Green designers and material engineers have been hard at work; creating renewables, recycleables and waste reclaiming products. Green building materials are developing at a rapid pace, from fly-ash concrete to fabrics made from recycled goods. It can be hard to keep up with all of the new developments in green materials, but there are two great up to date resources at your fingertips. CSI GreenFormat and Ecolect are two eco material alternative online catalogues with information on many types of cutting edge building materials for architects, builders, designers and interior decorators.
Ecolect is a web–based company that provides information and news about sustainable materials for product design, architecture, furniture design, graphic design, and more. The website is beautifully designed, making it easy to browse, search and submit materials. The layout is similar to a blog format and offer material photos and descriptions. Since some of the materials are user submitted, the amount and depth of the specifications vary with each material. The interface is great for browsing green materials for basic information about newer textiles and building materials. The in depth green product descriptions give you full cradle to cradle information including information on production, manufacturing, use and end use recycling. What is really neat for green architecture firms or eco centered interior designers is their new green material subscription service called GreenBox. This service features a package of new product samples complete with descriptions and specs delivered to you every three months. Each delivery includes:
- 12 cutting edge material samples
- Material information
- Sustainability specs
- Performance overview
- Cost profiles
- Distributor information
Put together by Construction Specifications Institute, GreenFormat is a very extensive materials database for green products. While the interface may be a little more difficult, the information is gold. The materials listed on this site aren’t necessarily green, they leave that up to the browser to determine. This site suffers from the same user defined information, so while some of the materials may overwhelm you with information, others may offer none at all. Since this database is put together by CSI, you can be sure that there is a ever-growing mountain of information and green product descriptions, if it exists, it is probably listed here.
Unfortunately neither of these sites offer searches based on LEED credit or allow product attribute comparisons in a single screen. Standardization of information would be nice as well, so that all products could be compared more fairly for defining atributes. Even with all these flaws, they are great eco resources for green materials. They are available for anyone to browse, so go ahead and explore them yourself to find that new fabric to redecorate with, or for use as in a sustainable remodeling project. For those more interested in green design, check out a previous article featuring asknature.org for engineering and architectural design ideas based on nature.