A few months ago I discovered a budding resource for sustainable materials, Ecolect. Initially, I was drawn to their site because of an article about a Materials Petting Zoo. I thought it was a clever idea and it showed that Ecolect understood their target audience. Whenever we get new products in the office, everyone wants to touch it, bend it, smell it, and sometimes- see if we can break it.
Ecolect's goal is to help designers, architects, and builders source environmentally friendly construction materials. Their online material library includes roof decking, insulation, textiles and flooring. At post, there were only three pages of materials. (I have a larger collection of products in my personal stash- but I look forward to watching this resource grow.)
For $895 (eek!) your firm can subscribe to their "GreenBox" program. Every 3 months you will receive 8-12 new materials , specs, performance overviews, pricing and distributor information. Personally, I think it's pricey, especially since your reps can give you information and samples for free.
In addition to materials, Ecolect is a great source for links, case studies, articles, reader reviews, and an informative blog. What interested me most, is Ecolect seems to be moving towards becoming a 3rd party green product certifier. Currently, Ecolect is testing a "Nutrition Label" for building products that quickly highlights it's environmental impact.
Lately, it seems a lot of third party certifiers are coming out of the woodwork (there are over 1,200 according to link)-I plan to keep an eye on Ecolect to see how they plan to separate themselves from the crowd.
On a side note:
This Nutrition Label concept is becoming very popular. I heard the furniture industry was planning to start a similar "Nutrition Label" program. (I think this was inspired by the USGBC's Nutrition Label for buildings.)
For more information about 3rd party green certifiers check out these presentation summaries & articles:
Third-Party Certifiers Depend on Reputation @ 2009 HD Expo
It's Certified Green But What Does That Mean? @ AIA's 2008 Boston Convention
Independent Certifiers of Green Building Products by Tint of Green