Materials and Waste: Goals

Goal 1. Favor renewable resources over non-renewable resources, and select materials that require the least amount of energy to produce and transport.

1.1 Use materials with a low embodied energy.

1.1.1 Use life-cycle assessment system software to analyze and minimize the environmental impact of different materials and processes.

1.1.2 Inquire about the processes producers and factories use to produce their materials (non-energy intensive).

1.2 Favor rapidly renewable materials over use of nonrenewable and slow-recovering materials.

1.2.1 Follow Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide requirement that 10 percent of all products and materials are from renewable raw resources.[i]

1.2.2 Use products and materials that have been produced using sources of alternative energy.

  • Purchase materials that have been made from factories or power plants that use at least 25 percent of energy from alternative renewable forms (not nuclear).

1.3 Maintain ecologically responsible forest management.

1.3.1 Use 100 percent of lumber from St. John’s Arboretum and/or surrounding local sources following guidelines from the Arboretum’s Land Management plan.[ii]


Goal 2. Use materials and services that are local .

2.1 Choose manufacturers that package and ship their products using the least amount of energy and raw material. Choose ones that create little waste and emit the lowest amount of VOCs during production.

2.2 Use local manufacturers that recycle and reuse materials.

2.2.1 Choose manufacturers that recycle and reuse at least 35 percent of their materials.

2.3 Employ local labor services, i.e. participation and involvement from local community members.

2.3.1 No less than 25 percent of the total amount of products and materials must be manufactured within 250 miles of the construction site at CSB and SJU .

2.3.2 75 percent of the total labor crew must be based within 100 miles of the construction site at CSB and SJU.

2.3.3 50 percent of the total labor crew must be based within 50 miles of the construction site.

2.3.4 25 percent of the total labor crew must be based within 25 miles of the construction site.


Goal 3. Use materials that do not present foreseeable health hazards during construction , occupancy, and disposal.

3.1 Install building materials that have low environmental impact during extraction of raw material, production of the products, distribution and shipping, installation, use repair, maintenance, and material reuse/recycling.

3.2 List all building materials that affect the IAQ conditions. From the Material Safety Data Sheets, determine which materials are harmful and eliminate or reduce the amount of these materials.

3.3 Record the presence of any potential or possible hazardous waste so that if/when the building is demolished, renovated, or dissembled, others will know of these hazards and respond appropriately and accordingly.

3.4 Eliminate all products that are made with or emit unhealthy chemicals .

3.4.1 No carcinogenic , tetragenic , or mutagenic materials may be used.

3.5 Use materials whose production created little toxic emissions.

3.6 Purchase materials from manufacturers that make their products using healthy procedures and safe materials.

3.7 Use low VOC -emitting adhesives, sealants, finishes, paints, coatings, furniture, and flooring.

3.7.1 All finishes, paints, coatings, furniture , and carpets must meet the requirements of the State of Washington Department of General Administration Indoor Air Quality.

  • Must emit less than 0.05 ppm formaldehyde.
  • Must emit less than 0.50 mg/m of total volatile organics.
  • Must emit less than 50 mg/m of total particulates.
  • Must emit less than 1 ppb 4-phenyl cyclohexene.
  • More specific limits (in g/L) are below (South Coast Rule #1168 of the South Coast Air Quality Management District).


Architectural Applications

Current VOC Limit

Indoor Carpet Adhesives


Carpet Pad Adhesives


Outdoor Carpet Adhesives


Wood Flooring Adhesives


Rubber Floor Adhesives


Sub-floor Adhesives


Ceramic Tile Adhesives


VCT and Asphalt Tile Adhesives


Dry Wall and Panel Adhesives


Cove Base Adhesives


Multipurpose Construction Adhesives


Structural Glazing Adhesives


Single Ply Roof Membrane Adhesives


Contact Adhesives


Special Purpose Contact Adhesives


Adhesive Primer for Traffic Marking Tape


Structural Wood Member Adhesives


Top and Trim Adhesives



3.8 Choose cleaning supplies that are can be safely disposed, are non-toxic and healthy for users and occupants.

3.9 Eliminate or reduce the use of carpets.

3.9.1 Carpets must have emissions less than 0.5 milligrams per square meter per hour.

3.9.2 Air carpet and padding for several days before installation, to not degrade IAQ .


Goal 4. Use materials that can be easily disassembled, reused, and recycled .

4.1 When choosing materials, plan ahead for their eventual reuse.

4.1.1 Consider the durability of materials.

  • Define durable materials as those with a life cycle of at least 50 years.
  • Specify that a minimum of 50 percent of all products or materials are durable.

4.1.2 Consider the break-down and off-gassing of materials during use, ensure that there will be continued safety.

4.2 Use recovered and other materials with high amounts of recycled content

4.2.1 A minimum of 25-50 percent of building materials must contain a minimum weighted average of 20 percent post-consumer recycled content material, OR a minimum weighted average of 50 percent post-industrial recycled content material.

4.2.2 Follow EPA recommended levels for recycled content, listed below.

4.2.3 Research products for the highest amount of recycled content.

4.2.4 Any percentage of recycled content may be an improvement over zero, but use 100 percent recycled content products when possible.

4.2.5 Make standards for each material with recycled content.

  • Steel – specify minimum of 20-30 percent recycled content.
  • Fly ash concrete – substitute fly ash for minimum of 25-30 percent of Portland cement used.

4.2.6 Use post-consumer material, including anything produced by commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities that can no longer be used for its designed purpose.

4.2.7 Use recovered waste from industrial processes, which includes anything that cannot be used in the same process, like slag from metal and mineral smelting.

4.2.8 Use internally recycled materials from manufacturing processes, like scraps from trimming and returned or substandard products.

4.3 Use materials from existing or demolished structures that can be disassembled.

4.3.1 Keep 75-10 percent of existing building structure and shell (exterior skin).

4.3.2 Keep 25-50 percent of non-shell (walls, floor coverings, ceiling systems).

4.4 Strive to exceed minimum code requirements of material reuse.

4.5 Reuse materials and structural elements where allowed.

4.6 Consider life-cycle costs over first costs.

4.6.1 In reuse, the reduced materials cost should offset any increased labor cost of collection and construction .

4.6.2 For durable materials, the reduced maintenance costs should offset increased initial costs.

EPA Product Fact Sheet – Construction Products.[iii]


Goal 5. To prevent landfilling and pollution, use materials that produce less waste and pollution in their production, installation, and demolition.

5.1 Plan and implement a construction waste management plan.

5.1.1 Find out what recycling is available through local recycling program.

5.1.2 Find out what recycling is available through local markets.

5.1.3 Stay aware of new markets for recycling construction waste .

5.1.4 Per State of Minnesota Requirements , recycle and/or salvage at least 60 percent (by weight) of construction, demolition, and land clearing waste. [iv]

5.1.5 Divert 80 percent by volume of demolition waste from landfill through salvage, recycling , and recovery.

  • Divert metals, wood , or carpet.

5.1.6 If at all possible, recycle ALL waste from construction site : cardboard, metals, concrete, wood , masonry, plastic, glass, gypsum board, insulation , carpet, and drink containers.

5.2 Recycle the packaging that materials come in.

5.2.1 Return 50 percent of all packaging material, by weight, to suppliers or manufacturers – or reuse it.

5.2.2 Investigate how products are packaged and shipped, choose accordingly

5.3 Continue recycling during occupancy.

5.4 Design to use less.

5.4.1 Choose open ceiling systems and fewer interior finishes.

5.4.2 Keeping interior finishes to a minimum eases use, repair, and replacement

5.5 Design for standard sizes, avoid over design.

5.5.1 Use Advanced Wall Framing and other Optimum Value Engineering.

5.6 Use salvaged materials.

5.6.1 Specify that at least 5-10 percent of building materials are salvage or refurbished.

5.6.2 Some are high quality and have unique aesthetic appeal.

5.6.3 Consider code requirements for safety, energy, and resource efficiency, try to meet or exceed – pay special consideration when salvaging – do not reuse plumbing, etc.

5.7 Consider life-cycle cost over first-cost: consider costs of repairs and eventual demolition, repurchase, and reinstallation.

5.8 Reduce the used of hazardous materials.

5.8.1 Aim for at least 50 percent reduction from normal use.

5.8.2 During all building operations, designate space specifically for storage of hazardous materials.

[i] University of Minnesota , Hennepin County, the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Architects, Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide . Minneapolis, MN: Regents of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 1999-2002, <> 18 March 2004.

[ii] St. John’s University, “Land Management Plan,” 1 June 2002, <> (23 April 2004).

[iii] Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.), “2000 Buy-Recycled Series: Construction Products,” <> (29 April 2004).

[iv] University of Minnesota, “Strategy 7.1” Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide . <> (29 April 2004).