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How to Evaluate Green Product Certifications
green photo cert As you search thru our product guide, you will see a "Green Tree" green tree next to those products where the manufacturer has provided their eco-friendly labels, certifications and claims.

You will begin to learn that in each product category there are certain attributes as well as certain claims that make one product more eco-friendly than an other.


Most product categories offer environmentally preferable-and less preferable-products.
Use certifications and affiliations with reputable "green" organizations to help identify preferable products. Certified products may be harder to find.

Certification covers only one or a limited set of environmental, health, or social attributes.
Some certifications cover multiple attributes while others cover just one. All products have an environmental impact, but a durable, high-performing product may ultimately have a lower net impact than a product certified for its environmental responsibility.

Certifications should be just one tool for evaluating green products.
For example, it may make more sense for a project to use non-certified wood from the region than certified wood from halfway around the world.

Not all certifications are equal.
Consumers and specifiers should find certifications that they trust and standards that match their values. Look for proof of independence and longstanding credibility. We have compiled a list of well known certifications and organizations within the building industry. We recommend you check them out for your self. (Green Labels & Certifications)

What are first, second, or third party Certification?

First-, second-, and third-party levels of certification define the degree of separation between the certifier and the company whose product is being certified. When evaluating a certification or claim ask yourself who is certifying this.

First Party: Most marketing claims, product specifications, and material data safety sheets are first-party declarations that have not been independently tested or verified.

Second Party: This type of certification can provide more credible information by involving a trade association or outside consulting firm in setting a standard and verifying claims. Second-party certification offers little assurance against conflicts of interest, however.

Third Party: A certification is most credible when an independent third party conducts the product testing and awards the certification.

As a further measure of quality control, a certifier can be ANSI-approved, which verifies the certifier's objectivity. Helping to govern the world of standards and certifications is the International Standards Organization (ISO). This international nongovernmental standard-setting body, founded in 1947, includes representatives of national standard development organizations, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the U.S. ISO defines terms and develops worldwide standards that frequently become law or form the basis of industry norms.