Get to know the 10 Principles of the Portal of Sustainable Construction
If your company has and/or represents a construction product that complies with, at least, four of the 10 Principles listed (8th principle is mandatory), then join us!
By entering our database, your product will gain distinction as a contributor to a more sustainable development in the construction industry and will be awarded our Sustainable Value ® seal, a registered and exclusive certificate of sustainability.
The 10 Principles of the Portal of Sustainable Construction enable us to promote products* that contribute to sustainability in construction, rehabilitation and all the built environment.
Products used in construction must prevent the consumption of energy and natural resources from its origin and through its manufacture and construction until it is used (throughout its life time). Either by innovating or outperforming existing alternatives the product should provide a positive energetic and environmental balance. To achieve this the product must promote the reduction of resource consumption through its manufacturing processes, transportation, application, use and/or final destination. For instance: solar panels, water flow reducers, thermal break frames, solar pipes, rainwater harvesting systems, etc.;
The product must be reusable, recyclable or have in its composition a significant amount of recycled materials. By doing so the exploration and use of raw materials is avoided as well as the consumption of energy and resources required for manufacturing a new product. Other positive aspects are waste reduction and enabling a closed life cycle for materials;
In case the product contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions through its absorption, it must contain in its composition a significant percentage of CO2 absorbent materials, such as wood, cork, straw, etc. However, it may be a product which, by its function, contributes to the reduction of this gas emissions, such as forms of energy production through renewable sources;
The product should comprise a considerable amount of naturally renewable materials never straining the future of our reserves such as wood or cork, produced in a sustainable fashion;
The more raw materials are used in a product the more resources are necessary for their manufacture and more complex and expensive becomes their separation and recycling;
The product should present a low embodied energy index – a rational use of energy ranging from the extraction of its components up to the manufacturing process and transportation until its application. This is the reason why very complex products that require transporting materials over long distances may end up less sustainable than local products. Advanced technologies are also more prone to enable energetic savings;
Products should comprise or be manufactured from local raw materials and technologies. The main benefits are the reduction of consumed resources, in particular transportation energy costs, and promotion of local economies. Furthermore, this principle promotes appreciation of cultural aspects related to construction, such as the use of traditional technologies and activities, use of local materials, species, methods and climate adaptation processes, among others;
Raw materials and final products must not, in any way through their lifecycle, be harmful nor make use of technologies detrimental to human health. Materials and technological susceptible of releasing contaminants or hazardous substances, such as liquids, gases or toxic particles, should be avoided in all stages of production, from extraction till their final application and use;
Durability can be sustainable by itself as it avoids new processes of production, transportation and application, with obvious impacts in reducing resource consumption. Products should also require little to no maintenance in order to avoid complementary consumptions, whether energetic, material or economical, such as the replacement of parts, waterproofing, surface treatments, etc.;
Companies are increasingly investing more time and money in publicizing a green image of their products rather than practicing proper and effective environmental practices. We bear witness to dubious certifications of products, often aimed at linking those products to Nature without actually being environmentally friendly. For instance, the image of a forest on the label of a hazardous chemical product. On the other hand, legitimate certifications can be a quick and efficient way to establish the environmental quality of a product, as long as it is, in fact, an accredited certification that assess the proper management of processes and resources from production through to application.
PSC distinguishes the various certifications that can be applied in Portugal and that are duly accredited by credible certification systems.
*Note: in order to simplify this message, we have considered “product” as a broad designation for elements such as materials, equipments, systems, constructive methods, which expressed in a more detailed manner, would weigh down on communication. We aim for simple and clearer messages for all users.