Green Product Pages - General
Company and Product Profile Forms
Specific Questions on the Profile
Using the Manufacturers Website
Using the Public Website
Green Product Pages - General
001. What is Green Product Pages?
Green Product Pages is a comprehensive Internet resource
for anyone interested in sustainable design and building,
a tool for architects, designers, builders, engineers, spec
writers, and construction clients. Our materials database
provides these users with all the necessary product and
contact information, as well as comments on detailed environmental
and social criteria that show the overall sustainability
of a product. We are a for-profit business dedicated to
the research and promotion of sustainable building materials.
002. How did Green Product Pages get
started? Who is behind it all?
Green Product Pages began as the Sustainable Building
Materials Resource Guide, the brainchild of Marilyn Farmer,
AIA, at Habitat Studio, San Luis Obispo, California. Years
of her personal and professional research in sustainability
and sustainable building, as well as a growing database
of over 2,000 building materials, continuously added to
and maintained by her architectural office, have accumulated
into what is now the Green Product Pages website. Go to
to see other organizations
and individuals who have contributed to the development
of Green Product Pages.
003. How can I contact the Green Building
For questions regarding the Green Product Pages content,
or sustainable design in general, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
To report a technical error on the website, send an e-mail
Or write to us at: 1350 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, CA
004. Are all products listed on the Green
Building Pages actually "green"?
No, not necessarily. We provide product information
based on the Green Product Pages Criteria, and typically,
only "green" product manufacturers are interested in having
their product evaluated based on "green" criteria. The company
approves the publication of all submitted company and product
information before the product is listed in the searchable
materials database. The design of the Company and Product
Profile Forms together with the transparency of the information
and criteria system, help to avoid misleading claims to
005. How does Green Product Pages evaluate
the products listed?
The GBP Product and Company Profile Forms gather extensive
data on products and companies. This data gets filtered
through the GBP Criteria to distill it into the product's
GBP Sustainability Profile. This filtering, or evaluation,
process can be viewed in detail by following the links
on the Sustainability Profile.
006. How can I support Green Building
Link to our website. Use it often.
Spread the word. Send us feedback. Send the manufacturers
feedback. Ask them the questions they have not answered.
If you know of a particular product that does not appear
on Green Product Pages, ask the manufacturer to register
Company & Product Profile
Forms – General
101. What are the Company & Product
Manufacturers use the Company and Product Profile Forms
to provide Green Product Pages with the information necessary
to complete the GBP Evaluation. Our database saves one Company
Profile per registered product manufacturer and one Product
Profile for each product that the manufacturer adds to the
database. All information provided in the Profiles is available
to the public once the product is approved to be published
on the GBP website, by clicking on the "More information"
link at the bottom of the Product Page.
102. Why are there so many questions
about the company's business practices?
A sustainable system generally can be defined in environmental,
economic and social terminology. In economic terminology,
a sustainable economic system is one in which the expenditures
are at least equal or less than the income. In social terminology,
a sustainable social system is one in which all members
are empowered to contribute, creating a synergistic whole.
The total sustainability of a product, therefore,
depends as much upon the company that makes the product,
and the impact of the company's business in the economic
and social realms, as it depends upon the actual environmental
impact of the product itself. The Company Profile is Green
Building Pages' acknowledgment that a truly sustainable
system involves more than just environmental factors. This
multifaceted approach to sustainability includes understanding
the economic and social impact of the company that manufactures
and sells a given product. The Company Profile section gives
companies the opportunity to describe policies and procedures
that give added depth to products' "green" claims.
103. What is a "chain of custody"?
"Chain of custody" refers to taking "upstream" and "downstream"
responsibility for a product. Green Product Pages' goal
with the Chain of Custody category is to encourage the tracking
of the product from its original raw material sources to
its final sale, to help manufacturers better understand
the effects of their products upstream and downstream of
the manufacturing process. Some certifying agencies have
developed specific criteria for a Chain of Custody Certification.
Green Product Pages does not certify Chain of Custody for
the product profile information, but does encourage it by
awarding points for asking suppliers to fill out the Green
Building Pages Product Questionnaire
104. What is a "social chain of custody",
and why do we ask about it?
"Social chain of custody" refers to taking "upstream"
and "downstream" responsibility for a product's social consequences,
acknowledging that giving business to a particular company
condones their business practices. Green Product Pages
encourages companies to investigate the policies and procedures
of suppliers with which they conduct business by awarding
points for asking them to fill out the Green
Building Pages Supplier Questionnaire
105. Does the form have to be so long?
Yes. The Product and Company Profile Forms are long
because they are comprehensive, covering all facets
of a product's sustainability. Although sustainability is
a simple biological concept, evaluating the sustainability
of a given system is quite complex. Gathering the necessary
information in such a way that does not allow for subjective
interpretations that lead to inflated or undervalued perceptions,
adds to the complexity of this evaluation process. The length
of the forms also depends upon the complexity of the material
itself. Almost half of all the information requested in
the forms refers to the manufacturing process of the material
- a more complex manufacturing process will require more
information for evaluation.
106. How were the questions on the
profile forms developed?
Green Product Pages developed its Product and Company
Profile Forms in part from compilations of "green criteria"
from other recognized sources, and expanded based on independent
research in materials processing and the environmental impact
of the materials manufacturing industry. Consequently, GBP's
Product and Company Profile forms are the most comprehensive
of its kind to be published. Many of the sources for GBP
research can be found in the Links
section of our website.
107. How are answers evaluated?
Once a Product Profile has been submitted for evaluation,
the information is processed through the GBP Evaluation
Criteria formulas that generate the Product Sustainability
Review. Portions of the Criteria are more subjective and
cannot be evaluated by computer programming. These criteria
items are researched and evaluated individually by a GBP
staff member. GBP staff then review the Criteria Evaluation
for accuracy, and create and edit the Product Page for final
108. What is the minimum required information?
Green Product Pages requires certain information to
be given before we will evaluate a product or list it
on our website. All questions in the following categories
must be answered before submitting the Product Profile
Specific Questions on the
Profile Forms – Listed by Category
Production & Manufacture
201. What is considered an "input"?
Green Product Pages considers an input to be anything
going into as well as anything "in front of" the production
process. For example, if a product's production process
begins with a material that has been manufactured in another
process or by another company (e.g., vinyl), the "inputs"
include the inputs of the upstream material.
202. What if an input material is a
composite material made by another company?
The information about the components of the composite
material must be obtained from the supplier. The Product
can be used to obtain this information,
earning additional points under the Chain of Custody criteria
203. What if I can't get information
on an input material from the supplier of that input?
Consider using another supplier for that material. Truly
investing in the concept of sustainability requires using
your sphere of influence to promote and encourage a wholly
sustainable design. Sustainability is about the interconnection
of all systems, not about maintaining an artificial standard
for just one supposedly isolated process.
204. What do you mean "% of Final Product
Weight"? What if an input is not part of the final product?
We ask for the weight of the input as a percentage of
the final product weight in order to create a common denominator
for all the inputs. The number entered for "% of Final Product
Weight" may be over 100, since the input does not necessarily
have to be physically present in the final product, or present
in the same quantity in the final product as in the beginning
of the manufacturing process. This way of normalizing weights
is also used when asking about outputs and recyclable components
(in the End of Product Life section).
205. How am I supposed to determine
the "average distance from supplier to manufacturer" for
If the input material always comes from the same source
at the same location and always goes to the same manufacturing
location, then this number would not be an average, but
rather just the total number of miles from the origin to
the place of manufacture. If the input material comes from
several different locations, or goes to several different
locations, then this number should be the average of the
total distances from each place of origin to manufacturing
facility. The total distance from origin to manufacture
includes the travel to/from intermediate stops (e.g., to/from
warehouses or distribution centers), especially with composite
materials. Exact distances are not necessary -- distances
should be rounded as appropriate for their length (e.g.,
to the nearest 100 miles if over 1,000 miles, to the nearest
10 miles if under 100 miles, etc.). The answer to this question
is not required for the initial submittal
of the Product Profile.
206. Why isn't water included in the
Water is a separate category because water used for
production and for building facilities is seldom recorded
or measured separately. Water comes into the manufacturing
center and leaves the manufacturing center regardless of
whether it is used in the manufacturing process, and is
an increasingly precious natural resource.
207. What if water in the manufacturing
facility is used for more than just the manufacturing process?
Why isn't water used for the building systems distinguished
from the water used for manufacturing the product?
Green Product Pages asks for the quantity of water
in a manufacturing facility for the
reasons described above
. We ask for the
quantity of water used per unit of product in order to have
a normalizing factor in evaluating the quantity. In this
way, a small manufacturer is not being evaluated on a scale
more appropriate for a large manufacturer, and vice versa.
208. Why ask the distance to each distributor?
Studies have shown that transportation of materials
has significant environmental impact. Damages vary greatly
depending on the length of distance and the type of transportation
vehicle used. The distance between the point of manufacture
and the distributor accounts for a portion of the product's
environmental impact due to transportation. The distances
entered in Inputs account for transportation on the front
end of the manufacturing process. The "Transportation" category
is not required for initial submittal
of the Product Profile.
Installation, Use & Maintenance
221. Why does it matter if machinery
is required for installation?
Many Production & Manufacture questions address
the "embodied energy" of a product, or the energy associated
with the product in its creation. The concept of "embodied
energy" also applies to the product after production, in
the energy required to maintain a useful product (Installation
and Maintenance). A building material may have low embodied
energy coming out of production, but then require a great
deal more energy to install and/or maintain than a similar
material that has a high embodied energy from production
but comes "ready-to-use" with little or no maintenance required
(e.g., traditional wood roof joists versus prefabricated
End of Product Life
241. What is the difference between
"biodegradable" and "compostable"?
A "biodegradable" material can be decomposed by the
action of microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, into basic
elements or compounds where it is considered "food" for
another living organism. Most manufactured products biodegrade
slowly, if at all, and emit toxic substances throughout
the decomposition process -- the reason Green Product Pages
differentiates between "biodegradable" and "non-toxic biodegradable".
These same microbes can also decompose a "compostable" material,
and release nutrients and organic matter back into the earth;
the material could theoretically be composted for garden
soil. Something "compostable" is biodegradable by definition,
however biodegradable does not necessarily mean "compostable".
Testing & Certifications
261. Do all testing results
and documentation have to be available to the public?
Yes. The system must be transparent, to allow consumers
to make informed decisions as they choose.
262. What does "cruelty-free" mean?
In general, "cruelty-free" is a marketing claim used
along with "not tested on animals" or "no animal testing"
to suggest that no animals have suffered in the process
of bringing a product to market. Green Product Pages defines
"cruelty-free" specifically to mean that no tests or processes
required for the manufacture or marketing of a particular
product, its inputs or by-products, involve animals (live
or dead), or animal by-products for which the animal is
281. What if a company uses manufacturing
facilities in other countries where OSHA standards do not
Green Product Pages uses OSHA as the universal standard
for facilities safety maintenance as a common denominator,
against which all companies are evaluated, regardless of
the location of the facilities. Even if the manufacturing
facility is not located in the U.S. and therefore not legally
bound to OSHA standards, this question must be answered
based on how the facility measures up to OSHA
282. What is the difference between
"community involvement" and "charitable giving"?
"Community involvement" refers to participation in or
development of community events or groups --forums for community
action or education in the form of workshops, lectures,
etc. "Charitable giving" refers to time or money donated
to non-profit organizations. Time or money donated to local
non-profits may be counted under either of the two categories,
but not both.
Using the Manufacturers Website
301. What is the "manufacturers website"?
The "manufacturers website" on Green Product Pages
is where representatives of product manufacturers may enter
company and product information in order to be included
in the Green Product Pages.
Any company may register with Green Product Pages via
a Primary Contact Person (PCP)
. The PCP
must be the company representative with the authority to
submit, review and authorize publication of company and
product information on the Green Product Pages website.
303. How can a company register?
From the Manufacturer's Login, click on "Register Now".
You will be asked to provide basic information about your
company before being logged into your new company account.
A username and password will be e-mailed automatically to
the e-mail address provided -- it should arrive immediately
to your inbox. There is no fee for registering with Green
304. What if I register my company
and then decide not to use Green Product Pages?
Registration is free, so if you register and later decide
not to continue with Green Product Pages, there is no charge.
An account will automatically be removed after one year
of inactivity. To remove your account prior to the one-year
limit, send an e-mail requesting account removal to email@example.com
Include your company's name and address, as well as your
name (as PCP
), telephone number and mailing
address. No information is published without authorization
of the Primary Contact Person.
305. Who is the Primary Contact Person?
Can the Primary Contact Person be changed?
The Primary Contact Person (PCP) is the company representative
with whom Green Product Pages will correspond. The PCP
must have the authority to submit, review and authorize
publication of company and product information. The PCP
contact information will not be made public and will only
be used for GBP correspondence. Only the current PCP may
change the PCP information, including the name, e-mail address,
username, and password. This may be done from within the
company account, under the "Account Information" menu.
306. Who is the Public Contact Person?
The Public Contact Person is the company representative
whose contact information will be made public via the published
Product Page. This person should have the ability to answer
or field questions coming from potential consumers using
the Green Product Pages.
307. How can I block certain users'
access to information on the company's Green Product Pages
may control additional users' access when they log into
the company's GBP account by setting access privileges or
"permissions" for each user. To access the permissions settings
for each company user, open the "Account Information" menu
from within the company account and click on "User Administration".
A list of all registered company users and their access
privileges will appear.
308. Why can't I access certain information
about my company or product?
Most likely, you are an "additional user" authorized
by the PCP
to have access to your company's
Green Product Pages account. Additional users are authorized
or denied access to certain account information as determined
by the PCP. You should contact your company's PCP regarding
access privileges. If you are the PCP or otherwise given
"Administrator" privileges by the PCP, and still cannot
access certain areas of your account, please e-mail GBP's
tech support at firstname.lastname@example.org
309. How is information that I enter
on this website saved? Is it secure?
Green Product Pages only displays to the public information
that has been approved for publication by the company
PCP. Other users may change data on the profiles, and
Green Product Pages will track and maintain those changes,
but they will not be displayed to the public until approved
by the company PCP. Additionally, many changes to profiles
require additional review by Green Product Pages staff.
310. How often may I update my company
and/or product information?
You may update and add new information on the database
at any time. Changes made to certain information will
require a GBP Evaluation, while other information will
not. Therefore, there are two time scales to consider
when updating information. Submitted changes to the following
items will be updated on the Product Page listing within
All company contact information, including URL's,
Public Contact Person information, HQ address
All distributor information, including adding new
distributors and removing old distributors
Product name (for currently published products)
Product CSI category
LEED Credit Opportunities
All other items require a GBP Evaluation and more extensive
review prior to publication. Changes to these items will
be evaluated and updated once per quarter.
311. I've saved all the information
I have on my product. How do I get it published on the public
Green Product Pages website?
Product information that is ready to be published must
be submitted to Green Product Pages. Click on the "Submit
Profiles" button to see a list of profiles that are eligible
for submittal (there is a minimum of information
that must be provided before a profile is eligible). Submitting
the profile notifies Green Product Pages that information
is either ready for evaluation or ready to be updated
. All information will be published
after written approval of the PCP
due payment is received.
312. How do I remove a product from
the Green Product Pages?
A product that is already published on the public database
may be removed by written request from the PCP
Green Product Pages will process the request upon receipt.
Mail requests to: Green Product Pages, 1350 Marsh Street,
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.
Using the Public Website
401. What is the "public website"?
The "public website" is the consumer-side, free-access
website at www.greenbuildingpages.com. Information on the
public website can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, but
edited only by Green Product Pages. There is also the "manufacturers
website", which is a login site where registered manufacturers
may enter and edit company and product information prior
402. How do I search for a product or
There are several ways to search for a product on Green
- Green attributes and keywords
- LEED Credit Opportunities
- CSI Category
- Product Name
- Manufacturer Name
- Location or Distance from Jobsite
- Cross-referenced Case Studies
A list of products closest matching your search query
will be generated. Click on the product name from that list
to access the Product Page, which includes an image, contact
info, links, LEED Credit Opportunities and detailed information
about the product's overall sustainability.
403. What are CSI categories?
CSI stands for Construction
, an organization that has developed
an industry standard for organizing and specifying the thousands
of different types of building materials used in construction.
The 5-digit sequence begins with the 2-digit division number
(01 through 16), followed by a 3-digit nesting category
number, meaning the first digit denotes a more general category
than the last.
404. What if the product I'm looking
for isn't listed?
Because our website charges manufacturers for their
product listing, not all products will be listed on our
website. We periodically advertise Green Product Pages
to manufacturers at conferences and via e-mail, so if you
would like to see a particular product on Green Building
Pages, please let us know. Send us an e-mail with your name
and ZIP code (so we know roughly where you are coming from),
and everything you know about the product so that we may
identify the manufacturer and contact them. Your name and
e-mail will not be shared with any other party.
405. How do I find a sustainable design
406. May I link my sustainability-related
organization or business to Green Product Pages?
Yes! We just ask that you
let us know if you are linking to our website
from yours, so we may keep track of our
web exposure. The GBP logo and all contents
of the GBP are copyrighted. We provide logos and text you can use on your site to link to ours in the Links & Resources
section. If you would like
your organization included in GBP's Links &
, e-mail a request to email@example.com
Include the name of the organization, a short
description or mission statement, the name of
the contact person, an e-mail address and URL.
407. I'm the owner/builder/designer of
a sustainable building project. Will Green Product Pages
include it in the Case Studies database?
Green Product Pages is happy to research a sustainable
building project and consider it for inclusion in our case
studies database. E-mail your request to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Include the name of the building project and its location,
the client's name, the architect or designer, the name and
e-mail of the contact person (it could be the owner, architect,
contractor, or a third party), and an explanation of why
it is a case study for sustainable building. You may also
include a URL if the project has a website, or an image
of the project, finished or under construction. Permission
for use on the Green Product Pages website must accompany
any image sent.