What’s in a Name?

Categories:
What’s in a Name?

Environmental ratings and certifications are international programs that have established sustainability and efficiency standards for buildings and products. Here are a few to know:

Cradle-to-cradle
Cradle-to-cradle is a certification system, established by architect William McDonough, which evaluates products by measuring positive impacts on the environment, human health and social equity. The term is also a philosophy based on the idea that products should be designed so that when they are no longer useful, they provide fuel for new products or natural cycles, eliminating waste. www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm

ENERGY STAR
The ENERGY STAR program, managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), has proven to be an effective tool in helping consumers choose energy-efficient products for their homes—preserving natural resources and lessening greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reducing consumers’ energy bills. ENERGY STAR labels can be found on appliances, televisions, heating and cooling equipment, electronics and even new homes. A product or home with the ENERGY STAR label means that it meets efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and DOE. With the use of ENERGY STAR-certified appliances, homes, and non-residential buildings, Americans saved 150 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2005, or 4 percent of the national electricity demand. They also reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the amount generated every year by approximately 23 million gasoline-powered cars. Energy-efficient consumers also save money; ENERGY STAR households have been found to save up to 20 percent annually on their energy bills. www.energystar.gov

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
The FSC is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes voluntary third party certification of sustainably managed forests. FSC “certifiers” evaluate forests based on management practices in three areas: sustainable harvest ecosystem health, and community benefits. Scientists and foresters examine and measure the impact of forest practices on wildlife and their habitat, water quality, soil and plant conservation, natural forest sustainability and biodiversity, visual aesthetics, and the total ecological integrity of the forest. The FSC logo on a provides consumers with an assurance that the wood they use comes from forests managed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. www.fscus.org

GREENGUARD Certification Standards for Low Emitting Products for the Indoor Environment
The Greenguard Environmental Institute (GEI) is a non-profit organization that has established performance-based standards to identify the emission levels of products typically used inside the home. During the testing process, products are placed in a sealed chamber through which purified air is poured. The resulting exhaust is then tested for various pollutants including formaldehyde, volatile organic chemicals, respirable particles and carbon monoxide. If the emissions levels are below a certain point, products can qualify for Greenguard certification. Products that can be tested include building materials, furniture, cleaning and maintenance products, electronic equipment and personal care products. www.greenguard.org

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System
LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as a voluntary national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED recognizes achievements and promotes expertise in green building through a comprehensive system offering project certification, professional accreditation, training and practical resources. www.usgbc.org

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
The NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines are designed to move environmentally friendly home building concepts further into the mainstream marketplace. Using these model guidelines, local home builder associations create voluntary programs that include fundamental green building principles, which reflect local geographic conditions or preferences. The guidelines’ six main topic areas include lot preparation and design, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency and conservation, occupant comfort and indoor environmental quality. www.nahb.org/gbg

Rainforest Alliance Certification
Rainforest Alliance certification is a process that promotes and guarantees improvements in agriculture, forestry and travel. Goods and services with their certification are ensured to have been produced in compliance with guidelines created to protect the environment, wildlife,workers and local communities. www.rainforest-alliance.org
    
Compiled using information from the U.S. Green Building Council and the National Building Museum

Related Posts
  • Home with upper and lower deck
  • Engineered Solution - Wall showing stair step crack
  • Artisan Custom Closets promo
  • Kids sitting in backyard on lush grass
  • NARI Atlanta - Insured, Licensed, Ethical Contractors
  • Great Dame spilled water on water-resistant laminate flooring
  • Artisan Custom Closets promo
  • Engineered Solution - Wall showing stair step crack
  • Home with upper and lower deck
  • Great Dame spilled water on water-resistant laminate flooring
  • NARI Atlanta - Insured, Licensed, Ethical Contractors
  • Kids sitting in backyard on lush grass