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Two of the best sources are the American Institute of Architect's Environmental Resource Guides and the National Park Service's Environmentally Responsible Building Product Guide. As a subjective means of recording, tabulating, and reporting positive and negative environmental actions, report cards should be kept for each material or product in a development. The selection of materials for a sustainable design is then a matter of weighing of report cards for the lowest total environmental loss.
Selection Priorities
When their source is sustainable:
" Natural materials are less energy-intensive and polluting to produce, and contribute less to indoor air pollution.
" Local materials have a reduced level of energy cost and air pollution associated with their transportation, and can help sustain the local economy.
" Durable materials can save on energy costs for maintenance as well as for the production and installation of replacement products.
In selecting building materials, it is helpful to prioritize them by origin, avoiding materials from nonrenewable sources.
Primary - materials found in nature such as stone, earth, flora (hemp, jute, reed, wool), cotton, and wood
" ensure new lumber is from certified sustainably managed forests or certified naturally felled trees
" use caution that any associated treatments, additives, or adhesives do not contain toxins or off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to indoor air/atmospheric pollution

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