What does ‘green’ mean, when you’re looking for products to build or remodel your house?
Sounds like a straightforward question.
The answer, unfortunately, is, “it depends.”
Does ‘green’ mean that a product is made from recycled materials? Or is it something that uses minimal non-renewable resources in its creation? Does it mean that the product is non-toxic? Are ‘green’ items only those that come entirely from post-consumer waste?
Is that low VOC paint you’re buying really healthy? Or has the manufacturer played a shell game and eliminated the chemicals that are defined by law as VOCs, and substituted in equally toxic chemicals that aren’t tracked – yet.
Are your recycled shingles really helping the environment by reusing a product that would otherwise go into a landfill? Or is the manufacturer adding a chemical that will run off the roof with the rainwater and cause endocrine disruption in fish and put ‘gender bending’ chemicals into our drinking water so that our children grow up infertile?
Andy Pace, the owner of Safe Building Solutions, has spent a considerable amount of thought, time and effort creating a new system that homeowners, remodellers, businesses, building contractors and the construction industry can use to help determine how ‘green’ products are that you use in construction or remodeling.
It’s called the “Degree of Green” (TM) Rating System, and it gives products three separate scores, one each for healthfulness, sustainability, and environmental impact. The system also tells you of any disadvantages a product has, looking at such things as a product’s availability, its price and the degree of technical expertise necessary to use it.
I’ve known Andy for many years. He is himself a distributor for several high quality lines of low-toxicity and environmentally safe products used in all kinds of building and remodelling. Andy doesn’t have any blinders on, however, when it comes to the strengths and limitations of the product lines he carries. He’ll tell you about the good, the bad and the ugly for each one of his products – and can give you an honest low-down on his competitors’ products as well. You won’t find a more honest or helpful businessman in the industry.
Go take a look at how the rating system works, and who it’s relying on for expertise. You can even see sample rating sheets to show you how it works.
It’s a terrific resource that we’ve needed for a long time, and my hat is off to Andy for coming up with it!
Degree of Green (TM) Rating System logo and image copyright (c) 2007, Safe Building Solutions, Waukesha, WI. All rights reserved. Used here by permission. Please do not reproduce or copy without the express permission of Safe Building Solutions.