Being Green – Standards

Hi Folks:  Mark Twain is purported to have said there are three kinds of lies (in increasing order of severity): white lies, damnable lies, and statistics.  As anyone who’s worked with statistics can tell you, it’s important to set your parameters before beginning your analysis or statistics can tell you anything you want.  If, by now, you’re wondering what this has to do with being ‘green’, it’s because I’m alternately amazed and confused on how many ‘green standards’ and ‘green certifications’ there are out there today, with more coming down the pipe all the time.  We have standards for whole buildings, such as R2000/ C2000, LEED, BuiltGreen, BOMA BESt, The Living Building Challenge and others, then there are certifications for specific products, like FSC or ITTO certified wood. There are standards like the California Indoor Air Quality Program or ASHRAE Standard 62 – “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality”.  The list also includes programs like William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle certification, but how about Rohner Textil AG’s Climatex Lifestyle compostable upholstery fabric?  Keep in mind these are all just samples of longer lists.  The other issue is that some of these standards are run by governments (LEED for example), others by private companies (Cradle to Cradle), some by industry associations (like BuiltGreen or CPA’s International Testing and Certification Center (ITCC)), and then there are third-party certification companies like Scientific Certification Systems. NGOs like the Rainforest Alliance have created a Certified Xate Initiative (.pdf) in Guatemala’s Mayan Biosphere Reserve to work with the local people regarding the sutainable harvesting of the xate palm. Continue Reading →