GreenSpec PASS endorsement

'Endorsement by specifiers for specifiers'


  • PASS endorses 'green' construction products and materials.

  • The PASS marque enables manufacturers to distinguish their green products from lesser environmental quality materials.

  • The PASS endorsement is made by practicing architects and specifiers.

  • PASS is unique in that in addition to the environmental impact made by the material, it evaluates the product's contribution to the overall building / construction element.


Green Products
  • A Green product is one that embodies one or more positive environmental attributes or qualities that distinguish it from other products or materials in the same function category.
  • Environmental attributes can be enhanced by a product's contribution to application functionality and competent construction.
  • Is currently available in the UK


Basic criteria used by GreenSpec PASS

The review panel uses one or more of the following 14 criteria in evaluating building products. The product:


1 Conserves natural resources.

Preference is given to products that have a no or a limited impact on the depletion of limited natural resources. In this respect a preferred product might be distinguished by its use of resources that are abundant or are renewable.


2 Uses resources efficiently

Preference is given to products that have been designed to use natural resources more efficiently - this might be from using less material to perform the same function as well as manufacturing a durable product that will delay or eliminate its eventual replacement. Products that are manufactured from recycled materials are especially important. Equally, products should be designed so that at the end-of-life, the components can be easily dissembled to be either reused or recycled.


3 Any emissions are non-hazardous.

Ideally the products should be free of chemicals that are toxic to humans and the environment. Practically though, many materials and components as well as their manufacturing processes will continue to use materials that are considered toxic. Preference will be given to products that have eliminated or whose manufacturers are travelling clear routes to reducing and eliminating toxic materials compared with the products they are replacing. Products employing elements or chemicals listed on REACH or the ChemSec SIN lists will not be acceptable.


4 Has low embodied energy.

The carbon resulting from the burning of fossil fuels is the major greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. Though buildings conventionally use considerably more energy in their lifetime through heating, lighting and power ('operational energy'), the energy used to manufacture the components for and by the construction of the building ('embodied energy') is not insignificant. As 'operational energy' is being dramatically reduced through legislation, the importance of reducing 'embodied energy' is being increasingly recognised. Preference will be given to products that demonstrate reduced amounts of energy used in their manufacturer; equally, products will be favoured that are clearly manufactured using renewable energy sources.


5 Makes efficient use of water

The UK's consumption of water must be reduced. Materials and equipment that promote water efficiency are an essential component of sustainable construction.


6 Saves energy

Energy saving is at the heart of sustainable construction - both because of the impact of burning fossil fuels but also because of the UK's increasing dependency on imported fuels as gas. Supported products include such as equipment that enables more efficient use of energy as well as materials that help insulate the building.

7 Uses transport efficiently

Transport can perform a substantial role in overall environmental impact of a product. Usually during the manufacturing and distribution phases of the product's life cycle, transportation of raw materials to the point of manufacture and the finished product to market can often add a significant amount of energy use to the impact account. Manufacturers developing efficient transport strategies can result in important reductions in the 'embodied energy' of the product.


8 Is accompanied by an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

An EPD is the report produced by a third party that includes details of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the product. An LCA addresses the impacts of a product throughout its life stages from manufacture to disposal.


9 Demonstrates manufacturer's standards

Manufacturers regularly publish environmental standards by which their products are said to match. Part of any product review is determining that the product demonstrates that the standards are achieved.


10 Shows competence


11 Demonstrates performance

Products should perform in a manner according to the manufacturers claims. There several certificate schemes, but the most well known and respected is that from the British Board of Agrement. BBA approved products will meet the criteria set out in the relevant Agrement Certificates.


12 Enhances other materials as part of the construction element

Often, a specific product is just one component of a larger system. To accurately assess the true greenness of a product, consideration must be given not only to particular environmental and health impacts of a product from its manufacturing, use, and disposal phases, but also to how the product is utilised within the larger system.


13 Is accompanied by labels, endorsements or accolades.

 Labels, endorsements and accolades provide the critical third party review of the worth of manufacturers’ claims made on behalf of their products. Labels abound and reflect a spectrum of environmental concerns from the general (eg Blue Angel ) to the specific ( eg FSC).


14 The manufacturer is committed to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

In its ‘A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility’ the authors state that to fully meet their social responsibility, companies  ‘… should have in place a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical and human rights concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders.’