By Staff July 20, 2001

Back to “Build it Green”

Numerous organizations, including non-profits, governmental, special interest, and professional, represent the interests of those involved in the ‘green building’ industry. Some of the better-known organizations include:

Association for Environment Conscious Building (United Kingdom) The AECB publishes information on environmental choice products and services in its directory entitled Greener Building. First published in 1992, it is produced in a loose-leaf format, which can be easily updated as new editions are published. The first part of the directory gives an introduction to issues relating to construction and its environmental impact. The second part is a compilation of introductory information to a wide range of products and services related to building design, construction and maintenance. Contact information for more than 500 products and services with a brief summary of the underlying decision making process which led to their selection.

Athena Sustainable Materials Institute (Canada) The institute was incorporated as a non-profit organization in early 1997. The project was originally known as the Building Materials in the Context of Sustainable Development project. When started, a research alliance involving organizations and people with detailed knowledge about production processes for different building products, the use of those products in building and construction, and broader environmental issues associated with resource extraction and building demolition and disposal. Today we still commission inventory studies by people or organizations expert in the specific industry or product group of interest, and have industry associations and their members participate by providing information and by reviewing and commenting on reports at a draft stage. As a result, our work reflects the combined talents of architects, economists, engineers and environmentalists in universities, government, manufacturing industries and private practice. One of the first tasks of the alliance was to develop Research Guidelines defining boundary or scope conditions and ensuring equal treatment of all building materials and products in terms of assumptions, data gathering, research decisions, and other aspects of the work. The guidelines embody accepted principles of life cycle assessment (LCA) and are consistent with emerging ISO standards. To ensure transparency, the Institute has previously published the research guidelines as well as Institute life cycle inventory studies and the results of investigations to assess issues and help determine future Institute activities.

Construction Materials Recycling Association The first association devoted exclusively to the needs of the rapidly expanding North American construction waste & demolition debris processing and recycling industry. Those needs include: Information exchange on issues and technology facing the industry including a listing of available literature on relevant topics; Campaign to promote the acceptance and use of recycled construction materials including concrete, asphalt, wood, and gypsum, among others; Provide information and support to the C&D recycling industry’s side of important issues that affect recyclers. We represent the industry at trade shows and other industry functions related to C&D recycling in order to raise the visibility of C&D recycling.

Energy & Environmental Building Association A small number of building professionals representing the US, Canada and Sweden, gathered in Pine Island, Minnesota in 1982 and created this association devoted to a more energy and resource efficient building industry. The association promotes awareness, education and development of energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings and communities. Its membership includes architects, builders, developers, manufacturers, engineers, utilities, code officials, researchers, educations, and environmentalists.

Green Building Information Council (Canada) The council is a non-profit organization supported by major organizations, including Environment Canada, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The GBIC functions in a way that complements existing skills and minimize overlap and competition with other organizations. Their general goals are to find and deliver relevant information, promote an inter-disciplinary approach to environmental performance and to influence key decision-makers in the building industry in Canada.

Urban Options Founded in 1978 in East Lansing, Michigan, this non-profit organization offers guidance and services for managing homes and yards in ways that are energy efficient and protective of the environment and human health.

U.S. Department of Energy’s Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development Why is the U.S. Department of Energy interested in sustainable development? First, one of its core missions is to make sure the nation has ample supplies of clean, affordable energy. America’s energy future is being built neighborhood by neighborhood. As each community makes development decisions – with the attendant impacts on transportation patterns, building efficiency, industrial productivity and so on -those decisions affect national energy security, as well as the nation’s economic and environmental health. Therefore, green-building issues is an element of a sustainable future. The web presence of this center provides excellent links to numerous green building resources.

U.S. Green Building Council From its formation in 1993 the US Green Building Council has grown to more than 500 international organizations that include product manufacturers, environmental leaders, building and design professionals, retailers and building owners, and financial industry leaders. According to the council ‘the mission of this unprecedented coalition is to accelerate the adoption of green building practices, technologies, policies, and standards. Through our committee-based organization, we are endeavoring to move the green building industry forward with market-based solutions.’