Marketing Building Products: Top Ranked Green Products for Architects & Engineers


Greening codes are driving the AE’s need to find new sustainable solutions from building products manufacturers.

To earn buyers’ trust and get specified in the built environment, manufacturers must address three key points:

  1. Product Safety
  2. Environmental Benefits
  3. Return On Investment.

Often the upfront costs of building green cost more on both sides of the transaction – manufacturers and buyers.  It’s imperative that you prove return on investment and the life cycle costs of your product.

Stay informed about code trends and changes and take the first step in assessing the sustainability of your products. A clear understanding of what intrinsic green qualities your product offering already has and what opportunities are viable for your product in the future is the key to success and continued relevancy with your buyer.

Get inspired and learn from two leading sustainable publishers, BuildingGreen and Inhabit.

BuildingGreen, is an independent publishing company committed to providing accurate, unbiased and timely green design information.  BuildingGreen also publishes Environmental Building News, BuildingGreen Suite online tools, GreenSpec directory of products, and LEEDuser web tools.

Inhabit is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.

Here are my favorites chosen from these editors’ top picks at this year’s USGBC Greenbuild Conference – the source for the most innovative green building products.


Atlas CMU block with CarbonCure

Atlas CarbonCure Block is a new concrete product engineered to significantly reduce concrete’s carbon footprint. In addition to cleaner emissions, CarbonCure improves strength, reduces the amount of concrete required for a project, and speeds the curing process.

Lighting and Daylighting

  • Parans uses Fresnel lenses and fiber optics to move sunlight indoors. The box traces the sun which feeds fiber optic wires bringing sunlight indoors. Parens will provide ample light for a typical room for most of the day.
  • Tensotherm is an innovative translucent architecture canvas that contains an aerogel mat at its core. The material can be used to create a white roof that allows a lot of light in while still achieving an R-30 rating.
  • XS-P Series streetlight from Cree Lighting: LED outdoor street and area lights provide better visibility and energy savings. The XS-P is affordable, with a payback of as little as three years, yet it is compatible with dimming drivers and is available with optional occupancy sensors, remote monitoring, and other lighting controls.


  • LoE-i89 glazing from Cardinal Glass Industries: A new coating from Cardinal Glass is a sputtered indium tin oxide hard-coat that can be installed on an exposed surface allowing two low-e coatings on a double-glazed window to perform like a triple-glazed window.  High light transference makes the coating perfect for solar gain applications.
  • Pythagorus Solar Windows: An interesting marriage of solar electric cells and windows. Pythagorus Solar Windows include horizontal solar electric cells without blocking the view.


  • Amorim Expanded – Cork Boardstock Insulation: FSC certified Cork Board is a 100% natural, rigid insulation material with R-3.6 per inch efficiency. It offers excellent acoustic control, is highly durable, has moderate vapor permeability, and meets fire-safety requirements without flame retardant chemicals.
  • Engaurd is a simple batt insulation that performs similar to fiberglass but it’s made from 50% recycled PET plastic and uses a lot less energy to produce.The stiffer insulation is hydrophobic and fully recyclable.


Ecor is a strong, versatile construction product created from a composite of largely recycled and underutilized natural components. Up to 4 times stronger, it is designed to serve as an environmentally sensitive, and superior, alternative to materials such as plywood. It can be used for everything from furniture to stage construction.

Recycled Surface

Bramal: A much softer surface is available from Bramel – it’s made from 50% reused tires and it can cover just about any substrate. It can be used on roofs to shed water, on bridges to protect steel, and tests are underway to use Bramal as a low-impact sidewalk in front of buildings.

Water Conservation

Cyber Rain smart irrigation controllers uses local weather data along with plant, sprinkler, soil, slope, and sun exposure data to calculate evapotranspiration (ET) and provide just the right amount of water to maintain the health of different plant species and avoid overwatering.

Heat & Moisture Performance

  • Proglaze ETA Engineered Transition Assemblies from Tremcoc: Building enclosures are complicated assemblies of multiple products that have to work together in controlling moisture and heat flow. Proglaze is 60% recycled and designed to bridge assembly gaps between windows and other wall openings and has 0 g/1 VOC content and are Greenguard Children & Schools certified.
  • Wufi software calculates heat and moisture transfer in multi-layer building components exposed to various climate conditions, and has been used in the development of smart vapor retarders. Among WUFI’s uses are assessing the performance of roof or wall assemblies in driving rain; estimating the drying time of masonry with trapped moisture; predicting the impact of repairs; and sensitivity analysis for material substitutions. 

Greening codes, municipality LEED mandates, and related-product integration will change the future of building products.  Brand viability is dependent on how well your products perform against these trends.

It’s not too late to be an innovator. If you’re not already thinking green, take the first steps:

  1. Understand what you’re already doing that is green and start talking about it.
  2. Know how you measure up against the competition.
  3. Identify one small area of achievable change and make it happen.

By doing so, you’ll be taking an important step forward in ensuring brand relevance and profitability for years to come.

This article was based on’s list of Top Ten Green Products” and columnist Andrew Michler’s article, ”The Best Sustainable Building Products from Greenbuild”.

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