Whether you are building a new structure or refurbishing an older home, you can incorporate green building materials and practices in your project. Green building practices design and construct homes that use resources efficiently, have a reduced impact on their environment, and promote a healthy indoor environment. But what makes a ‘green’ building product or material?

Based on information obtained from the California Integrated Waste Management Board, ‘green’ building materials are composed of renewable, rather than, non-renewable resources. Green materials are environmentally responsible because impacts are considered over the life of the product. There are certain criteria that materials must be measured by to determine how environmentally friendly they are.

Resource Efficiency

Resource efficiency are materials that are made from recycled materials; are natural, plentiful and renewable; have efficient manufacturing processes; are locally available; are salvaged, refurbished, or remanufactured; reusable or recyclable; recycled or recyclable packaging; and are durable.

Indoor Air Quality

This will impact the quality of the air inside the home. So you will want to use materials that are low or non-toxic; have minimal chemical emissions; low-VOC assembly; are moisture resistant; healthfully maintained; and promote healthy indoor air quality.

Energy Efficiency

Materials that will not only make the home more energy efficient, but were also themselves made in a manner that is the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly ways possible.

Water Conservation

Conserving water has always been a ‘green’ practice, but these materials help reduce water consumption in buildings and in landscaped areas.


The materials must be able to be affordable to be used. So they must be priced to the most affordable price point available.

You must choose your building products wisely to build or refurbish your home in the most affordable and environmentally friendly way possible. To choose your products you must research all materials thoroughly; evaluate each one according to how environmentally friendly they are while meeting your needs; and finally select. It can help to make a score sheet for each material and evaluate that way before deciding which materials to use.