Welcome to our library of certifications and ecolabels! At ecomedes, we know that navigating the world of green building can be complicated. We have created a list of descriptions to help explain some of the certifications and ecolabels featured on our site. We hope it helps!
Language below has been pulled and edited from online resources.
Building Rating Systems
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most. It is run by the third party non-profit U.S. Green Building Council. LEED v4.1 is the next generation standard for green building design, construction, operations and performance
LEED helps buildings to focus on efficiency and leadership to deliver the triple bottom line returns of people, planet and profit.
Area of Focus - Buildings
See products that contribute to LEED Certification here: https://materialsforleed.ecomedes.com/
LBC (Living Building Challenge):
The Living Building Challenge is an international sustainable building certification program created in 2006 by the non-profit International Living Future Institute. LBC 4.0 focuses on the relationship between impact and effort. While LBC 4.0 continues the standard’s mission of visionary, but attainable building goals, it also recognizes that not all projects face the same challenges or share in the same opportunities. Regenerative design should be attainable to everyone, everywhere. With 4.0, they are creating a streamlined approach focused on maximizing positive impacts specific to the place, community, and culture of the project.
Area of Focus - Buildings
The WELL Building Standard® is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.
Area of Focus - Buildings
Green Globes is an online assessment protocol, rating system, and guidance for green building design, operation and management. It is interactive, flexible and affordable, and provides market recognition of a building's environmental attributes through third-party assessment. It is run by the Green Building Initiative (GBI).
Area of Focus - Buildings
Ecolabels & Certifications
BIFMA level certification is a voluntary standard for business and institutional furniture manufacturers. The standard establishes measurable criteria for multiple levels of achievement and performance for manufacturers at different stages of their sustainability journey. Manufacturers that achieve level certification demonstrate to the marketplace that their products, manufacturing facilities and company policies have met stringent third-party sustainability requirements.
BIFMA level certification applicants can pursue credits in four categories: Materials, Energy and Atmosphere, Human and Ecosystem Health, and Social Responsibility. Each category features prerequisites as well as credits related to products, manufacturing facilities and the organization as a whole.
Area of Focus - Furniture
See BIFMA LEVEL Certified Products here: https://level.ecomedes.com/
Biobased products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials and provide an alternative to conventional petroleum derived products. Biobased products include diverse categories such as lubricants, cleaning products, inks, fertilizers, and bioplastics. For the purposes of the BioPreferred Program, biobased products do not include food, animal feed, or fuel. This document provides more information about biobased content and how it is determined. Products participating in the voluntary labelling initiative have their biobased content measured using ASTM D6866 as part of the certification process.
Area of Focus - Biobased Materials
Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. To receive certification, products are assessed for environmental and social performance across five critical sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.
Area of Focus - Building materials, interior design products, textiles and fabrics, paper and packaging, and personal and home care products
Declare is an ingredients label for building products. It allows manufacturers to demonstrate their leadership in the marketplace and it provides consumers with honest information for product selection.
Area of Focus - Ingredient Disclosure
The DesignLights Consortium® (DLC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to achieve energy optimization by enabling interconnected solutions with a focus on quality for people and the environment. The DLC promotes high-quality, energy-efficient lighting products in collaboration with utilities and energy efficiency program members, manufacturers, lighting designers, and federal, state, and local entities. Through these partnerships, the DLC establishes product quality specifications, facilitates thought leadership, and provides information, education, tools and technical expertise.
Area of Focus - Light Fixtures
Double Green™ is a certification program developed and administered by Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) to encourage the use and purchase of products manufactured using recycled post-consumer carpet. The Double Green™ certification program applies to any product comprised of, or containing, at least 10% recycled post-consumer carpet material in addition to at least 10% of another post-consumer recycled material. Double Green™ is a verification of material composition; it is not an indication or endorsement of product performance, product quality, safety, environmental impact, or any other criteria.
Area of Focus - Carpet
See Double Green Certified Products here: https://care.ecomedes.com/
The ECOLOGO Certification Program was acquired by UL Environment, a division of UL (Underwriters Laboratories) in 2010. ECOLOGO Certification is based on multiattribute, life cycle–based standards. All products certified to an ECOLOGO standard must meet or exceed each of the listed criteria before receiving the mark. ECOLOGO Certification is classified as an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Type 1 ecolabel and has been successfully assessed by the Global Ecolabeling Network, further demonstrating its credibility.
Area of Focus - Materials, Life Cycle, Building Materials, Cleaners, High Tech and Office Products, Mineral Exploration, Paper, Plastic, Personal Care, Renewable Energy
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary government-backed program dedicated to helping individuals protect the environment through energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR mark is the national symbol for energy efficiency, making it easy for consumers and businesses to identify high-quality, energy-efficient products, homes, and commercial and industrial buildings. ENERGY STAR distinguishes what is efficient/better for the environment without sacrificing features or performance. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR mark prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Area of Focus - Energy consuming products
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD):
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is an independently verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products. As a voluntary declaration of the life-cycle environmental impact, having an EPD for a product does not imply that the declared product is environmentally superior to alternatives.
Area of Focus - Construction, Food and Beverage, Paper Products, Textiles, Footwear, Apparel, Vehicles, Electricity, Machinery, Metal, Mineral, Plastic, Glass, Chemicals, Infrastructure
FloorScore® is the most recognized indoor air quality (IAQ) certification standard for hard surface flooring materials, adhesives, and underlayments. Developed by SCS with the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), a leading industry trade association of flooring manufacturers and suppliers, it qualifies for many green building schemes including LEED v4, WELL, BREEAM, and CHPS.
Area of Focus - Flooring
Forest Stewardship Council:
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, member-led, non-profit organization that assures environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically prosperous forest management through independent third-party certification and labeling of wood, paper and other forest products.
Area of Focus - Forests and forestry products
Green Label Plus:
Green Label Plus meets, and even exceeds, California’s indoor quality standards for low-emitting products used in commercial settings such as schools and office buildings. The carpet industry took the initiative to enhance its GreenLabel program for carpet, adhesives and cushion to meet testing protocols used by the Collaborative for HighPerformance Schools (CHPS). Under the agreement between CRI and the California agencies, Green Label Plus is acceptable for the CHPS low-emitting materials criteria for use in schools.
Area of Focus - Carpets, Adhesives, Cushions
Green Seal Certified:
Green Seal has developed life-cycle-based, multi-attribute standards and certifies products and services that meet them. Operating as a nonprofit since its founding in 1989, they have certified thousands of products and services in over 450 categories and are specified by countless schools, government agencies, businesses, and institutions looking to green their purchasing.
Area of Focus - Wide range of sectors (paints, adhesives, lamps, electric chillers, windows, window films, occupancy sensors)
Green Squared certification was developed by TCNA to acknowledge products which have been verified by an independent 3rd party to be in conformance with ANSI A138.1. Products certified under Green Squared are allowed use of the Green Squared Certified mark. This easily-recognizable mark helps architects, designers, and end users choose products and rest assured that the products they are choosing meet the industry's broad range of sustainability criteria.
Area of Focus - Tiles and tile installations
GreenCircle Certified, LLC provides third-party certification of sustainable aspects of products and manufacturing operations. Manufacturers, suppliers, regulators, and consumers can be assured that products labeled with the GreenCircle Certified mark have been thoroughly assessed and their claim verified. By issuing a GreenCircle Certification, GreenCircle Certified demonstrates that it has evaluated and verified the information provided by the manufacturer and that the manufacturer is capable of, and consistently produces, a product that is in compliance with their sustainability claim. GreenCircle Certified offers claim validation for recycled content, rapidly renewable resource content, carbon footprint reductions, and renewable energy use. Certifications are also available for a closed loop product, life cycle assessment (LCA) optimized products, and sustainable manufacturing practices.
Area of Focus - Materials, Carbon Footprint, Life Cycle Assessment
GSA Approval or Certification is a status used to depict companies have been affirmed to offer to the US Government. This process is through the U.S. General Administrations Organization (GSA). The GSA is the buying division of the U.S. Government. They record contracts or schedules that potential merchants can offer on to get government business.
Area of Focus - Materials, Government Supplier
See GSA Approved Products here: SFTool.ecomedes
Health Product Declaration (HPD):
Health Product Declarations (HPDs) provide a full disclosure of the potential chemicals of concern in products by comparing product ingredients to a set of priority “hazard” lists based on the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals and additional lists from other government agencies.
Area of Focus - Chemicals
Healthier Hospitals Compliant:
The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), a coalition of major health systems and organizations committed to improving sustainability and safety across the healthcare sector, has created the Healthier Hospitals Agenda to chart a path to a healthier, more sustainable and more cost effective healthcare system. HHI is partnering with Health Care Without Harm, Practice Green health, and The Center for Health Design to provide expertise and technical assistance and to develop and implement training and other programs to help hospitals carry out the HHI agenda recommendations.
Area of Focus - Hospitals
NSF/ANSI 140 Carpet:
This standard for carpet includes a rating system with established performance requirements and quantifiable metrics throughout the supply chain for: public health and environment; energy and energy efficiency; bio-based, recycled content materials; environmentally preferable materials; manufacturing; and reclamation and end-of-life management.
Area of Focus - Carpet
NSF/ANSI 332 Resilient Floor Coverings:
The NSF/ANSI 332 Sustainability Assessment Standard for Resilient Floor Coverings is a standard that was created to identify the environmental performance and sustainability attributes of products and to provide a method of tracking incremental changes to the products’ sustainability profile. Using a point-based system, the NSF 332 standard measures five key areas: product design, manufacturing, long-term value, corporate governance and innovation. When audited against the NSF 332 standard, a product may achieve up to 100 possible points. Based on point values, products can be awarded Conformant, Silver, Gold and Platinum level certifications.
Area of Focus - Flooring Coverings
NSF/ANSI 342 Wall Coverings:
The WA NSF/ANSI 342 standard evaluates all types of wall covering products across the entire life cycle from raw material extraction through end of life disposal. The standard allows for transparency into the performance of individual products, their manufacturers and their distributors. It establishes a consistent and comprehensive approach to the evaluation of environmentally preferable and sustainable wall coverings. This tool will help easily identify wall coverings that reduce the impact on our environment and help you to make an informed decision in your next project.
Area of Focus - Wall Coverings
NSF/ANSI 347 Single Ply Roofing Membranes:
NSF/ANSI 347, Sustainability Assessment for Single Ply Roofing Membranes, is the first standard for evaluating and certifying sustainable attributes of single-ply roofing membranes over their entire life cycle. As products with environmental claims continue to enter the marketplace, independent, third-party certification of products to national standards can help architects and specifiers make educated decisions about product selection. NSF 347 provides a standard of excellence in sustainability for the entire single ply roofing industry. It is now one of eight consensus-based sustainability standards developed through NSF for building products. It is also the first one that addresses the building envelope, carrying with it significant potential for improving building energy efficiency while positively impacting the quality of the urban environment.
Area of Focus - Single Ply Roofing Membranes
Safer Choice Certified:
Safer Choice is EPA's label for safer chemical-based products. Every chemical, regardless of percentage, in a Safer Choice-labeled product is evaluated through EPA's rigorous scientific process and only the safest ingredients are allowed.
Area of Focus - Toxic Chemicals
SCS Global Services:
SCS Indoor Advantage certifications demonstrate that products meet indoor air quality standards pertaining to emissions that may be harmful to human health and the environment. SCS Indoor Advantage applies to furnishings and qualifies for the BIFMA furniture emissions standard, while SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certification applies to furniture plus a broader range of interior building materials such as paint, carpet, and insulation. Gold-level certification meets California Section 01350 IAQ standards for both residential and commercial application. Both certifications help products qualify for low-emitting material credits within the LEED rating systems.
Area of Focus - Wide range of products ( i.e. carpets, textiles, wood products, insulation, and more)
TCO Certified is the world’s most comprehensive sustainability certification for IT products. The broad set of life cycle criteria, along with independent verification help drive greater environmental and social responsibility in eight product categories, including computers, displays and other electronic devices.\
Area of Focus - Office Electronics
Sustainable Minds Transparency Reports are their brand of an EPD. The goal is to drive purchase decisions by making LCA and environmental performance information easy to understand. They are strategic marketing and lead generation tools, organized into three comprehensive and easy to understand pages. Manufacturers can present a product's functional and environmental performance attributes and make LCA results understandable by describing what they are actually doing to make their products greener, giving the reader visibility into decisions being made across the product's life cycle. Decision-makers can quickly review and make well-informed greener purchase decisions.
Area of Focus - Construction Materials, Plumbing Systems
GREENGUARD Certification is part of UL Environment, a business unit of UL (Underwriters Laboratories). GREENGUARD Certification helps manufacturers create--and helps buyers identify--interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air in which the products are used.
Area of Focus - Indoor air quality, children and schools
UL GREENGUARD Gold:
The GREENGUARD Gold Certification standard includes health-based criteria for additional chemicals and also requires lower total VOC emissions levels to help ensure that products are acceptable for use in environments like schools and healthcare facilities. In addition to limiting emissions of more than 360 VOCs and total chemical emissions, GREENGUARD Gold Certified products must also comply with requirements of the state of California’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) “Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers, Version 1.2 (2017)” (also known as California Section 01350). Office Furniture products that are GREENGUARD Gold Certified are also compliant with the BIFMA X7.1 standard and BIFMA e3 credits 7.6.1, 7.6.2, and 7.6.3.
Area of Focus - VOC emission levels
WaterSense labeled products meet the EPA's specifications for water efficiency and performance, and are backed by independent, third-party certification.
Certifying organizations help maintain the WaterSense label’s integrity and credibility by verifying and testing products for conformance to WaterSense specifications, efficiency, performance, and label use, and also conduct periodic market surveillance.
Area of Focus - Shower heads, toilets, faucets, urinals, and valves