Construction professionals today are faced with the challenge of looking for building materials and products that are both environmentally friendly and cost efficient. A new Web-based solution will allow builders and contractors to search for green products for free.

GreenWizard, www.greenwizard.com, Charleston, S.C., offers a Web-based solution to help contractors and builders research and select building materials. The company has provided a green search and submittal system since 2008, but late last week, the company launched its first free green product search service, bringing some of the features of the technology to the industry for no cost.

Adam Bernholz, founder and CEO, GreenWizard, says the company wanted to offer an easy-to-use version of GreenWizard to the public at no charge. Through the search engine, contractors and builders can look through more than 120,000 products via a keyword search or Master Format Number search.

The results will then list products associated with green attributes including percentages of pre-consumer recycled content, post-consumer recycled content, rapidly renewable ratings, and product VOC levels.

For construction professionals, this free service might be a nice way to look for options when it comes to green building. However, for builders that want additional features, the company also offers paid-for subscriptions.

The advanced capabilities include creating and managing products in a searchable digital library; viewing more detailed results such as third-party certifications and regional materials relevant to a project; communicating directly with a manufacturer through the Web-based system; optimizing product selection against a project’s objectives; and simplifying the submittal process by increasing document access in a central location.

The technology allows the construction industry to better manage and select environmentally friendly products. A big value of the technology is if a company is seeking LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) certification, the system has checklists and credit assessment tools to help share information and organize the information needed for LEED credits.

While the advanced features within this technology could help build your next green project, the free service might be a good way to test the waters to see how the Web-based system works for your company.

Undoubtedly green building will remain a strong trend in the years to come, requiring contractors to include energy-efficient products in new building projects. Technology such as this can help contractors and builders search, select, and manage building products and materials.