FAQ Table of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions
What is BuildingGreen?
For over 20 years, BuildingGreen has been the trusted source on healthy and sustainable design and construction strategies available online and in-person through our consulting and training services. Readers of BuildingGreen.com enjoy daily news coverage as well as deeper analysis of strategies, policies, and programs, as well as green products and materials. BuildingGreen previously published a monthly print edition of Environmental Building News (EBN), which is still offered as monthly PDF download for members. BuildingGreen also previously published the GreenSpec product directory, which now appears as BuildingGreen product guidance on BuildingGreen.com and on our Designer Pages platform.
In addition, BuildingGreen publishes the LEEDuser website supporting LEED project certification.
Here's a taste of our current consulting, facilitation, and training initiatives.
What is BuildingGreen membership?
BuildingGreen membership includes online access to all BuildingGreen.com articles, case studies from the High Performance Buildings database, continuing education, and access to our BuildingGreen product guidance platform.
Pick a product category (like “Flooring & Floorcoverings”) from our quick menu. Click through to read our guidance on what products to seek out and which to avoid in that category. This guidance is the distillation of our decades of research and tracking what matters, whether you’re looking at flooring or insulation or paints.
To see which specific products we label BuildingGreen Approved, click through to the collections we’ve gathered and offer free to our members on DesignerPages.com. We’ve sorted through the 350,000 products from 4,500 brands in the Designer Pages database to share the ones that meet our strict criteria. (And there are lots to choose from!)
BuildingGreen offers an independent product evaluation service for our members. Like its predecessor here, GreenSpec, if offers an unbiased look at products: BuildingGreen does not accept any manufacturer fees for our evaluations.
Here’s how it works.
Our team of product experts evaluates each category of building products and materials, and sets a high bar for what we consider “greenest of the green” in that category. We set our bar at a place that is attainable for leading-edge product manufacturers who are actively tackling the key issues in that category.
We then evaluate products in a category against those criteria. Our criteria often rely on third-party certifications, such as the NSF-140 standard in carpet, or BIFMA’s level certification for furniture.
Unlike certifications, however, we rely on a variety of information sources, and place a high value on transparency. For example, in furniture we are looking for products certified to BIFMA level 3, the highest tier of that standard. In addition, we require wood furniture to be FSC-certified, and we also look for products where companies have disclosed key data through an HPD or Declare label.
Our health and sustainability criteria cover hundreds of product categories. In each category we zero in on what issues matter the most. For example, energy efficiency is our most important criterion in mechanical equipment, while forestry certification matters most in flooring.
We are constantly updating our work and raising the bar as new issues come to light and innovation occurs. For example, we recently started excluding fluorescent lighting based on the availability of high-performing, affordable, mercury-free LED products.
As an independet and small, mission-focused team, BuildingGreen is able to move quickly to keep our standards high while looking for products that solve real problems for design teams. Check out our product guides here.
Three main reasons.
1) We can offer our members access to a powerful platform. Designer Pages is a designer-friendly tool that is highly accessible and easy-to-use. It offers a -broad level of product data while featuring Pinterest-like images of products, and offers lots of useful tools, going well beyond a sustainability focus. These include automated sample requests, project history, and specification tools.
With the addition of the BuildingGreen filter and our product guidance, Designer Pages is a full-service site. We’re excited to offer BuildingGreen members access to BuildingGreen’s product data on Designer Pages, as well as complimentary access to many Designer Pages tools. BuildingGreen members can choose to upgrade to a Designer Pages PRO account to access additional tools.
2) Designer Pages has an unrivaled database. It includes over 350,000 products from over 5,500 brands. Designer Pages works with manufacturers on an automated process that pulls in product information directly from company websites, and updates information regularly. Designer Pages also pulls in key health and sustainability information such as certifications and HPDs.
BuildingGreen takes that firehose of data and tames it, applying our trusted expertise to focus in on what really matters, finding the gems, and screening out “ungreen” products.
3) Maintaining our independence: Maintaining that database costs some money, and Designer Pages offers several options for manufacturers, including a way to plug in for free. Its preferred option charges companies a one-time fee of $500 or less to set up an automated connection. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.)
Since launching our first newsletter in 1992 and our first product listings in 1997, BuildingGreen has never taken paid advertising or fees from manufacturers for our listings or reviews. By collaborating with Designer Pages, we can access a great database and offer our insights to our customers, while maintaining the independence we need to do our work.
Our product guidance is focused on categories that are most important for sustainability considerations on commercial projects, with a focus on relevance to architects and interior designers.
When we look at a given product category, we look at products in the Designer Pages database, as well as conducting our own research to solve specific health or sustainability issues. We sometimes add products we’re excited about to DesignerPages.com without manufacturer participation: these are called “stubs.” Preferably, companies work with Designer Pages to automatically pull in their current product data. If you represent a company, contact email@example.com to start that process. Designer Pages charges a nominal fee to pull in product data.
Designer Pages is a separate website from BuildingGreen, so BuildingGreen members need to set up a separate account there. To have an easy experience, make sure your accounts are linked, but following these steps.
BuildingGreen members need to sign in and authenticate their account at Designer Pages. From then on DesignerPages.com will automatically recognize you as a BuildingGreen member. The best way to do this is to start at this page on BuildingGreen.com. Make sure you are signed in as a BuildingGreen member. Then follow the instructions to click through to Designer Pages and set up your account there. If you have any difficulties, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does this offer the same functionality I'm used to?
Our new platform replaces our GreenSpec product database, which is no longer on BuildingGreen.com. The new platform does most of what GreenSpec did, though we’re still working on a couple things. Most notably, DesignerPages.com product data is not currently searchable by LEED credit. Instead, we are creating product collections that address key LEED credits, such as recycled content and HPDs. If you are looking for any information and can’t find it, don’t hesitate to email us: email@example.com.
I see a lot of interior products on Designer Pages. What about other building products and materials?
Designer Pages started out as a tool for interior designers, so those categories are best represented on the site.
In part through its partnership with BuildingGreen, Designer Pages is growing to cover all architectural and building products. Already, all product categories previously covered by BuildingGreen have been incorporated into the tool, and we are working with the Designer Pages team and manufacturers to add far greater numbers of products.
Look for the BuildingGreen Approved logo at the top of a product page on DesignerPages.com. We also have a “BuildingGreen Info” logo if we have looked at a product and haven’t approved it. In both cases, you can scroll down the product page to the “BuildingGreen’s Activity” section to see what we have to say. Look for a link to a product collection, which offers more information.
Yes! As long as you are logged in, you can click the “Request BuildingGreen Review” button on a product page. This will send an email straight to our team. Feel free to include a note about what you’re looking for.
Orders, Memberships and Billing
I have lost or forgotten my password. How can I retrieve it?
Use the password retrieval page to have your password sent to your e-mail address. If you no longer have access to the e-mail address associated with your account, please contact us to reset your password.
How do I renew my BuildingGreen Suite membership?
Follow this link, choose your preferred billing option and complete the checkout process.
I have purchased a monthly auto-renewing membership. How do I cancel the monthly auto-renew?
- Log in to your account
- Click the My Account link in the upper-right.
- Click the tab "Auto-renewals".
- Click "Cancel" next to the auto-renewing fee and confirm that you want to cancel the renewal. You will continue to have the same access to the site until your existing expiration date which you can view on your My Account page.
Monthly auto-renewing subscribers can cancel their auto-renew at any time. Please see the previous frequently asked question for instructions. We offer a 100% money back guarantee on annual memberships. Please call contact us within the first 110 days of your membership to request a full refund.
Every week, and more frequently when there is breaking news, we email BuildingGreen Bulletin email newsletter subscribers with fresh content. Sign up here.
What browsers does BuildingGreen.com support?
BuildingGreen officially supports Internet Explorer 8+, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. If you are having trouble viewing content on our site with any of these browsers please let us know. Users of older browsers (particularly Internet Explorer 6 or 7) are encouraged to upgrade their browsers for a more secure and enjoyable experience (both on our site and in general!).
I am having trouble viewing a PDF I downloaded from your web site. What should I do?
First make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader. We do not officially support older versions of Adobe Reader or other PDF viewing software. If you have confirmed you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader but are still having trouble, please contact us.
What are Reader-to-Reader comments and how do I participate?
BuildingGreen Suite members can post comments to articles and product listings. The Reader-to-Reader help page has information about how to post comments and track discussions.
I can't make a scheduled webcast time. Will it be recorded?
Yes, nearly all our webcasts are recorded and offered on-demand to our members, along with downloads of slides. If you registered for the webcast, and/or are signed up to receive our emails, you should receive notification when a webcast is available.
Can I earn CEUs for attending a webcast?
Yes. CEUs are available for most of our live webcasts, and are automatically reported to accrediting organizations—most often AIA, GBCI, and ILFI. You will have to take a survey at the end to verify attendance. Most of our on-demand webcasts also offer CEUs. The specific CEUs available are displayed in our CEU catalog. You will need to take a quiz to verify meeting the learning objectives.
I need a certificate of completion. Do you provide those?
For on-demand webcasts and other CEUs—yes. For live webcasts, please fill out the survey at the end and include a note requesting a certification, or contact us.
There is an on-demand webcast on your site that does not seem to offer CEUs. What's up with that?
In some cases, a newly recorded webcast (within the last three weeks) may still be in the process of getting CEU approval. In other cases, this likely means that the webcast does not meet the standards of our CEU accreditors—probably because it discusses specific building products. In those cases, you may still be able to self-report self-study CEU hours according to the policies of the accrediting body.
I am trying to attend a live webcast and am having technical difficulties. Please help!
Not that this is helpful right now, but we recommend testing your connection to our webcast server prior to live events. Audio and visual display is through your computer—there is no dial-in number. Most A/V problems reported to us by webcast attendees are due to insufficient bandwidth on your end. Please check that your bandwidth is not competing with other high-demand applications. Try logging back in. Try contacting us if that doesn't work. If all else fails—we apologize, and as noted above, this will be offered as a recording!
Can I get a copy of your editorial calendar?
We do not publish an editorial calendar. We also do not sell advertising in our publications.
I love your site. Can I do a guest post?
In most cases, we do not publish guest posts. Please contact us only if you have exceptional expertise or insight, you know what our website is about and are familiar with our content, you are not looking to promote a specific product or service (i.e., you must be willing to let your expertise do the selling), and you can send us a sample of your work.