This section provides guidance on priority setting for different product categories
- Introducing the Priority Setting articles
- Further detailed technical information
Priority Setting Guides
In the side navigation bar, a number of articles can be found, such as 'Adhesives Tapes & Fasteners'. These articles make up the 'Eco-Priorities & Decision-Making' section and provide guidance on:
- Priority eco-issues when looking at a particular application ('Eco-Priorities')
- Key eco-related strengths and weaknesses of potential products for the application (the 'Quick Guide')
- Decision-making in a whole-of-project project context (the 'Decision Making Chart').
Each guide is structured in 3 sections:
- The eco-priorities overview table: presents the top 3-4 ecological or health priorities associated with each product or category
- A written overview dealing with an explanation of the major issues about the category of products under consideration
- Individual assessments of each individual paint category with 'For' and 'Against' characteristics.
Why Eco-Priorities are important
Knowing the physical characteristics of a product is essential - but it is only part of the picture. Investigating the broader context for a product is critical to optimise outcomes and design synergies. Within each category overview that the 'Eco-Priorities' provide guidance on, the various assessment criteria for a given product and its application are prioritised. An example of this would be when choosing a paint product, VOC's are a primary concern due to their impact on human health and the nature of the volatiles, thus Priority 1 in the Eco-Priorities chart is 'Health'.
The Eco-Priorities aim to inform reading of the search results through looking at what assessment criteria are met. Therefore, a paint product that meets the health assessment criteria is likely to be preferable to a paint product that meets only the 'resources' criteria. As a general rule the more criteria a product meets the stronger its environmental and health performance.
Weighing up benefits and disbenefits
There are two sides to every coin, and every product has its strengths and weaknesses in the context of a given application. The 'Quick Guide' looks at environmental advantages and disadvantages of typical products to assist 'side by side' comparison.
Detailed product knowledge
Finally, within a range of products for an application there may be large variation in environmental performance. The performance variation within a class of products (e.g. synthetic resilient floors) can be greater than the difference between different classes (e.g. timber vs. synthetic) when all factors such as the maintenance regime are taken into account. It is important to look at the class characteristics as well as within the class for the best performers. The Ecospecifier South Africa database and technical guides provide in-depth knowledge, additional guidance, and recommendations.
Starting with the end in mind
At the end of each category overview is a decision-making guide. This is the start, end and in-between point in any design process - the point of reference to examine assumptions and decisions. It seeks to prompt important questions in the right order.