Taking the LEED

Reel Time June 2008, Cabling Business Magazine

Berk-Tek New Holland, PA (exterior) 
by Carol Everett Oliver, RCDD, of Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, with contributing research from Leah Voiland of Ortronics/Legrand
As I am writing this for the June issue, it is actually April 22 – Earth Day. Earth Day first started in 1970, the same year that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) was established. Earth Day heightened the awareness to the concept of recycling, even though the first recycling center was established in New York City more than 100 years prior. By Earth Day 2000, it was reported that one-fourth of all new household products that came on to the market in the U.S. advertised themselves as "recyclable, "biodegradable," "ozone friendly" or "compostable.” From eco friendly to non toxic, consumers are bombarded with catch phrases related to the green movement. But, what do these phrases and terms mean? Are manufacturers’ claims accurate? And, what are the green metrics?
In response to the green phenomenon that has been snowballing since the first Earth Day, the corporate world has gone to great lengths to market itself and its products as the greenest of the green. However, there seems to be a lot of “greenwashing” going around. This is a term that is used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. Another catch phrase for “greenwashing” is “environmental whitewashing.” In December, 2007, environmental marketing company, TerraChoice, gained national press coverage for releasing a study called which found that 99% of 1,018 common consumer products randomly surveyed for the study were guilty of greenwashing. 
In the cabling industry, many manufacturers are climbing over each other to gain attention for their “green” products and tout that they can provide the end user and contractors with added benefits, such as LEED points that will lead to reduced energy costs, as well as tax benefits. However, there are misnomers and confusion over “green” products and “LEED” points. This month’s article will attempt to clarify and define how the cabling industry can participate and gain benefits in the programs that are now taking the building industry by storm.
Get all the details by reading the complete article, Taking the LEED.

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Carol Oliver Berk-Tek Marketing Analyst