Exposing the 'green con'

So-called green building products that make false claims will be rejected under a new government-backed scheme.
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Hemcrete is much tougher and half the weight of concrete
Hemcrete is much tougher and half the weight of concrete
Sham “green” building products will be revealed by a new government-backed scheme to ensure eco construction materials do the job.

Two hundred building firms and architects have already signed up to fund the scheme.

One Planet Products, launched by energy minister Malcolm Wicks at Westminster, has already assessed a wide range of environmentally friendly materials used in the construction industry — from hand basins where waste water is recycled to flush the toilet, to triple-glazed wooden windows that are cheaper than their double-glazed plastic rivals.

It has also backed “hempcrete” for use in construction and insulation. Hempcrete is made from hemp fibres but is tougher — and half the weight — of concrete.

One Planet Products has been created by environmental charity BioRegional, which built BedZED, in Sutton, Surrey, the UK’s largest carbon-neutral housing community.

The scheme’s executive director, Mark Watson, said: “There are countless so-called eco products available now but too many are just ‘green-wash’ — with little to offer. These will not get the seal of approval.

“What people want to know is which of these products actually works, how long they will last and how quickly they will pay for themselves. We use experts from the building industry and check that products are genuinely sustainable and made with minimum damage to the environment. We aim to help housebuilders and architects who want to build sustainably.”

The scheme takes no money from product suppliers. Instead, builders and architects pay a fee to access an online service listing approved products and offering price comparisons.

Major housebuilder Crest Nicholson is among those who have signed up. Its chief executive, Stephen Stone, said: “The industry wants sustainable products and needs to be able to identify those that are genuinely innovative and ethically sourced.”

Housing associations London and Quadrant and Town and Country are among the founder members, along with homes builder Rydon Construction.

For more information, call 020 8404 6982, or visit www.oneplanetproducts.com.

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