Today, “green” building can mean many different things, but not all “green” labels are legitimate factors to consider. Part of what will drive decisions in one direction or another is defining for yourself how wide you want to cast the “green” net. For example, Thermally Improved Aluminum can seem to be a fairly poor choice if you limit your evaluation strictly to energy ratings (although the use of thermal barriers in aluminum framed windows vastly improves insulating ability) and energy consumption in the manufacturing process. If you widen your environmental evaluation to include factors such as the life expectancy of the product (50 years?) and local manufacturing compared to products manufactured in the Midwest and freighted across country or other options that may have better energy ratings, but include a high VOC (toxic) treatment, those factors, too, will impact the bottom-line environmental valuation. Along with energy-conscious consumers, builders and suppliers may want to consider several criteria when working with manufacturers – is the manufacturing process ISO 14001 compliant? Is the vendor an Energy Star Partner? Does the process utilize recycled materials for new manufacturing, thus saving raw materials and energy? These and other questions may warrant a closet look when considering a truly “green” approach to building and remodeling.
Some areas of consideration are:
Conservation of resources:
- Product Components
- Shipping Costs
- Toxicity of Products and Components
- SFI Certifications
- Restoration / Rejuvenation of Existing Materials