Resources For Green Building

Within the sustainability landscape there are a wide array of green programs, certifications, accreditations and regulations that dictate how your builders and you will move forward in this market. Below, we have identified some key influencers for you to get to know.

Make sure your products and their application may qualify for points within these programs and that you can communicate how they do.

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a U.S. Green Building Council program rating a building’s environmental performance. This program is a rating system and how-to guide. LEED certification focuses on 5 categories: site planning, energy consumption, water usage, indoor environmental quality, and building materials. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.

Focus: Primarily New Construction & Commercial
6 Rating Categories:  Sustainable Site; Water Efficiency; Energy and Atmosphere; Materials and Resources; Indoor Environmental Quality: Innovation and Design
Products: Certain products may be eligible for LEED points. However, point determination is tied to application, not product.
Rating System: Certified = 45-59 points; Silver = 60-74 points; Gold = 75-89 points; Platinum = 90-136 points      Total points available = 136

NGBS (National Green Building Standard) is a NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) program in partnership with International Code Council (ANSI) to develop a voluntary international green residential building standard. This is based on a points system to work in all climate zones and under performance levels rated as Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald. The program provides builders with a toolkit to engage a green program in their own locales.

Focus: Primarily Residential, Remodeling and Additions
6 Rating Categories:  Lot Design, Preparation, and Development; Resource Efficiency; Energy Efficiency; Water Efficiency; Indoor Environmental Quality; Operation, Maintenance, and Building Owner Education.
Products: Green approved product seal enables builders to earn points toward certification of the building as long as the products are applied correctly. A product can become NGBS certified. Requires third-party verification.
Rating System: Bronze > 255 points; Silver > 406 points; Gold > 558 points; Emerald > 697 points
Total points available = 300-1500

ENERGY STAR qualification is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and more. EPA has also extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.

Focus: Residential, Remodeled, Commercial & Products
Products: Meet specifications to earn eligibility to become a partner. Products can become labeled Energy Star.
1 qualification: HERS Index of 100 (typical home HERS Index is 130, net zero home is 0. The lower the index the more energy efficient. Rule of thumb: every 1-point drop in Index  = 1% decrease in energy consumption.




Forest Certifications: all require third-party certification


FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) is an international organization that brings people together to find solutions promoting responsible stewardship of the world’s forests. FSC operates an Accreditation Program that’s in charge of providing accreditation services to certification bodies and national initiatives. The Accreditation Program is based on international standards.

  • Chain of Custody (COC) Certificate provides a guarantee about the production of FSC-certified products. Chain of custody is the path taken by raw materials from the forest to the consumer, including all successive stages of processing, transformation, manufacturing and distribution. Operations that have been independently verified for FSC chain of custody certification are eligible to label their products with the FSC logo. BlueLinx is FSC certified by the Rainforest Alliance. (BlueLinx FSC Certification Code RA-COC-002525)

Rainforest Alliance: is accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Rainforest Alliance sets the international gold standard for credibility in auditing environmentally and socially responsible forestry. The Rainforest Alliance’s program offers a diverse set of certification and verification services.


SFI® (Sustainable Forest Initiative) STANDARDS & CERTIFICATION is a fully independent, non-profit program based on protecting our forests while producing the wood and paper products our economy needs. The SFI program integrates the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees while protecting our wildlife, plants, soil, and water and air quality. Only companies and organizations that have successfully completed an audit by an independent and accredited certification body can claim certification to the SFI Standard. SFI is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing forest certification programs, involving more than 700 organizations including conservation groups, public agencies, academia and forest product companies.

(Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization that promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third-party certification. The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests.

Composite Wood Certifications

EPP-CPA CERTIFICATION composite wood panels (ANSI) are “products and services with a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose.” CPA has adopted a voluntary Environmentally Preferable Product Specification (EPPS) to promote the fulfillment of these goals. CPA will certify products to this EPPS within its accredited and independently conducted Grademark Program.

CARB (California Air Resources Board), a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency, voted to implement new limits for formaldehyde emitted from composite wood products. These new limits will be implemented in two phases starting January 1, 2009. When the final limits are fully in place in 2012, the regulation will establish the toughest production standard in the world for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. The California regulation governs the formaldehyde in both raw composite wood panels and finished products sold or used in California. Both imported and domestic products are regulated and must be third–party certified and clearly labeled to indicate they meet California’s requirements.
Features & Benefits:
NAUF (no added urea formaldehyde)
NAF (no added formaldehyde)

Third-Party Certifiers

SCS (Scientific Certification Systems): lifecycle, EPP, LEED, FSC, & Material Content (recycled) certifier, founded in 1984, is a reputable third-party certification and assessment body and a leader in green building product certification. SCS was accredited as one of the first FSC-endorsed certification bodies. Today, SCS provides strategically targeted certification programs for manufacturers of office furniture, adhesives and paint, wall coverings, flooring products and more. Certifications range from single attribute (for chain-of-custody wood products, recycled content and indoor air quality) to multi-attribute (for carpet or furniture) to full life-cycle/EPP (such as for a wood treatment process). SCS, the first California-based CARB Approved Third-Party Certifier, offers unique opportunities to turn this regulatory obligation into a marketing advantage.

: Building Materials and Structural Products certifier.
As a laboratory accredited by NIST/NVLAP, NES, and ICBO, CSA International can test and certify qualified products to such U.S. and Canadian standards as ANSI, ASTM, UL and CSA. CSA International provides testing and certification for a wide range of products.

GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification Program is part of The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) and is an industry- independent, non-profit organization. GEI establishes acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments and buildings. GREENGUARD is an air quality certification program for low-emitting products and acts as an industry-independent third-party testing program for low-emitting products and materials. Certification is a voluntary program available to all manufacturers and their suppliers.

PLUS there are significant other local and national players you should look into that may affect your business’s unique direction.