Building Material Evaluations

 

 

In designing a building project for minimal environmental impact it is critical to consider entire building systems, especially when selecting materials. Different material selections will impact other choices such as insulation needs, wiring plans, and fixture installation. It is rarely possible to substitute materials without having to make other adjustments as well.

 

 

Tools  for  Evaluating  Materials

 

Selecting the right materials for a project can be very challenging especially if you want an environmentally-responsible material. Below are some helpful steps in evaluating the environmental impacts of materials.

 

  • Define criteria of importance (ie. local material, low CO2 emissions, low embodied energy, is the material finite or renewable?)
  • Begin researching a variety of materials/products
  • Research LCA (if available) for the given material
  • Research other environmental impact assessment reports
  • Select a material based on your research findings and priorities

 

 

Building Material Evaluation Reports

 

A great deal of research has been done on the environmental impacts of different materials. Below are reports that summarize information about the environmental impacts and comparisons of different materials.

 

Wood

 

 

Bamboo

 

 

Cement

 

 

Vinyl Siding

 

 

Steel