All construction products have impacts on the environment. These impacts are evaluated based on many criteria (energy consumption, water consumption, waste production, air and water pollution, etc.). However, there is currently no recognised consensual benchmark* with set thresholds for these various environmental impacts that could determine if a product is good for the environment (the situation is identical for the other qualifiers such as ‘eco-product’, ‘eco-material’, ‘environmentally-friendly material’, etc.).
Furthermore, a construction product is an “intermediate product”. It is meant to be incorporated into a building and associated with other products to contribute to the overall performance of the construction work. Consequently, the scale of the work is the only relevant indicator to comprehensively assess the environmental performance of construction products. A building’s overall design, including careful choices of construction processes and products (or an intelligent combination thereof) is what enables said building to achieve the environmental performance that is expected of it. That is why it is impossible to separate products’ environmental characteristics from their technical (or economic) characteristics. The most environmentally-friendly construction products possible are therefore those that, thanks to their technical performance and controlled intrinsic environmental impact, help the construction work achieve the technical performance necessary to help control its environmental impact.
The INIES database is therefore not a database of products that have been selected because they are good for the environment; any product can be in the database, as long as its manufacturer meets the admission requirements. * With the exception of the NF Environment benchmark on paints.