Material Use

Specifying efficient use of materials and considering their impact from manufacture to disposal.


Manufacturers who have reduced the environmental impacts of their products or services can use ecolabels, under license from an ecolabelling body. Products that carry an ecolabel are likely to be less polluting that some comparative products that do not carry such a label.

Ecolabelling schemes generally use a life cycle assessment approach, often peer-reviewed, but may not do a comprehensive, quantitative LCA study. The criteria used work out where the biggest environmental impacts occur. The criteria are published in specifications whose processes should comply with ISO 14024 (1999).

Environmental Choice NZ

New Zealand has one established multi-attribute ecolabel scheme called Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ).


Building products included in ECNZ are:

  • floor coverings
  • furniture and fittings
  • gypsum plasterboard
  • laminates and wood panels
  • paints
  • long steel products
  • ready-mix concrete
  • Portland cement and Portland cement blends
  • synthetic carpets
  • recycled plastic products
  • recycled rubber products
  • textiles, skins and leathers
  • thermal building insulants
  • wool and wool-rich pile carpet.

In Australia, there are several ecolabel schemes, some of which are recognised under a framework developed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) for materials assessment within its Green Star building environmental rating tool.

The New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) recognises both ECNZ licensed products and those products with ecolabels recognised by the GBCA Framework in the New Zealand version of Green Star.

Updated: 4 April 2014