Blogs

Take an inside look into emerging markets and trends. Gain valuable new perspectives from HBN experts and our partners. Be inspired to know better.

Power Your Work with the Latest Release of Pharos!

HBN | April 2020 | Newsletter

Healthy Building Network is thrilled to officially announce the latest release of Pharos! With a totally redesigned user interface, and exciting new features, it’s easier than ever to prioritize chemicals management and identify safer alternatives to chemicals of concern. Plus, check out two new case studies detailing how Klean Kanteen and University of Victoria use Pharos to improve their work, and see how Pharos is being used as a collaboration and research tool during this pandemic.


Tools You Can Use: HomeFree Specifications for Healthier Paint and Flooring

HBN | February 2020 | Newsletter

If you’re an architect, specification writer, or developer and you want to specify healthier paint and flooring materials, the new HomeFree Specifications can help. HBN developed specification language in editable Word documents organized according to MasterFormat® standard divisions. In addition to drop-in specification language, the Specifications also provide examples of products that meet the spec requirements. Lauren Zullo, Director of Environmental Impact at Jonathan Rose Companies says, “The HomeFree Specifications are really clear documents that my team can pass along to our various architects and general contractors to help provide the reasoning behind WHY we’re asking for what we’re asking for, in terms of healthier materials. It not only helps increase awareness, but allows design teams to make more informed decisions with value engineered product selection.”


Petrochemical Companies are Burying Black History. The Building Industry Can Help Resurrect It.

Bill Walsh | February 2020 | Newsletter

In Louisiana, the factories that make the chemicals and plastics for our building products are built literally upon the bones of African Americans. Plantation fields have been transformed into industrial fortresses. A Shell Refinery1 sprawls across the former Bruslie and Monroe plantations. Belle Pointe is now the DuPont Pontchartrain Works, among the most toxic air polluters in the state.2 Soon, the Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group intends to build a 2400-acre complex of 14 facilities that will transform fracked gas into plastics. It will occupy land that was formerly the Acadia and Buena Vista plantations, and not incidentally, the ancestral burial grounds of local African American residents, some of whom trace their lineage back to people enslaved there.3 Virtually every building product we use today contains a petrochemical component that originates from heavily polluted communities, frequently home to people of color. As the green building movement searches for ways to enhance diversity, inclusion and equity, how might it address the legacies of injustice that are tied to the products and materials we use every day?


Picking a Safer Paint is Easier Than You Think

HBN | January 2020 | Newsletter

Selecting the right paint for your project can be challenging and identifying a paint that reduces your exposure to toxic chemicals on top of that can be even more daunting. The good news is that transformation continues to happen in the paint market, providing developers, architects, and consumers more options for choosing less toxic paint products. Moreover, at Healthy Building Network (HBN), we continue working with our partners to help simplify the process of selecting a safer paint. 


HBN Helps Guide New Green Communities Materials Criteria

HBN | January 2020 | Newsletter

Enterprise Community Partners has just released the next generation of their Green Communities Criteria. The only national green building standard designed specifically for affordable housing projects, the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria has a major impact on how affordable housing properties are constructed. HBN is proud to have contributed to the development of the new 2020 Green Communities Criteria. Krista Egger, senior director of initiatives at Enterprise Community Partners, acknowledged HBN’s contribution, saying, "Significant improvements were made to the Materials section of the Green Communities standard thanks to the leadership of HBN."


New LEED Circularity Pilot Credit Incorporates HBN Optimize Recycling Research

Teresa McGrath | January 2020 | Newsletter

A circular economy is an essential  strategy to reach carbon reduction goals, reduce waste, and reduce the impact of resource extraction. Use of recycled content can also re-introduce legacy chemicals of concern into new products. By knowing where recycled content is coming from and testing for common contaminants of concern, we can encourage a safer and circular economy, while increasing the value of beneficial recycled feedstocks. A new pilot credit in LEED rewards project teams that use “safe & circular” products. 


The Best Climate Action Plans Include This...

HBN | December 2019 | Newsletter

Current climate action plans are bold, they are necessary, they feel impossible, and they are coming into the consciousness of all concerned (and unconcerned), decades after the early reports should have been taken seriously. At this point, there is an urgency because people are experiencing the effects of a warming planet (storms, fires, rising tides, health impacts from warmer temperatures, etc.).