Environmental - How to Select the Right Green Building Materials

How to Select the Right Green Building Materials

Sustainable building uses a large number of strategies relating to the design, construction and operation of building projects. The use of green building materials and products is an integral part of green building design.

The benefits of green building materials to the owner and occupants include: Energy conservation, reduced maintenance costs, improved occupant health and productivity, lower costs of changing space configurations and greater design flexibility.  According to Roodman and Lenssen (1995) building and construction activities around the world consume 3 billion tons of raw materials each year (40{4da0376069402255d84a7d0a74fc8121b4f907e2193b1c72f3ee69e6067e40a4} of total global use).

Using green building materials and products promotes conservation of dwindling nonrenewable resources. It can also help reduce the environmental impact associated with the extraction, transport, processing, fabrication, installation, reuse, recycling, and disposal of building materials.

Green building materials are composed of renewable resources. Green materials are environmentally responsible as the impact over the life of the product is considered. The selection criteria for green building materials is as follows:

green building materials

  • Resource efficiency:  This can be accomplished by using recycled content, natural and renewable materials, products manufactured with resource-efficient processes, locally available materials and components (saving energy resources in transportation), salvaged or refurbished products, reusable and recyclable materials and packaging and longer lasting materials.
  • Energy efficiency: This can be maximized by using materials, components, and systems that help reduce energy consumption in buildings and facilities.
  • Indoor air quality: Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is enhanced by using materials that meet the following criteria: Emit few or no carcinogens, minimal chemical emissions, installed with minimal VOC-producing compounds, moisture resistant, products that require simple, non-toxic cleaning methods and products that promote healthy IAQ by identifying indoor air pollutants or enhancing the air quality.
  • Affordability
  • Water conservation: This can be obtained by using products and materials that help reduce water consumption and conserve water.


Product selection

This can begin after establishing project-specific environmental goals. There are three basic steps leading to environmental assessment: Research, evaluation and selection.
Research involves collecting all technical information to be evaluated in order to identify all the available options. This includes manufacturers' information such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) test data, source material characteristics, product warranties, recycled content information, durability data, environmental statements, building codes, government regulations, and more.

The evaluation step includes confirmation of technical information and filling in information gaps. The evaluator can also request product certifications from manufacturers. Evaluation and assessment is simple when comparing similar types of building materials but it is far more complex when comparing different products with the same function. When this is the case, both descriptive and quantitative forms of data need to be processed. A life cycle assessment (LCA) is an evaluation of the relative "greenness" of building materials and products, and it addresses the impact of a product through all its life stages.

The selection step involves using an evaluation matrix for scoring project-specific environmental criteria. The total score of each product evaluation shows the product with the highest environmental attributes. Individual criteria included in the rating system can be weighted to accommodate specific objectives.

Danpal Light Architecture Solutions for Building Envelopes – In Harmony with the Environment

green building materials

A global leader in the design and manufacture of daylight systems with high thermal insulation properties and mechanical resistance, Danpal enables architects to harness natural resources in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner.

Danpal systems can adapt to variable climatic conditions for sensible management of available light. They are adapted to the HQE approach, which has defined building certification. HQE targets both the interior of the building, i.e. the health and comfort of users, as well as integration into the environment, saving resources and reducing waste.

Danpal has partnered with the ADEME (Agency for Economic Development and Energy Control) and the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) using precise measurements created in test cells to validate the thermal performances of the Danpatherm system. All Danpal products are manufactured according to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. They require simplified maintenance through high pressure cleaning with fresh water, and minimal soap or detergent. Danpal® panels and waste are 100{4da0376069402255d84a7d0a74fc8121b4f907e2193b1c72f3ee69e6067e40a4} recyclable. 100{4da0376069402255d84a7d0a74fc8121b4f907e2193b1c72f3ee69e6067e40a4} of our production off-cuts are regranlulated by extrusion.

Our systems require low on-site fabrication and handling: In 95{4da0376069402255d84a7d0a74fc8121b4f907e2193b1c72f3ee69e6067e40a4} of cases we deliver systems that are manufactured to size (i.e. minimizing waste by eliminating off-cuts on site). The Danpalon® system is certified as a non-pollutant and is suitable for use even in sensitive fields such as the Agri-food sector. For all these reasons and more, Danpal is the environmentally friendly choice of building material.