Below is a list of and introduction to a number of sources which Ecospecifier Global find helpful to start the journey to being informed.
Planet Ark is an Australian not-for-profit Environmental organisation, founded in 1992. Planet Ark Environmental Foundation aims to work with people and business to teach them the simple ways in which they can reduce their impact on the planet, at home, at work and in the community.
For more information visit http://planetark.org/.
An Eco-Footprint is "a measure of the ecologically productive land needed to provide resources for consumption, storage for wastes, and other ecological services" (Earth Institute). There are a range of eco-footprint calculators available.
The Victorian EPA Eco-Footprint Calculator uses Australian figures and assumptions.
The highly readable Redefining Progress Calculator uses US figures and assumptions.
Glossary of Environmental Terms
For a comprehensive glossary of terms and further links from this excellent site - European Environment Agency Environmental Glossary
BRE (Building Research Establishment)
The BRE Group is a research, consultancy, training, testing and certification organisation covering all aspects of sustainability in the built environment. BRE is UK based, but has global scope under its sister company BRE Global. BRE Global is an independent third party approvals body that offers certification of fire, security and sustainability products and services. BRE provides a Life Cycle Assessment based service to calculate and award 'Ecopoints'. See Ecopoints Glossary entry.
Greenseal is a respected US-based third-party labelling organisation that produces standards and labels for a wide range of products from anti-corrosive paints to air-sourced head-pumps.
Indoor Climate Labelling (ICL)
ICL (originally the Danish Indoor Climate Labelling) is now established both in Denmark and Norway with normative bodies (Danish Society of Indoor Climate and Norwegian Forum of Indoor Climate Labelling) and label issuing bodies (Danish Indoor Climate Labelling and Norwegian Indoor Climate Labelling). The normative bodies are responsible for the preparation and international co-ordination of the testing and labelling criteria of the ICL. The standard does not, however, give data on emission level requirements in English.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
Build LCA, a online resource and website compiled for Environment Australia listing LCA and other related resources relevant to the construction sector. In-depth and highly recommended.
UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative is a useful online introduction to the broader online world of LCA and an overview of why LCA is being integrated into UNEP processes internationally.
Pesticides Information Resources
Pesticides Action Network (US) is a non-government organisations dedicated to providing public domain data on pesticide toxicity. An excellently laid-out site with an enormous body of information. According to PAN all listings are subject to extensive peer-review before being listed. As well as data about pesticide toxicity the site has extensive links to data about low-toxicity alternatives, searchable by both pest and crop, as well further resources. US-based but useful resource.
The Pesticides Safety Directorate is a UK Government site with extensive links and data on pesticides from a UK perspective. Excellent for a perspective on the EU regulatory environment, the site features amongst other things an excellent 'A-Z' search listing banned and permitted pesticides, and an enormous amout of information on the approvals processes.
Pathogens and Bugs
Ever wondered if you should be worried about a particular bug - or bugs in general? An excellent and accessible resource on pathogens and 'bugs' is the US Food and Drug Administration's 'Bad Bug Book' which is available online. The reference has links to morbidity and mortality reports, current research on listed bugs, and links to other search facilities.
EnviroDevelopment is a scientifically-based branding system designed to make it easier for purchasers to recognise and, thereby, select more environmentally sustainable homes and lifestyles. EnviroDevelopment certified developments will have been carefully designed to protect the environment and use resources responsibly, whilst offering a range of benefits to homeowners, industry and government. The standards utilised by EnviroDevelopment have been determined by a panel of government, industry and environmental experts.
Certification for environmentally sustainable developments include achievements in:
Please see the EnviroDevelopment website for more information.
Your Home is a technical manual and consumer guide published by the Australian Greenhouse Office regarding how to design and live for a sustainable future. The guide provides information on issues such as passive design, water use, material embodied energy, indoor air quality, energy use and site issues.
Please see the Your Home website for more information.
Earth Building Association of Australia (EBAA)
Creating structures using technologies with sustainable earth materials and ancient traditions that are still relevant and appropriate in building practices today. Visit the EBAA website for further information.
New Earth Pioneers Global Eco Village Network
A focal point for those interested in eco villages, self sustainable communities, permaculture and green products this website also has a list of green companies, eco products and green directory. See www.newearthpioneers.com/ for more information.
Guide to Green Mortgages / Energy Efficient Mortgages
Green, or "Energy efficient" mortgages, let you borrow extra money to pay for energy efficient upgrades to your current home or a new or old home that you plan to buy. The result is a more environmentally friendly living space that uses fewer resources for heating and cooling and has dramatically lower utility costs. The types of things that are covered include upgrades that you may have thought you couldn't afford like double paned windows, tankless water heaters, modern HVAC systems, and new insulation. See http://www.mortgageloan.com/environment/ for more information.
Green Specification Recycled Earth and Roadworks materials
The aim of this Specification is to encourage local government professionals and other key players within both the private and public works engineering sector to use recycled concrete, brick and asphalt materials. These materials are valuable resources capable of being recovered, processed and used in projects and have important economic, environmental and social benefits.
The Specification sets out the performance standards required of the materials processing industry for the supply of quality recycled materials. This in turn provides the confidence required in the marketplace. For the full specificication see www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/warr/104SupplyofRecycledMaterial.pdf
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