GreenWizard speeds green building product research

GreenWizard speeds green building product research

Building image by ixpert via Shutterstock.

Figuring out which building products and materials comply with certain environmental certifications and health declarations is a notoriously tedious task. GreenWizard hopes its software will make this research significantly less time consuming.

Over the past five years, the developer methodically has compiled a massive directory that covers 145,000 green building products from about 1,300 manufacturers.

The tool enables architects, engineers and contractors to seek products that fit certain criteria, such as whether they carry Green Seal, Forest Stewardship Council, Cradle to Cradle or other eco-credentials. The software also tracks how these materials might affect a specific green building project's LEED construction status.

GreenWizard's approach apparently is catching on: The company works with seven of the top 15 U.S. design firms and four of the top 10 commercial contractors. So far, the platform has been used to source and evaluate materials for projects valued at more than $23.8 billion.

"GreenWizard acts as the collective wisdom of the green buildings industry, where we are free for manufacturers to load complete product listings, and any user can also search for free," said Adam Bernholz, CEO of the Charleston, S.C.-based company.

There's a subscription, however, for the tools that help manage this information, a process traditionally handled with spreadsheets. Pricing generally ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 for an average firm or about $1,000 for a single seat, he said. Each seat can be used for dozens of projects.

GreenWizard's clients include the likes of Perkins+Wills, Skanska, Turner and ZGF Architects.

"It really allows our folks to become more literate with the idea of materials transparency," said Ed Clark, an associate with ZGF in Seattle. "All this information was squirreled away with individuals before, and now we have a centralized data set."

ZGF's team consults the GreenWizard software on an almost daily basis to help weigh the advantages and cost implications of using one product versus another, maximize water conservation design features or improve the level of daylight spectrum experience by occupants in its buildings. It even uses the information to understand more about design elements or materials for which there are no good "green surrogates," Clark said. "Collectively, as people research aspects, the tool becomes more personalized toward our values."

Previously, the research was undertaken by young professionals in ZGF's five offices. GreenWizard now helps raise the collective awareness of green building progress, Clark said.

Competitors to GreenWizard include EcoScoreCard, which covers about 30,000 products; SWEETS, which covers 20,000; and Autodesk Seek, which includes 65,000 building information management objects.

Building image by ixpert via Shutterstock.