Sustainable design is a method of wisely using resources to create high-quality, healthier and more energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings. A building is more than the sum of its parts (think resource conservation)—its process and impacts matter, too.


Sustainable design is about finding that balance between high-quality construction and low environmental impact. A lighter footprint means a longer-lasting planet, which is a win for the builder, client, and environment. Sustainable building is a goal and a process; it combines both materials and processes to maximize efficiency, durability and savings.

Life Cycle Assessment

Making smarter decisions at the start can save time, money and frustration later on. Conducting life cycle assessments give you valuable planning and purchasing insights based on the anticipated lifetime impact or expense of a product or process.


Green Globes™ System

The Green Globes™ system is a green building management tool that includes an assessment protocol, rating system and guide for integrating environmentally friendly design into commercial buildings. Green Globes™ can also facilitate recognition of the building project through third-party verification. There are many rating systems and green building assessment tools. For further information please refer to the links below.

Green Building Initiative:
Green Globes Rating System:

LEED Certification

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a voluntary national certification process that helps industry experts develop high-performance, sustainable residential and commercial buildings.

NIST BEES Software

Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) is an automated approach for measuring the life-cycle assessment, plus environmental and economic performance of a building product. The BEES software analyzes all stages in the life of a product (LCA), including raw-material acquisition, manufacture, transportation, installation, use, recycling and waste management. Economic performance is measured using the ASTM standard life-cycle cost method, including initial investment, replacement, operation, maintenance and repair, and disposal; and environmental and economic performance are combined into an overall performance measurement.

Several plastic products used in building and construction have already found their way into BEES, allowing specifiers the opportunity to evaluate plastic as part of their systems design. Other federal agencies are helping in the funding of BEES (e.g., U.S. EPA, HUD’s Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing Program), and some manufacturers are adding their products to the ecoprofiles, which are included in BEES 4.0 version. For more information, visit

What is Sustainable Building? Resources

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Attaching Exterior Wall Cladding Through Foam Plastic Insulating Sheathing (FPIS) to Wood or Steel Framing

This Tech Matters resource gives a step-by-step approach for the design thought process.

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PVC Piping: The Ultimate Underground Solution

One of the world’s most versatile plastics started as an accident in a rubber scientist’s laboratory some 80 years ago. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was first created by a German chemist in 1872, but never patented until 1913. It...

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Plastics Energy and Greenhouse Gas Savings Using Housewrap Final Report

This study is an analysis of the energy savings and related reduction in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the use of an exterior barrier to airflow applied to single family houses in the U.S. These products are commonly...

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Energy Conserving Claim Of Plastics Used In Building And Construction

In a one-year study, plastic building and construction materials saved 467.2 trillion Btu’s of energy over alternative construction materials. The energy saved by using plastic building and construction materials in one year is...

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