Editorial: A Sustainable Journey

May 1, 2008

Last year, Interiors & Sources' staff determined there was an urgent need to provide the A&D community with a comprehensive, reliable resource on how to evaluate the environmental characteristics of green products on the market. As a result, we partnered with The Green Standard to publish a completely new and improved version of The Green Guide to NeoCon®, which was very well-received by NeoCon attendees and the design community as a whole. (It also earned a Gold Eddie Award from Folio magazine). This was the first step in creating a practical tool for design practitioners to help them navigate the often murky waters of sustainable product evaluation and selection.

This year, we have built upon the foundation we laid and have expanded our EcoLibrary of articles to provide more in-depth, dependable information you can use to answer key questions about a range of product certifications, including: What are they? Who develops them? What criteria make sense in deciding what programs to use? And how can product certifications and Life Cycle Assessments help to reduce our carbon footprints and to meet our environmental goals, such as The 2030 °Challenge?

In this issue, you will find information that will both inspire you to big picture thinking and help you understand, at a very practical level, the tools that are available to help you make more informed decisions regarding product specifications and the impact those choices have on the environment.

We have updated some pieces of information you may have read in previous Green Guides that are critical to understanding sustainable design issues. We have enhanced and streamlined our EcoList of manufacturers whose products have met third-party certifications by adding a new category that lists which LEED® protocols are met by which products, making it easier for you to determine how a product you specify can help earn LEED points. And we have improved our EcoLibrary Matrix of third-party certification programs that serves as an entry point for posting in the EcoList and explains the transparency, scope and life-cycle considerations of the major certification programs in use in North America.

While it may be tempting to look for one, all—encompassing certification program or green product, it is important to remember that there is no easy, one-size-fits-all solution to our environmental challenges. As Bill Reed of Integrative Design explains in this issue, "The Holy Grail is not a particular tool or certification program. It is the capability to bring about regeneration of all the Earth's living systems. It calls for a whole new paradigm focused on living systems thinking."

As we continue on the journey toward a more sustainable built environment, we hope you will utilize the information in these pages to light your path. And please remember to stop by our booth (#8-3139) at NeoCon-we welcome your feedback and input on how we can serve you better.

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