LEED, New York, Products & Materials, Regional, West Coast
The students at the California College of Arts and Design have asked the question: Where does your taco come from? A research project that resulted in the map shown here. It’s a fascinating look at what you might consider a simple product, and if you are buying it from a sidewalk truck you might assume the taco in question is basically “local”. But as their research shows, this is anything but the case. (Via BLDGBLOG, who rightly points to Sourcemap as a similarly fascinating exercise.)
I am reminded of a local example specific to green buildings. A project manager I know well was recently researching a poured terrazo floor for a LEED-aspiring retail space. They had selected a product manufactured in New Jersey because they have, unlike most such products, very low amounts of VOCs. They also figured the flooring would apply towards the Regional Materials credit since it is composed, mostly, of sand and recycled glass aggregate There’s plenty of that stuff within 500 miles, right? Well- it turns out the company in question gets their recycled glass from . . . Indiana. And the sand? Washington State. There would appear to be no good reason this would be the case but these are the sorts of inefficiencies that exist because we still basically don’t pay attention to this stuff. Keep in mind- this is at a company who have done highly admirable work, dedicating several staff to reducing the environmental impacts of their products- hence the low VOC %. But no one had asked about their material origins, until now.