001. What 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 materials 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 building materials.
002. How did Green Building Pages get started? Who is behind
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 Building Pages.
003. How 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To report
a technical error on the website, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Or write to us at: 1350 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.
004. Are 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 materials 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.
005. How 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
GBP Evaluation Criteria
006. How 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 to register
Company & Product Profile Forms -
101. What 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.
102. Why 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"
103. What 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.
104. What 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
105. Does 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.
106. How 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
107. How 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 authorized publication.
108. What 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
· Inputs (except for the "distance from supplier
to manufacturing facility" question under each input)
· Greenhouse Gases
· Ozone Depletion
· Environmental Policy (on the Company Profile)
Specific Questions on the Profile Forms -
Listed by Category
Production & Manufacture
201. What 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.
202. What 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 criteria
203. What 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.
204. What 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
205. How 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
required information [#108
206. Why 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.
207. What 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 the
Green Building Pages asks for the quantity of water used overall
in a manufacturing facility for the reasons described above [#206
]. We 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
208. Why 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 [#108
] of the Product Profile.
Installation, Use & Maintenance
221. Why 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
End of Product Life
241. What is the difference between "biodegradable"
A "biodegradable" 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
Testing & Certifications
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.
262. What 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.
281. What if a company uses manufacturing facilities
in other countries where OSHA standards do not apply?
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 [www.osha.gov/comp-links.html].
282. What is the difference between "community
involvement" and "charitable giving"?
"Community involvement" 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
Using the Manufacturers Website
301. What is the "manufacturers website"?
The "manufacturers 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) [#305
]. 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 Pages website.
303. How 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.
304. What 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Person.
305. Who 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.
306. Who 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.
307. How can I block certain users' access to information
on the company's Green Building Pages account?
The PCP [#305
] (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.
308. Why can't I access certain information about
my company or product?
Most likely, you are an "additional user" authorized by the
] 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 at email@example.com.
309. How 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 Pages staff.
310. How often may I update my company and/or product
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 [#309]). 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 possible:
· All company contact information, including URL's,
Public Contact Person information, HQ address
· All distributor information, including adding new distributors
and removing old distributors
· Product name (for currently published products)
· 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.
311. I've 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 [#108
] 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 [#310
information will be published after written approval of the PCP and due payment
312. How 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,
Using the Public Website
401. What 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
402. How 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 field.
· For more extensive search options, click on "Search"
on the Materials Database page. Using this option, you may control how specific
or generalized your search results will be.
· From the Materials Database 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.
403. What 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.
404. What if the product I'm looking for isn't
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.
405. How 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.
406. May 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 your website so we may keep track of our web exposure. The GBP logo and
all contents of the GBP are copyrighted and require permission for use. Small
GBP logo images are available for graphic links - request one via e-mail
to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like your organization included
in GBP's Links & Resources, e-mail a request to email@example.com.
Include the name of the organization, a short description or mission statement,
the name of the contact person, an e-mail address and URL.
407. I'm the owner/builder/designer of a sustainable
building project. Will Green Building Pages include it in the Case Studies
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.