is Green Building Pages?
Green Building Pages is
a comprehensive Internet resource for anyone
interested in sustainable design and building,
a tool for architects, designers, builders,
engineers, spec writers, and construction clients.
Our Green Products database provides these users
with all the necessary product and contact information,
as well as comments on detailed environmental
and social criteria that show the overall sustainability
of a product. We are a for-profit business dedicated
to the research and promotion of sustainable
did Green Building Pages get started? Who is
behind it all?
Green Building Pages began
as the Sustainable Building Materials Resource
Guide, the brainchild of Marilyn Farmer, AIA,
at Habitat Studio, San Luis Obispo, California.
Years of her personal and professional research
in sustainability and sustainable building,
as well as a growing database of over 2,000
building materials, continuously added to and
maintained by her architectural office, have
accumulated into what is now the Green Building
Pages website. Go to "About GBP" to
see other organizations and individuals who
have contributed to the development of Green
can I contact the Green Building Pages staff?
For questions regarding
the Green Building Pages content, or sustainable
design in general, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
To report a technical error on the website,
send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or write to us at: 1350 Marsh Street, San Luis
Obispo, CA 93401.
all products listed on the Green Building Pages
No, not necessarily. After
a registered manufacturer supplies a minimum
amount of information about the product and
company, we evaluate the product based on the
Green Building Pages Evaluation Criteria. The
company then approves the publication of this
evaluation and all submitted company and product
information before the product is listed in
the searchable Green Products database. Typically,
only "green" product manufacturers
are interested in having their product evaluated
based on "green" criteria, but any
product can be listed if the company approves
the publication of the evaluation.
does Green Building Pages evaluate the products
Based on the information
provided in the Company and Product Profile
Forms, GBP rates the product in each category
of the GBP Criteria.
Company and Product Profile
Form - PDF version (Acrobat Reader required)
GBP Evaluation Criteria
can I support Green Building Pages?
Link to our website [#406].
Use it often. Spread the word. Send us feedback.
Send the manufacturers feedback. Ask them
the questions they have not answered. If you
know of a particular product that does not
appear on Green Building Pages, ask the manufacturer
are the Company & Product Profile Forms?
Manufacturers use the Company
and Product Profile Forms (PDF version) to provide
Green Building Pages with the information necessary
to complete the GBP Evaluation. Our database
saves one Company Profile per registered product
manufacturer and one Product Profile for each
product that the manufacturer adds to the database.
All information provided in the Profiles is
available to the public once the product is
approved to be published on the GBP website,
by clicking on the "More information…"
link at the bottom of the Product Page.
are there so many questions about the company's
A sustainable system generally
can be defined in environmental, economic and
social terminology. In economic terminology,
a sustainable economic system is one in which
the expenditures are at least equal or less
than the income. In social terminology, a sustainable
social system is one in which all members are
empowered to contribute, creating a synergistic
whole. The total sustainability of a
product, therefore, depends as much upon the
company that makes the product, and the impact
of the company's business in the economic and
social realms, as it depends upon the actual
environmental impact of the product itself.The
Company Profile is Green Building Pages' acknowledgment
that a truly sustainable system involves more
than just environmental factors. This multi-faceted
approach to sustainability includes understanding
the economic and social impact of the company
that manufactures and sells a given product.
The Company Profile section gives companies
the opportunity to describe policies and procedures
that give added depth to products' "green"
is a "chain of custody"?
"Chain of custody"
refers to taking "upstream" and "downstream"
responsibility for a product. Green Building
Pages' goal with the Chain of Custody category
is to encourage the tracking of the product
from its original raw material sources to its
final sale, to help manufacturers better understand
the effects of their products upstream and downstream
of the manufacturing process. Some certifying
agencies have developed specific criteria for
a Chain of Custody Certification. Green Building
Pages does not certify Chain of Custody for
the product profile information, but does encourage
it by awarding points for asking suppliers to
fill out the Green Building Pages Product Questionnaire.
is a "social chain of custody", and
why do we ask about it?
"Social chain of custody"
refers to taking "upstream" and "downstream"
responsibility for a product's social consequences,
acknowledging that giving business to a particular
company condones their business practices. Green
Building Pages encourages companies to investigate
the policies and procedures of suppliers with
which they conduct business by awarding points
for asking them to fill out the Green Building
Pages Supplier Questionnaire.
the form have to be so long?
Yes. The Product and Company
Profile Forms are long because they are comprehensive,
covering all facets of a product's sustainability.
Although sustainability is a simple biological
concept, evaluating the sustainability of a
given system is quite complex. Gathering the
necessary information in such a way that does
not allow for subjective interpretations that
lead to inflated or undervalued perceptions,
adds to the complexity of this evaluation process.
The length of the forms also depends upon the
complexity of the material itself. Almost half
of all the information requested in the forms
refers to the manufacturing process of the material
- a more complex manufacturing process will
require more information for evaluation.
were the questions on the profile forms developed?
Green Building Pages developed
its Product and Company Profile Forms in part
from compilations of "green criteria"
from other recognized sources, and expanded
based on independent research in materials processing
and the environmental impact of the materials
manufacturing industry. Consequently, GBP's
Product and Company Profile forms are the most
comprehensive of its kind to be published. Many
of the sources for GBP research can be found
in the Links & Resources section of our
website, under Weblinks and Paper-Published
are answers evaluated?
Once a Product Profile has
been submitted for evaluation, the information
is processed through the GBP Evaluation Criteria
formulas that generate the Product Sustainability
Review. Portions of the Criteria are more subjective
and cannot be evaluated by computer programming.
These criteria items are researched and evaluated
individually by a GBP staff member. GBP staff
then review the Criteria Evaluation for accuracy,
and create and edit the Product Page for final
is the minimum required information?
Green Building Pages requires
certain information to be given before we
will evaluate a product or list it on our
website. All questions in the following categories
must be answered before submitting the Product
Profile for evaluation:
(except for the "distance from supplier
to manufacturing facility" question under
· Greenhouse Gases
· Ozone Depletion
· Environmental Policy (on the
Production & Manufacture
Installation, Use & Maintenance
End of Product Life
Testing & Certifications
is considered an "input"?
Green Building Pages considers
an input to be anything going into as well as
anything "in front of" the production
process. For example, if a product's production
process begins with a material that has been
manufactured in another process or by another
company (e.g., vinyl), the "inputs"
include the inputs of the upstream material.
if an input material is a composite material
made by another company?
The information about the
components of the composite material must be
obtained from the supplier. The Product Questionnaire
can be used to obtain this information, earning
additional points under the Chain of Custody
if I can't get information on an input material
from the supplier of that input?
Consider using another supplier
for that material. Truly investing in the concept
of sustainability requires using your sphere
of influence to promote and encourage a wholly
sustainable design. Sustainability is about
the interconnection of all systems, not about
maintaining an artificial standard for just
one supposedly isolated process.
do you mean "% of Final Product Weight"?
What if an input is not part of the final product?
We ask for the weight of
the input as a percentage of the final product
weight in order to create a common denominator
for all the inputs. The number entered for "%
of Final Product Weight" may be over 100,
since the input does not necessarily have to
be physically present in the final product,
or present in the same quantity in the final
product as in the beginning of the manufacturing
process. This way of normalizing weights is
also used when asking about outputs and recyclable
components (in the End of Product Life section).
am I supposed to determine the "average
distance from supplier to manufacturer"
for each input?
If the input material always
comes from the same source at the same location
and always goes to the same manufacturing location,
then this number would not be an average, but
rather just the total number of miles from the
origin to the place of manufacture. If the input
material comes from several different locations,
or goes to several different locations, then
this number should be the average of the total
distances from each place of origin to manufacturing
facility. The total distance from origin to
manufacture includes the travel to/from intermediate
stops (e.g., to/from warehouses or distribution
centers), especially with composite materials.
Exact distances are not necessary - distances
should be rounded as appropriate for their length
(e.g., to the nearest 100 miles if over 1,000
miles, to the nearest 10 miles if under 100
miles, etc.). The answer to this question is
not required for the initial submittal of the
Product Profile (although the remainder of the
Inputs section is
isn't water included in the Outputs?
Water is a separate category
because water used for production and for building
facilities is seldom recorded or measured separately.
Water comes into the manufacturing center and
leaves the manufacturing center regardless of
whether it is used in the manufacturing process,
and is an increasingly precious natural resource.
if water in the manufacturing facility is used
for more than just the manufacturing process?
Why isn't water used for the building systems
distinguished from the water used for manufacturing
Green Building Pages asks
for the quantity of water used overall
in a manufacturing facility for the reasons
described above [#206
ask for the quantity of water used per unit
of product in order to have a normalizing factor
in evaluating the quantity. In this way, a small
manufacturer is not being evaluated on a scale
more appropriate for a large manufacturer, and
ask the distance to each distributor?
Studies have shown that
transportation of materials has significant
environmental impact. Damages vary greatly depending
on the length of distance and the type of transportation
vehicle used. The distance between the point
of manufacture and the distributor accounts
for a portion of the product's environmental
impact due to transportation. The distances
entered in Inputs account for transportation
on the front end of the manufacturing process.
The entire "Transportation" category
is not required for initial submittal [#14]
of the Product Profile.
does it matter if machinery is required for
Many Production & Manufacture
questions address the "embodied energy"
of a product, or the energy associated with
the product in its creation. The concept of
"embodied energy" also applies to
the product after production, in the energy
required to maintain a useful product (Installation
and Maintenance). A building material may have
low embodied energy coming out of production,
but then require a great deal more energy to
install and/or maintain than a similar material
that has a high embodied energy from production
but comes "ready-to-use" with little
or no maintenance required (e.g., traditional
wood roof joists versus pre-fabricated trusses).
241. What is the difference
between "biodegradable" and "compostable"?
material can be decomposed by the action of
microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, into basic
elements or compounds where it is considered
"food" for another living organism.
Most manufactured products biodegrade slowly,
if at all, and emit toxic substances throughout
the decomposition process - the reason Green
Building Pages differentiates between "biodegradable"
and "non-toxic biodegradable". These
same microbes can also decompose a "compostable"
material, and release nutrients and organic
matter back into the earth; the material could
theoretically be composted for garden soil.
Something "compostable" is biodegradable
by definition, however biodegradable does not
necessarily mean "compostable".
261. Do all testing results and documentation
have to be available to the public?
Yes. The system must be
transparent, to allow consumers to make informed
decisions as they choose.
does "cruelty-free" mean?
In general, "cruelty-free"
is a marketing claim used along with "not
tested on animals" or "no animal testing"
to suggest that no animals have suffered in
the process of bringing a product to market.
Green Building Pages defines "cruelty-free"
specifically to mean that no tests or processes
required for the manufacture or marketing of
a particular product, its inputs or by-products,
involve animals (live or dead), or animal by-products
for which the animal is killed.
if a company uses manufacturing facilities in
other countries where OSHA standards do not
Green Building Pages uses
OSHA as the universal standard for facilities
safety maintenance as a common denominator,
against which all companies are evaluated, regardless
of the location of the facilities. Even if the
manufacturing facility is not located in the
U.S. and therefore not legally bound to OSHA
standards, this question must be answered based
on how the facility measures up to OSHA standards
is the difference between "community involvement"
and "charitable giving"?
refers to participation in or development of
community events or groups - forums for community
action or education in the form of workshops,
lectures, etc. "Charitable giving"
refers to time or money donated to non-profit
organizations. Time or money donated to local
non-profits may be counted under either of the
two categories, but not both.
is the "manufacturers website"?
website" on Green Building Pages is where
representatives of product manufacturers may
enter company and product information in order
to be included in the Green Building Pages.
Any company may register
with Green Building Pages via a Primary Contact
Person (PCP) [#33]. The PCP must be the company
representative with the authority to submit,
review and authorize publication of company
and product information on the Green Building
can a company register?
From the Manufacturer's
Login, click on "Register Now". You
will be asked to provide basic information about
your company before being logged into your new
company account. A username and password will
be e-mailed automatically to the e-mail address
provided - it should arrive immediately to your
inbox. There is no fee for registering with
Green Building Pages.
if I register my company and then decide not
to use Green Building Pages?
Registration is free, so
if you register and later decide not to continue
with Green Building Pages, there is no charge.
An account will automatically be removed after
one year of inactivity. To remove your account
prior to the one-year limit, send an e-mail
requesting account removal to email@example.com.
Include your company's name and address, as
well as your name (as PCP), telephone number
and mailing address. No information is published
without authorization of the Primary Contact
is the Primary Contact Person? Can the Primary
Contact Person be changed?
The Primary Contact Person
(PCP) is the company representative with whom
Green Building Pages will correspond. The PCP
must have the authority to submit, review and
authorize publication of company and product
information. The PCP contact information will
not be made public and will only be used for
GBP correspondence. Only the current PCP may
change the PCP information, including the name,
e-mail address, username, and password. This
may be done from within the company account,
under the "Account Information" menu.
is the Public Contact Person?
The Public Contact Person
is the company representative whose contact
information will be made public via the published
Product Page. This person should have the ability
to answer or field questions coming from potential
consumers using the Green Building Pages.
can I block certain users' access to information
on the company's Green Building Pages account?
The PCP [#33] (and only the PCP) may control additional users' access
when they log into the company's GBP account
by setting access privileges or "permissions"
for each user. To access the permissions settings
for each company user, open the "Account
Information" menu from within the company
account and click on "User Administration".
A list of all registered company users and their
access privileges will appear.
can't I access certain information about my
company or product?
Most likely, you are an
"additional user" authorized by the
PCP [#33] to have access to your company's Green
Building Pages account. Additional users are
authorized or denied access to certain account
information as determined by the PCP. You should
contact your company's PCP regarding access
privileges. If you are the PCP or otherwise
given "Administrator" privileges by
the PCP, and still cannot access certain areas
of your account, please e-mail GBP's tech support
is information that I enter on this website
saved? Is it secure?
Green Building Pages only
displays to the public information that has
been approved for publication by the company
PCP. Other users may change data on the profiles,
and Green Building Pages will track and maintain
those changes, but they will not be displayed
to the public until approved by the company
PCP. Additionally, many changes to profiles
require additional review by Green Building
often may I update my company and/or product information?
You may update and add new
information on the database at any time. However,
newly saved information or changes may not
be immediately accessible by consumers (see
above [#37]). Changes made to certain information
will require a GBP Evaluation, while other
information will not. Therefore, there are
two timescales to consider when updating information.
The following items may be updated at any
time, and will be processed and updated on
the public read-only database as quickly as
· All company
contact information, including URL's, Public
Contact Person information, HQ address
· All distributor information,
including adding new distributors and removing
· Product name (for currently
· Product image
· Product description
· Product-specific URL
· Product CSI category
· LEED Credit Opportunities
All other items require
a GBP Evaluation and more extensive review prior
to publication. Changes to these items will
be evaluated and updated on the public database
once per quarter.
saved all the information I have on my product.
How do I get it published on the public Green
Building Pages website?
Product information that
is ready to be published must be submitted to
Green Building Pages. Click on the "Submit
Profiles" button to see a list of profiles
that are eligible for submittal (there is a
minimum of information [#14] that must be provided
before a profile is eligible). Submitting the
profile notifies Green Building Pages that information
is either ready for evaluation or ready to be
updated without evaluation [#38]. All information
will be published after written approval of
the PCP and due payment is received.
do I remove a product from the Green Building
A product that has not been
submitted for publication may be easily removed
by clicking on "Delete Product" from
the Products menu. A product that is already
published on the public database may be removed
by written request from the PCP. Green Building
Pages will process the request upon receipt.
Mail requests to: Green Building Pages, 1350
Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.
is the "public website"?
The "public website"
is the consumer-side, free-access website at
www.greenbuildingpages.com. Information on the
public website can be accessed by anyone, anywhere,
but edited only by Green Building Pages. There
is also the "manufacturers website",
which is a login site where registered manufacturers
may enter and edit company and product information
prior to publication.
do I search for a product or a manufacturer?
There are several ways to
search for a product on Green Building Pages:
· From the
Welcome page, you may enter a name, keyword,
manufacturer, or CSI number in the Quick-Find
· For more extensive search options,
click on "Search" on the Green Products
page. Using this option, you may control how
specific or generalized your search results
· From the Green Products page,
click on a CSI category to browse all products
listed under that category.
In the first two search
options, a list of products meeting your search
criteria will be generated for you.
are CSI categories?
CSI stands for Construction
Specification Institute [www.csinet.org], an
organization that has developed an industry
standard for organizing and specifying the thousands
of different types of building materials used
in construction. The 5-digit sequence begins
with the 2-digit division number (01thru16),
followed by a 3-digit nesting category number,
meaning the first digit denotes a more general
category than the last.
if the product I'm looking for isn't listed?
Because our website charges
manufacturers for their product listing, not
all products will be listed on our website.
We periodically advertise Green Building Pages
to manufacturers at conferences and via e-mail,
so if you would like to see a particular product
on Green Building Pages, please let us know.
Send us an e-mail with your name and ZIP code
(so we know roughly where you are coming from),
and everything you know about the product so
that we may identify the manufacturer and contact
them. Your name and e-mail will not be added
or sold to any mailing list.
do I find a sustainable design organization?
On the Links & Resources
page, there is a list of categories on the left-hand
side. Click on "Sustainable Design Organizations".
The links will soon be searchable by organization
name, website, and keywords.
I link my sustainability-related organization
or business to Green Building Pages?
Yes! We just ask that you
let us know if you are linking to our website
from yours, so we may keep track of our
web exposure. The GBP logo and all contents
of the GBP are copyrighted. We provide logos and text you can use on your site to link to ours in the Links & Resources
section. If you would like
your organization included in GBP's Links &
, e-mail a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Include the name of the organization, a short
description or mission statement, the name of
the contact person, an e-mail address and URL.
the owner/builder/designer of a sustainable
building project. Will Green Building Pages
include it in the Case Studies database?
Green Building Pages is
happy to research a sustainable building project
and consider it for inclusion in our case studies
database. E-mail your request to us at email@example.com.
Include the name of the building project and
its location, the client's name, the architect
or designer, the name and e-mail of the contact
person (it could be the owner, architect, contractor,
or a third party), and an explanation of why
it is a case study for sustainable building.
You may also include a URL if the project has
a website, or an image of the project, finished
or under construction. Permission for use on
the Green Building Pages website must accompany
any image sent.
© 2002 Green Building
Pages. All rights reserved.