Looking beyond the walls of a building, many products can contribute to safer neighborhoods, improved walkability and making high-density communities more appealing. We look for innovative products that support the greening of public spaces, facilitate high-density development, make alternatives to automobile transit more feasible, or otherwise contribute to the quality of outdoor spaces.
Better information alone doesn’t make a product green, but it does make it a lot easier to see just how green that product actually is. We can make more informed purchasing decisions when we know what’s in a product, not just manufacturer’s claims about what it’s “free-of”; and when we know the actual environmental impacts of manufacturing the product relative to alternatives, not just a trade association’s claim that it’s “green.” Making information public can also help manufacturers get greener. It’s often the manufacturers that are already greener that are willing to share more information in the first place, but in the process of doing so they see where they still need to improve. Products with Environmental Product Declarations are included here, along with products with other forms of disclosure, such as products from companies that participate in the Global Reporting Initiative, or provide full disclosure of ingredients, potentially via the Health Product Declaration format. GreenSpec also lists products that help track buildings' energy and water performance, especially when those tracking tools can be used to publicly display or report energy and water usage.
While resilience—the ability to weather natural disasters and maintain livable conditions in the aftermath of disruptive events—is mostly an issue of building design and community preparedness, certain products can help. For example, almost all heating systems require electricity to operate even if their primary fuel is oil, gas, or wood pellets; systems that allow operation even if grid electricity is not available are more resilient in the event of power outages. Rainwater harvesting, water storage, composting toilets, and waterless urinals contribute to resilience not only in drought-prone areas but also during power outages in any home dependent on well water. Solar water heating systems that can operate without utility power, and back-up power systems that are more energy-efficient than standard generators, may have this attribute.
Sportworks offers a range of secure, space-efficient, and convenient steel bike racks. As is common in steel building products, the steel contains pre-consumer recycled content. Included in Sportworks offerings is an Living Building Challenge Red-List Free, scratch-resistant model with an EPDM bumper. Sportworks offers a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Embracing the needs of more sustainable forms of transportation is a key component of a green building design and a resilient community. Bicycle usage needs include racks for locking bicycles, enclosed storage lockers, and shower facilities in workplaces.
When selecting a bike rack, there are several factors to consider. First, bike racks need to be secure. Beware of “wheel bender” bike racks and other types of bike racks that neither keep the bike supported nor secure the bike effectively. Many racks are designed for locking only the wheel to the rack, which does not effectively deter theft.
Another element to consider is protection from the elements. Covered racks are more appropriate in residential settings, as bikes might be left for long periods of time, subject to a wide range of weather.
Finally, be realistic about how many people will actually be able to use the bike rack you choose. While manufacturers may be eager to claim a high number of simultaneous users, in practice it might be half as many due to how bikes take up space and get in each other's way. (See our blog post: How Many Bikes Really Fit on that Rack?)
GreenSpec lists bike racks that offer secure bike storage, integrated weather protection, or efficient use of space. Some products may also feature recycled content or powder coated finishes.
SSc3.2: Alternative Transportation—Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms
SSc4: Alternative Commuting Transportation
SSc4.2: Alternative Transportation—Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms
SSc4.2: Alternative Transportation—Bicycle Storage&Changing Rooms
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Declare is a voluntary self-disclosure program aiming to transform the building materials industry towards healthier and more ecological products through ingredient transparency. Living Building Challenge Red List Free means this product does not contain any ingredients on the Living Building Challenge’s Red List.