Green Vs. Greenwash: How To Find Truly Green Products

Green Vs. Greenwash: How To Find Truly Green Products

Cambria Bold
Nov 2, 2009

Finding sustainable products and materials used to be a dispiriting, frustrating task because choices were limited and the overall aesthetic was awkward and unappealing. But ever since "green" became the newest, coolest kid on the block, every other product seems to be touting its environmental benefits. How do you know who's telling the truth?

Metropolis recently interviewed ten leading architects and interior designers about their approaches to green spaces and their tips for finding genuinely sustainable products and materials. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

What makes a product sustainable?

"Number one on my list is classic design and quality construction. Something that is well designed, something that's timeless and not trendy, is something you keep for decades. Or if you don't keep it, it can be sold or donated so that some-one else can reuse it."
- Ingrida Martinkus from TVS Design, Atlanta

"We look at the entire life cycle of the product. That means taking into account everything from extraction or harvesting to manufacture, transport, and installation. But it doesn't stop there. We also consider the footprint associated with maintaining products and then deconstructing them at the end of their useful life."
- Nila Leiserowitz from Gensler, Santa Monica

How do you find green products?

"Staying informed of changes in the marketplace, reading a variety of trade magazines, and maintaining a dialogue with service and product vendors are all important. But we find some of the more valuable products through information picked up at conferences. I'm much more likely to research a new product if it's recommended by a colleague or peer."
- Jennifer Rainey from SOM, New York

"We work around the country and have to immerse ourselves in each region to better understand what are sustainable local options for a particular product. This is like a small research project about a location. What is manufactured there? What is mined there? Are there any forest products that come from there? Who are local artisans or fabricators who do great work in a particular material?"
- Amy Running from Boora Architects, Portland, OR

Read the whole article here.

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Masters of the Greenwash

Images via Metropolis

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