Green building looks at the whole house and how systems interrelate, including impacts on the health and comfort of occupants. Choosing products is an important part of the process. Some green building products have measurable benefits for homeowners, such as using less electricity or not off-gassing formaldehyde. Others have attributes that likely reduce their impact on the environment, such as recycled content or local manufacture. Selecting products with multiple benefits and attributes is the best approach.
Product and company directories
- Building Reuse provides searchable directory of companies that sell and/ or accept used or surplus wood-based building materials.
- Shop the Frog is an online directory of products bearing the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal.
- Energy Star lists products, manufacturers, and store locations for energy-efficient appliances, heating and cooling products, home electronics, lighting, windows and doors, and more.
- A subscription-based online directory, BuildingGreen's GreenSpec Directory lists more than 2,200 environmentally preferable products.
- Minnesota Recycled Products Directory contains sections on construction and landscaping building products made with recycled materials by Minnesota manufacturers.
- The Minnesota Energy Information Center offers the latest news and features on energy programs and energy-related topics.
- WaterSense, a program of U.S. EPA, provides listings of water-saving, high-performing products and services.
- Some large home improvement stores have adopted the sustainable forestry principles of the Forest Stewardship Council and carry some FSC-certified products.
Retail showrooms and sales outlets in Minnesota
Surplus and salvaged reusable building products
- Better Futures Minnesota provides deconstruction opportunities as well as a building material warehouse.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStores (12 locations in Minnesota) carry used and surplus building materials and household items like recycled paint, furniture, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and more.
Sustainably harvested forest products (FSC chain of custody)
True North Woods is a regional, non-profit association that fosters the awareness of the value of sustainably managed working forests, stimulates appreciation and use of the cold-forged native species of the True North Woods, and promotes artisans and manufacturers that utilize environmentally friendly materials and productions methods. True North Woods received approval as a FSC group certification program in 2009. Members supply environmentally friendly wood products to customer from Maine to California and are located in the Upper Midwest.
Verification and testing
- Home performance testing includes blower door testing, inspection of mechanical systems, insulation inspection, and carbon monoxide testing. The Minnesota Building Performance Association lists home performance consultants.
- Radon testing information and how to obtain kits can be found at the Minnesota Department of Health website.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce website has information about home energy efficiency and getting a home energy assessment.
Check out the University of Minnesota Extension’s website with energy efficiency tools and performance information.
Construction and demolition waste: recycling and reuse
- RethinkRecycling provides information about reducing, reusing, recycling, and disposing of hazardous waste generated from home improvement and construction projects in the Twin Cities metro area.
- Use free online market tools such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to list no longer items for resale or to give away, or to browse and shop for your home.