About Simply Sustainable

Our material offerings cover almost every item needed to construct or renovate a building. They range from finish products such as paint, flooring, cabinetry, tile, countertops and carpet, to base building materials such as window assemblies, roofing, solar panels and insulation. If you are looking for something specific, just ask! We will help you find it. All materials that Simply Sustainable supplies meet strict criteria for health, sustainability, efficiency, durability, and transparency in the manufacturing process .

In addition to product sales, Simply Sustainable helps clients select materials that are best suited for their projects. We also provide administration for both projects seeking Certification under recognized building rating systems such as LEED, WELL and Living Building Challenge, and those that generally follow the Certification requirements, but are not seeking formal Certification. Drawing on our industry knowledge, we provide a variety of educational packages and presentations on green building topics for companies and organizations. Lastly, we offer interior design consultation services using the materials that Simply Sustainable supplies to create beautiful, healthy and sustainable spaces.

No. We are independent. As a result, we are free to evaluate products and recommend the ones that we believe are best for the individual client. All products must also meet our vetting criteria for quality, transparency, sustainability, and health.

Neither. We are not licensed contractors, architects, engineers, or health professionals. Simply Sustainable will, however, work with any of the above, at the request of a client. We do, however, have existing relationships with local architects, engineers, and contractors, whom we can recommend based on the location and size of the project, and specific needs of the client.

Short for “Owner’s Representative”. On more complex projects, the client may seek the services of an experienced independent consultant to oversee and coordinate the project. Simply Sustainable can fill that role. When serving as the Owner’s Rep, Simply Sustainable would not engage contractors directly, but would, instead, act an agent of the Owner when performing its project management services. The role of the Owner’s Representative is different from a General Contractor in that the Owner’s Rep protects the Owner’s interests relative to both the Architect and the Contractor.

It depends on the material. We work with an extensive network of manufacturers and distributors, and this allows us to offer clients a carefully curated selection of sustainable and healthy building materials. The catalog on this website is constantly being updated as we identify new materials that meet our criteria. We strive to include as many regionally and domestically produced materials as possible.

In general, it is best to ask your contractor or installer how much material is needed to complete your project. Given the correct information (typically square footage), we can supply accurate quotes for your project. Industry standard is to add 10% to the exact square footage to account for waste during installation, although this may vary depending on the material and the particular project. We also recommend ordering a bit of extra material beyond the recommended 10%, especially for flooring and tile, to accommodate future repairs. Colors and styles are routinely discontinued by manufacturers and may not be available at a future date.

Materials ordered through Simply Sustainable are typically delivered right to your door. We will discuss the specific shipping and delivery needs of each product prior to an order being placed.

Upon request, Simply Sustainable will provide all available transparency documentation relating to a particular material, including Material Safety Data Sheets. In many cases, we can also supply material samples to test for reactions. However, we are not healthcare professionals, and cannot make diagnoses regarding a client’s health or the health impacts of a particular material. If you have a significant health concern, we recommend that you consult with your physician, using the manufacturer’s documentation that we can provide, to determine, prior to purchase and installation, if a material is safe for you to use.

While we are not licensed Interior Designers, we do have significant design experience. We will be happy to help you develop a color/design scheme, make design/material recommendations, and connect you with licensed professionals as needed. A design consultation and project site visit prior to the purchase of any materials is subject to a $250 consultation charge. Design assistance beyond the initial consultation is billed hourly.

About Green Materials

There are many different attributes that go into making a material “green”. These include requirements for sustainable sourcing and manufacturing processes; locality; recycled content; rapidly renewable content; fair trade production; non-toxicity; end-of-life recyclability; lifetime durability; and many others. These are the criteria that Simply Sustainable considers when evaluating a particular material for its collection. Every material has a different combination of factors, and thus must be evaluated individually.

The simple answer is, they don’t. There is a pervasive misconception that building a green project, and using sustainable materials, will automatically cost more ------- typically 20-25% over the cost of traditional construction. This is incorrect. While certain materials and green building features can be e more expensive, in general, most of the additional cost is attributable, not to the materials or building methods themselves, but rather to the learning curve for contractors and/or design professionals who are unfamiliar with green building. Green design and construction require specialized knowledge of building science and technology. Most green materials are readily available at competitive prices. You just need to know where to look and what questions to ask.

The majority of our product offerings are comparable in price to similar items found at other quality showrooms. We do not offer builder-grade products since the typical quality and durability of those materials do not meet our vetting criteria.

In order the properly evaluate a material, it is important to understand where it comes from and what goes into it. This is an issue of material transparency. There are a number of common “transparency documents” which are based on information that material manufacturers either provide themselves or have compiled by independent third-party certifiers. These transparency documents include: Environmental Product Declarations; Health Product Declarations; Life Cycle Cost analyses; Declare reports; and Cradle-to-Cradle certifications.

We cross reference all our materials and their components against the “Red List” produced by the Living Futures Institute. This is a list of chemicals, toxins and carcinogens that should not be found in building materials. Certain individuals may, however, have sensitivities to materials, such as latex, that are not on the Red List. In those cases, Simply Sustainable will work with the client to identify a reasonable alternative to the problematic material.

The most well-known building rating system is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which certifies the structure and major systems of a building. WELL is complementary to LEED. It focuses on the health and wellness of building occupants. Living Building Challenge seeks to create the world’s most sustainable and healthy structures by focusing on net zero energy, water and waste production by the certified structure. Other common certifications include Energy Star, Passive House and Green Globes.

In addition to the Building rating systems, there are also dozens of material certifications, most geared toward a specific market or material type. Energy Star, WaterSense, GreenGuard, FloorScore, SRI Indoor Advantage, Cradle-to-Cradle, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Green Seal, and CRI Green Label are all well recognized product certifications.