Several product charts have been updated.



Vinyl in a nutshell
Sustainability controversy surrounding vinyl. References to the Vinyl Institute, the USGBC and the Healthy Building Network. PVC studies sited including a life cycle assessment by the European Commission as well as a link to the documentary, Blue Vinyl.

Decision Making Tools

Understanding the basics of Life Cycle Assessment. A summary of the EPA's LCA 101 document.

Precautionary Principle
Included: historic origins of the principle, reference to the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 which includes the Precautionary Principle in its declaration, a summary definition developed at the Wingspread Conference, and a review of the Precautionary Principle breakout session at GreenBuild 2007.

Green Screen
A decision making tool developed by Health Care Without Harm. The tool is summarized and can be adapted as a model for any decision making process.

Ask questions about green claims
A few simple questions to begin the sustainability assessment of materials.


As designers we know the value of process. When weaving an ethic of sustainability into our practices, we need to adjust our process in order to affect the sustainable nature of our designs. LCA, Green Screen, and the Precautionary Principle are discussed.

Book Reviews

Making Better
Environmental Decisions
: An Alternative to Risk Assessment
by Mary O'Brien
A look at alternatives assessment as a better tool than risk assessment for decision making. Risk assessment assumes only one idea needs to be in consideration and its level of risk becomes the focus while a consideration of avoiding the risk altogether is never included. Alternatives assessment requires considering a wide range of options, always choosing the safest viable option which may mean taking no action.

Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment, A Citizen's Agenda for Action by James Gustave Speth
A thorough overview of the environmental challenges we face around the globe.
The interrelated nature of social, economic, and cultural influences are included. Solutions and action steps are provided.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
First written in 1962, this is the quintessential book about sustainability. It started the environmental movement of today. Every book I've read and reviewed since regarding the environment has quoted Rachel Carson and this influential work. It's a must read.