L is for Life Cycle

This life cycle graph is from the clothing industry. The construction industry is years from such sophistication. The issues are related to energy but significantly broader. In the end they are health issues. Construction materials are infamous for containing elements that a deleterious to human health and well-being. In the U.S. the burden is on government agencies (and consumers) to prove that a given material is bad. In the E.U. the inverse is the case. In Europe a chemical is considered harmful until proven safe. It seems foolhardy to allow untested chemicals (and maybe more to the point, cocktails of chemicals) into our living environments, especially when they are as air tight as high performance standards require.
These ideas were inspired by the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002). check out their website: www.c2ccertified.org

Graphic from Green Heart Global: www.greenheartglobal.com