Certification Programs

With consumers more aware than ever of the environmental impact and health-
related issues surrounding conventional building products, demand has escalated
to the point where larger U.S. manufacturers are now jumping on the green bandwagon,
putting into production an array of environmentally friendly products. Yet, to cash in on
this escalating demand, many retailers and manufacturers "greenwash" their products,
making false claims of sustainability to generate new sales. To help prevent greenwashing,
and simplify compliance with green standards and guidelines, a number of organizations have
taken the lead in developing certification programs, including:

American Lung Association Health House: A collaborative effort of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and the American Lung Association national office to provide quality information for home builders and homeowners regarding home design, construction, renovation and operation with a focus on healthy indoor air quality.

BuildIt Green: This organization provides standards specifically applicable to California residential properties for design, construction, and operation of new high-performance green homes, as well as remodels of existing residential properties. The whole-building approach emphasizes performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.  Points are awarded to each project based on how many standards are met.

The Carpet and Rug Institute: The national trade association representing the carpet and rug industry. To make sure carpet cleaning products deliver expected results and to help customers identify those products, the CRI's Seal of Approval program tests solutions and equipment and certifies those that meet demanding performance standards.

Cradle to Cradle: Provides companies with a tangible, credible measure of achievement in environmentally-intelligent design, which means using environmentally safe and healthy materials; design for material reutilization, such as recycling or composting; the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency; efficient use of water, and maximum water quality associated with production; and instituting strategies for social responsibility. A Products can be certified as Silver, Gold or Platinum, or as a Technical/Biological Nutrient (available for homogeneous materials or less complex products).

Energy Star: Established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help protect the environment through certification of energy-efficient products and practices. Since its inception, the program has grown to encompass more than 35 product categories for the home, workplace, new home construction, and organizational energy management.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): An international organization that operates an Accreditation Program to promote responsible stewardship of the world's forests. The FSC product label allows consumers worldwide to recognize products that support the growth of responsible forest management worldwide.

GREENGUARD: An industry-independent, non-profit organization that oversees a certification program that establishes acceptable standards for indoor products, environments, and buildings. GREENGUARD currently has third-party certification programs for indoor air quality, interior building materials for schools, and mold prevention during building design, construction, and operations.

Green Seal: Provides science-based environmental certification standards to help manufacturers, purchasers, and end users make responsible choices that positively impact business behavior and improve quality of life. Hundreds of products and services from major companies such as 3M, Benjamin Moore, and Andersen Windows are certified to meet Green Seal standards.

Green-e: The nation's leading independent certification and verification program for renewable energy. The Green-e logo identifies superior, certified renewable energy options, and is used by businesses to communicate the purchase and / or generation of certified renewable energy.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™: Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, now the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. Promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Perkins+Will Precautionary List: Catalogues various chemicals and their known or suspected health effects, whether or not they been classified by regulatory entities as being detrimental to the health of humans and/or environment; suggests alternatives for undesireable ones.

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS): A leading third-party provider of certification, auditing, and testing services. SCS certification recognizes the highest levels of performance in food safety and quality, environmental protection, and social responsibility in the private and public sectors, and promotes continuous improvement in sustainable development.

Money Saving Tip:

Tune up your heating and air conditioning system.
Regular maintenance can lower your operating costs and
extend the service life of your equipment. And do you
change your air filters regularly? Use a programmable
thermostat? Taking small steps such as these can
make your wallet as well as your home greener.

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