Selecting products from green manufacturers
can lower the environmental impacts of a building and create a healthier indoor
environment for the building occupants. Green manufacturers are companies that
select optimal ingredients to minimize hazards to human health, and
manufacturing processes that minimize harm to the environment.
Changes to the LEED rating system were
introduced and spurred a shift in the building product and materials
marketplace, encouraging environmental responsibility and transparency.
Canadian Manufacturers that have embraced this shift are able to contribute to
LEED credits, and are experiencing the benefits of enhancing their supply chain
and manufacturing processes.
By conducting third party life-cycle
assessments, green manufacturers are able to demonstrate that their product is
a healthier choice to use in a building project. Organizations such as the Health
Product Collaborative, Green Screen and Cradle to Cradle conduct these
assessments and grant a certificate based on the declared criteria. Serving as
a "nutrition label” for a product, these certificates have an expiry date,
allowing the product to undergo re-certification as standards improve.
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
demonstrates the sustainability of a product throughout the supply chain and
the environmental impacts, including carbon footprint and energy usage. This
information is vital to buyers looking to make informed decisions about the
products they are selecting.
Manufacturers engaged in these transparency
practices should connect with the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), the
sole licensee and administrator of the LEED rating system in Canada. Companies
in the Canadian marketplace leverage their CaGBC membership to gain visibility
among green building professionals who are specifying environmentally friendly
product. Resources such as the Manufacturer page and LEED v4 Product Profiles
have manufacturers in mind, and their relationships with project teams.
The move towards zero carbon buildings is also
gaining momentum and the CaGBC is supporting this demand with a Zero Carbon
Building Standard. This building standard not only encompasses net zero energy
use, but also addresses the embodied carbon of a building, recognizing the
importance of building material lifecycle impacts. Manufacturers looking to
contribute to zero carbon buildings will need to meet the requirements outlined
in LEED v4.
Green manufacturers are contributing to the
changing landscape of the built environment in Canada by assuring that health
and the environment are at the heart of building products installed in building
that share the same intent. For more information about the benefits of healthy
buildings and impacts of green building in Canada, visit www.cagbc.org/advocacy.