How Green is Green?

There are a number of factors that enter into qualifying any product as “green”. The greater number of qualifications a given product can conform to, the greener the value it carries.

Today’s most prevalent industry-standard measure is the LEED classification system, which employs a point-based method as a means to assign values to materials, building techniques, and the resulting final product in order to collectively calculate and assign any given structure with a specific LEED rating. Considerations include:

  • Does the manufacturing process of the material maximize raw material usage and minimize waste by-products?
  • With responsible resource management, can we reasonably predict an indefinite supply of the material?
  • Do the manufacturing processes of materials produce toxic by-products or adversely affect the environment?
  • Does the final product contain toxic substances which leach or outgas, or that are not recyclable at the close of the product’s life cycle?

Many standard modern construction and finishing materials are still used in green building, either because there is not a viable alternative, or simply because the product merits some level of green rating in its own right (porcelain tile, gypsum drywall, and Portland cement, for some common examples). It is impossible to build a house with no environmental impact, but through careful choices in material selection and methodology there exists a great deal of leeway to mitigate damage, minimize waste, and reduce a building’s footprint.

It is often difficult for consumers to differentiate between similar products to understand which product is “greener”, and large mainstream retail chains still do not carry many green products available from more specialized or smaller scale manufacturers. To simplify the material selection process for our clients, LMD can source and promote green-building-specific products such as:

  • Cork flooring
  • Non-vinyl plank and sheet flooring
  • Bamboo flooring and cabinetry
  • Locally, sustainably harvested woods
  • Reclaimed wood products
  • Other recycled and/or sustainably-resourced building and finishing products

LMD also regularly uses certain green-rated products in most renovation and construction work, such as:

  • Zero VOC paints
  • Soya-based spray polyurethane insulation
  • Water-based stains and urethanes
  • Strawboard cabinetry
  • Low- and dual-flush toilets

As a general contractor LMD acts as resource centre for locating key consultants and supplier/installers of specialized technical products such as:

  • Power generating windmills
  • On-demand water heating
  • Geothermal heating
  • Radiant floor boiler systems
  • SIP construction materials
  • Straw bale construction

LMD helps customers differentiate between similar options, and enables them to make well-informed decisions in keeping with their own priorities.