For the majority of Americans, Labor Day weekend is often seen as the end of summer—one last weekend to pull out our finest white apparel, hit the beach or deck chair, and relax in the sun. Rather than see it as an end, however, for me the weekend has long stood as a beginning. I see it as a kick-start to the fall, which each year is inevitably filled with the hustle and bustle of trade shows and other industry events and news. This month, as youth across the country return to the classroom to hit the books, ECO-STRUCTURE's going back to school as well. Our September issue, focusing on education facilities and learning spaces, hits mailboxes (and this week, full of innovative, inspirational and high-performance spaces. We’ve also got a range of columns that may teach you a thing or two, from a discussion on potential litigation arising from green building certification programs to a look at how rooftop photovoltaic systems and green roofs can be used in a symbiotic manner.

To whet your whistle, check out’s latest online feature, Where Biology Meets Building, which looks at Tyson Living Learning Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Designed by Hellmuth & Bicknese, the building is vying with several other facilities to meet the Living Building Challenge. Learn about its efforts here.

While you’re reading up online, we also want you to take a moment to educate us. This October, ECO-STRUCTURE, in collaboration with its sister magazine, ARCHITECT, is publishing a Product Spec Guide dedicated to green building materials and products, and in doing so, we want your feedback. As detailed below, there are two ways you can contribute to the Product Spec Guide.

For the architects, designers, project managers, and sustainability consultants, we want to know how you evaluate products with an eye on green characteristics and claims. Tell us: what, exactly, is a green product? To gather your responses, we’ve created a quick online survey where you can tell us what environmental attributes you take into consideration in evaluating products, what product certifications matter most to you, and what you think are your biggest challenges in this realm. Don’t miss your chance to contribute: Log on to by this Friday, Sept. 10, to add your input. Answers will appear in the Product Spec Guide.

Now, for the manufacturers out there, we want your feedback, too—in the form of your latest sustainable products. We’re seeking products introduced to the building market after Oct. 1, 2009, in the following categories:
- Envelope: Curtain walls, storefronts, roofs, sealants, and more.
- Interiors: Furniture, finishes, surfaces, kitchen and bath, drywall, and more.
- Lighting: Task, track, direct-indirect, LEDs, and more
- Materials: Glass, wood, metal, and more.
- Outdoor: Landscaping, furniture, paving, security, lighting, and more.
- Systems: HVAC, security, signage, controls, and more.

Products should be uploaded in a zipped or compressed file or folder containing a press release and high-resolution photography to Files must be less than 2 GB in size and must be received by Sept. 10 for consideration.