Recycled Content in Building Materials

When writing specs that include products that have recycled content, there are two things to be thinking of when making these selections.

One, will the recycled content potentially have any effect on the performance of the product.  For instance if a certain insulation has a recycled content,  will it's R-value be reduced, stay the same, or increase? 

Second, make sure that the documentation for the recycled content for that product is readily available. Can you find this documentation easily through their website?

Recently, after specifying a product with supposedly high recycled content, the GC who was awarded the contract, asked to substitute my specified product for another.  I said no, not after bids have been opened.  This GC was committed to the LEED documentation and informed me that the manufacturer that I had specified had, according to his supplier, never been able to produce the needed documentation for LEED for recycled content.  Upon closer independent examination, I too, was unable to get the manufacturer to produce the documentation either.  Sometimes, manufacturers will use “green-washing” (claiming to be green when they are not) to keep their edge in a very competitive market for green products. 

Contact me at or 417-844-7406 for more details concerning this topic.

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