification, Declare Label, LEED certification and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Utilizing 25% post-consumer recycled content, the SMARTci Systems and GreenGirt z-girt sub-framing products can be reused and/or repurposed. Superior to steel structurally and thermally, SMARTci Systems and GreenGirt meet and exceed the criteria set forth by these standards and guidelines contributing to the overall health of buildings, the environment, and the entire population.
Learn more on how SMARTci™ continuous insulation systems meet and exceed environmental standards and guidelines.
Download the Environmentally Healthy Building Checklist.
Download The Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List.
Download information about the Declare Label System and products.
Find an A2P Representative in your area for more information about our SMARTci™ and GreenGirt® sub-frame systems.