The building products industry and its customers have another green designation to keep track of. The organization Architecture 2030 announced its 2030 Challenge for Products, which pushes for a 50% reduction in building materials’ carbon footprints by the year 2030. The initiative implores manufacturers to address greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the production and transport of their products.

Designed to be phased in over the next 29 years, the 2030 Challenge for Products calls for carbon reduction of 30% by 2013, 35% by 2015, 40% by 2020, 45% by 2025, and 50% by 2030. Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) conducted for the products by third-party researchers will help confirm the reductions.

“The raw resource extraction, manufacturing, construction, usage, and end-of-life stages of building products each generate significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” says Architecture 2030 founder Edward Mazria. “Slowing the growth rate of GHG emissions and then reversing it is the key to addressing climate change.”

Mazria says the 2030 Challenge for Products isn’t a certification program and that Architecture 2030 will not be certifying products. Instead, the organization will maintain a database of manufacturers that have adopted the Challenge and have published LCAs.

“Once standards and benchmarks have been developed, the beauty of the Challenge should kick in,” Mazria says. “So while the Challenge is voluntary, we are exploring ways to establish the benchmarks and hope manufacturers will follow specific and transparent methods to conduct their LCAs. Eventually we would like to see complete Environmental Performance Declarations and third-party verification, but everyone must work toward creating standards, developing data, and generating increased demand from the design community.”

—Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.

Illustration: Lee