Promoting Transparency with ‘Nutritional Labels’ for Building Materials

Posted on Jan 3, 2012 by Theresa Lehman

Would you buy or lease a vehicle without looking at the label on the window? Is fuel-efficiency one of the things you consider when purchasing a vehicle? Or would you rather be “surprised” by the gas mileage?

Let me ask you this, do you buy food without looking at the product label?

Can you imagine the different choices people would make buying or leasing buildings if they had transparent labels on them? Knowing that people spend 90% of their time indoors and essentially are products of their environment, would people choose to buy or lease facilities that are unhealthy for people or harmful to the environment? How about buildings that are not properly ventilated, causing respiratory-related illnesses? What about the ones that are constructed of products made out of chemicals that off-gas carcinogens? How about those that consume a ton of energy and water and offer no control over their operational costs?

That’s a lot of questions.

Building and product labels are an excellent way to promote transparency and educate consumers. I think we’ll see critics citing these new labels as an excellent way to compare buildings and their products. These types of labels will work to enable consumers to be savvy buyers who make well-informed and educated decisions.

Learn more about ‘nutritional labels’ for building materials.

About Theresa Lehman

Dedicating her entire career to sustainable practice, Theresa has worked on more than 70 projects seeking LEED® certification utilizing the LEED®-NC, LEED®-CI, LEED®-CS, LEED®-EBOM, and LEED® for Schools green building rating systems. She has successfully certified projects that have earned LEED® certification at all four award levels including: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Her portfolio of LEED® projects includes many “Wisconsin firsts” such as the first State of Wisconsin LEED® certified project, the first healthcare facility, the first LEED®-EBOM Schools, the first LEED® for Schools project and the first zero-net energy / carbon neutral project–the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center–the “greenest building on the planet” according to Rick Fedrizzi, former President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council.

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