Certification Spotlight – GreenCircle
This label deflates greenwashing with verified performance data
Feeling dubious about a product’s green claims? When buzzwords such as natural and eco-friendly don’t have a regulated definition, manufacturers are free to use these terms without any supporting performance data. To com- bat unverified marketing claims, GreenCircle Certified uses
a third-party assessment to substantiate a product’s environmental
benefits. Learn how this label can simplify your purchasing policies.
Scrutinize Green Claims
When pressured to secure an ROI or document the benefits from
going green, building managers shouldn’t have to
second-guess whether a product will deliver
sustainable advantages. GreenCircle Certified,
launched in 2009, is a concerted effort to
ensure that product marketing is rooted in
GreenCircle can be found on all classes of
building components, from construction materi-
als such as wall frames, insulation and ductwork
to door assemblies, access control components, mill-
work, acoustical panels, glass tiles and janitorial supplies.
The mark offers six areas for a manufacturer to certify product
■ Energy Savings – Reviews a product’s energy performance in
both lab and field conditions to prove its percent savings over
comparable offerings. If a solution claims that it saves 30% more
energy but doesn’t offer any verification, those declarations are
just empty words. GreenCircle removes any doubt that a product
will lower your utility bill.
■ Closed Loop – Ensures that an item can be salvaged and
processed into new products of a similar nature, like discarded
glass bottles turned into new ones. GreenCircle will verify that a
manufacturer offers a take-back program and reuses or recycles
the material into an equivalent commodity.
■ Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) Optimized – Establishes a baseline
LCA for the product and then quantifies reductions in its environ-
mental footprint once improvements have been made across raw
material extraction, manufacturing practices and end-of-life options.
■ Recyclable Material – Validates how much of a product can
be recovered and repurposed when the item is discarded.
GreenCircle also confirms that landfill diversion programs exist
for the material.
■ Recycled Content – Certifies what percentage of a product’s
recycled composition is based on pre-consumer (scrap materials captured during manufacturing) and post-consumer content
(items that no longer fulfill their original purpose but can be
transformed to another).
■ Renewable Resource Content – Confirms that materials are
sourced from natural products that are replenished within a
10-year window. These include agricultural sources, forestry
materials and animal byproducts.
“Specificity is one value that sets GreenCircle’s certified prod-
ucts apart from other eco-labels,” says Annie Bevan, Certification
and Operations Manager. “Rather than just saying that a product is
eco-friendly, our mark clearly identifies specific sustainable attri-
butes, such as X% recycled content or energy savings.”
If you’re on the building certification track, specifying these
products can fulfill requirements under the National Green Building
Standard, International Green Construction Code (IgCC), CALGreen