Materials selection elevates buildings

By CaGBC

A healthy building is made of healthy building blocks. Using sustainable materials that comply with building codes today – and those decades in the future – really help a project stand out.

Over the last decade the building sector has been redefined by innovations in building materials and an increased interest for materials transparency. Occupants are concerned about their exposure to the chemical components of the building materials; owners want to understand what materials are present in their building; and designers and architects are no longer content to simply specify a product without understanding the holistic attributes of that product. Where design and budget constraints traditionally determined materials selection, now a growing awareness and interest in sustainability is driving new behaviours.

Increasingly, manufacturers are offering more sustainable, durable, and resilient materials. By pursuing the highest sustainability standards, manufacturers are diversifying their products with greener alternatives to classic building materials. As a result, more project teams are able to earn credits towards certification for rating systems and standards such Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) or CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard®.

Today, architects and project teams can access detailed information about building materials and products. This allows them to weigh their options against the building’s sustainability goals and keep LEED Building Product Disclosure and Optimization (BPDO) credits in sight. Information like that included in Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) or Heath Product Declarations (HPDs) provides full disclosure of any potential areas of concern in a product, helping projects limit potential negative impacts on the environment and building occupant health.

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