Choosing sustainable products and practices can take time and require research. It will require careful reading of manufacturers’ specifications and other product information. You may have to become familiar with new terminology. However, there are ways to make the process both easier and more reliable.
Look for products and materials that are certified by an independent organization. A valuable certification will require third-party, independent testing of the product or material to verify that the manufacturer meets the organization’s standards or criteria. Certified products or materials will carry a label or logo from the certifying organization. The logo is a clear identification that the product or material meets the certification. This is different than marketing materials that may indicate the product "meets criteria" or is "qualified" but is not actually tested and certified.
Certifications are renewed on a regular basis. New models or types of materials require testing to qualify. Take care to determine what is actually being certified. For example, is the product being certified for some performance characteristic, such as energy use? Or is the manufacturing process being certified for sustainable practices?
This chapter introduces and describes a number of certifications for products and materials commonly used in bathrooms. Most certifying organizations maintain websites that describe their programs and include lists of the specific products that are certified.