BuildingGreen Announces 2004 Top-10 Green Building Products

BuildingGreen Announces 2004 Top-10 Green Building Products

BuildingGreen, Inc., publisher of the GreenSpec Directory and Environmental Building News, has announced its selections of the top ten green building products of 2004. This third annual award, announced at the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild conference in Portland, Ore., recognizes the most exciting products added to the GreenSpec Directory during the past year (though some products may have been on the market longer).

"Reflected in our Top-10 list this year is concern about energy," noted GreenSpec coeditor Alex Wilson. "Two of our winning products convert sunlight into usable energy: one a glazing panel that generates electricity, the other a solar water-heating collector that relies on an advanced, high-tech design." Two other products--a new elevator and an innovative air-source heat pump -- are on the 2004 Top-10 list because they operate significantly more efficiently than conventional products.

Water is also an important issue today. Gaining recognition for this environmental attribute is a pressure-assist toilet-flushing mechanism that uses just one gallon per flush, almost 40 percent less than the federal standard for toilets -- yet toilets with this flush mechanism actually outperform many 1.6 gallon-per-flush models on the market. Also related to water resources is a Top-10 product that allows infiltration of stormwater through paved parking lots, streets, driveways, and sidewalks.

Perhaps the most innovative product recognized among BuildingGreen's Top-10 of 2004 is a brand new pressure-treated wood product that relies on a unique mineralization process within the wood rather than toxins to protect it from insects and decay. And it does this without making the wood more corrosive. "If this product lives up to its manufacturer's claims, it could quickly take over the market," according to Wilson.

A new entrant into the FSC-certified wood industry -- the first mainstream, publicly traded, U.S. timber-products company to embrace the Forest Stewardship Council certification system -- offers chain-of-custody certified framing lumber, plywood, and cedar siding and decking.

The final two products are included because of environmental characteristics of their life cycles: one a carpet-cushion backing and the other an interior shade screen made from readily recyclable thermoplastic polyolefin instead of PVC.

BuildingGreen's Top-10 product selections this year demonstrate the tremendous innovation coming out of the building-products industry. "New products are appearing all the time," said Wilson. "Our staff can hardly keep up with the research required to screen them and compile listings for our GreenSpec product directory." he said. About half of the Top-10 products this year are used primarily in commercial buildings; the rest are used in homes or in all types of buildings.

A big driver in the development of green products is the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which awards points for certain product characteristics or the energy or water savings they can achieve. "Designers of LEED buildings are looking for green products, and manufacturers are responding," said Wilson.

The 2004 BuildingGreen Top-10 products are:
GreenSpec is a national directory of green building products. The 1,800-plus products included in the directory are selected by editors of Environmental Building News based on criteria developed over the past 13 years.