GreenBuild, a national online resource for comparing the environmental and technical characteristics of building products, went live to the industry at the start of October.
GreenBuild is the first product database of its kind to address the growing demand for independent information on the environmental impact of building products, and it’s owned by some of the leading names in the construction industry.
Masterspec, Building Research and Green New Zealand are equal shareholders in GreenBuild and, as a shareholder in Masterspec, the Registered Master Builders Federation is on board with this initiative.
“The long-term goal is to create a virtual library where architects and specifiers can quickly and easily compare products, choosing the one that is best for the environment given the context of their particular project,” GreenBuild spokesman Graeme Finlay says.
With more than 12,000 building products presently listed on the site, the job of independently assessing each one is a formidable task, and it will be some time before they have been through GreenBuild’s rigorous assessment programme.
Mr Finlay says GreenBuild is an evolving tool, and environmental information content would be built up rapidly in the coming months.
Over the past year GreenBuild has worked with key research organisations and industry players to develop a product assessment framework that works alongside Environmental Choice New Zealand and the New Zealand Green Building Council’s Green Star rating system.
“GreenBuild has the potential to make an enormous difference to the way the building industry works, and it is a natural partner to the Green Star rating system,” Mr Finlay says.
The independent evaluation provides a useful first step towards full lifecycle assessment of building products and materials.
Each product’s environmental footprint is rated across five categories — energy use, human health, pollution, resource efficiency, and natural habitats and land use.
GreenBuild foresees a strong demand for this service as few New Zealand manufacturers and distributors are currently able to provide the eco-information that specifiers are seeking.
This novel format for presenting product information allows specifiers to compare the environmental performance of products, providing a sound basis for materials selection.
It also provides manufacturers with a level playing field where they can contrast their products’ environmental performance with similar wares.
It highlights manufacturers’ strengths and areas for potential improvement, ensuring ongoing competitiveness in New Zealand and overseas.
Additional features are also in development to help make the GreenBuild web site an even more valuable tool for architects and specifiers. To find out more, visit www.greenbuild.co.nz.