The importance of choosing eco-friendly materials for a green build can’t be stressed enough. Eco-friendly materials reduce impact on human health and the environment over the entire life cycle of the building. Plenty of factors determine a material’s green factor, including renewability, efficiency, resource conservation, recyclability, and more. The below infographic, courtesy of BuildingGreen, gives an incredibly fresh perspective on the important factors that go into choosing sustainable materials — including some components that are often forgotten. It’s easy to get wrapped up in striving for perfection (and we’ve certainly seen some homes that live up to that standard!). But for the average homeowner, it’s unrealistic to try to do it all. These 12 rules for buying eco-friendly materials show that at the heart of the green building movement, there are some fundamental things to focus on first.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Buy the company, not the product – Invest in companies that put the planet first and are eco-friendly through and through, rather than buying products from companies that simply offer a few eco-friendly options.
  • Demand full disclosure – “If you don’t know what’s inside, don’t put it inside.” Know what’s in your materials – Even some paints with a No-VOC label can’t be trusted.
  • Close the loop – Don’t just focus on where the product came from, but also where it will go after demolition someday.
  • Let someone else do the work – Know that a robust resume of green-certified badges may be the best and easiest way to tell that a product is sustainably superior.
  • Don’t forget durability! – Sometimes it’s worth the bigger initial investment to choose durable and strong products that will last, to minimize future waste from maintenance and replacement.
  • Perfection is the enemy – Prioritize what matters most to you and don’t stress about the rest! You can’t do it all. Evaluate the best options and choose what’s preferable.

12 Rules for Buying Eco-Friendly Materials

eco-friendly building materials elemental green

BuildingGreen combines information with insight, convening conversations and generating knowledge to help building-industry professionals and policy makers improve the performance of buildings and reduce adverse environmental impacts.

The mission of BuildingGreen, Inc. is to facilitate transformation of the building industry into a force for local, regional and global environmental protection; for preservation and restoration of the natural environment; and for creation of healthy indoor environments.

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