Tom Lent Announces His Retirement After 18 Years of Leadership and Friendship

Bill Walsh | December 2018 | Newsletter

A letter from Bill Walsh, Founder and Board President, and Gina Ciganik, CEO

With our deepest appreciation and respect, we announce that Tom Lent has decided to retire at the end of the year after 18 years as Healthy Building Network’s policy director and, most recently, senior advisor. In our very first year, Tom worked side by side with HBN founder Bill Walsh to create our programs, tools, policies, and, most importantly, the spirit that is HBN.

Tom has served on virtually every significant advisory body in the green building industry, influencing the evolution of building rating systems including LEED, Living Building Challenge, and Green Communities Criteria; product certifications including Cradle to Cradle and Living Product Challenge; and the GreenScreen chemical hazard assessments. Just a few highlights from his HBN career give you a sense of his impact.

Pharos/Data Commons: Lead author of the white paper that became the Data Commons, which built on the “Pharos Framework” he developed for the Pharos database.

Health Product Declaration: Lead author of the original white paper that became the blueprint for what is now the Health Product Declaration (HPD) and the Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC). Tom was also co-chair of the original pilot and technical committees.

Green Guide for Health Care: Founding co-coordinator of the first building rating system to incorporate hazard-based material credits that later evolved into LEED for Healthcare.

Formaldehyde elimination: A leading advocate of the groundbreaking formaldehyde regulations adopted by the California Air Resources Board in 2007, Tom played a key role in building support from a broad coalition of designers and manufacturers for these regulations.

Arsenic elimination: An architect of HBN’s 2004 campaign resulting in the elimination of arsenic-based compounds in pressure-treated wood.

Perhaps more significant than all of this has been Tom’s immeasurable influence as trusted advisor and compassionate colleague to people across the spectrum of stakeholders in the building industry and the environmental health movement.


A personal message from Tom:

It has been quite an adventure and an honor to work with the incredible array of brilliant researchers, engineers, and strategists who have made HBN so effective. That effectiveness also rests with an amazing ecosystem of people, including you. We’ve made some impressive progress in transforming the building industry. Arsenic is out of most pressure-treated wood. Formaldehyde is gone from residential fiberglass insulation, and emissions are way down from composite wood. Phthalates are disappearing from products. And the list goes on. More broadly, the industry is learning a lot about what is in the products with which we build our environments and how to produce inherently safer materials.

There’s a long way to go, but it’s time for me to take a break and hand off some torches. I hope you will continue to work with and support HBN to realize the transformation we’ve envisioned. We have a great team carrying forward the work I helped begin.

Thank you again for all you have done – and will continue to do – to make this a healthier place for all. It has been rewarding to work with you and this industry, and to see what we have been able to accomplish. I look forward to watching and celebrating your continued progress.   








Tom will wrap up his HBN tenure on December 11 – and we don’t want to lose touch with you! If in the past you would have contacted Tom with information, ideas, or requests for assistance, please now contact HBN’s Chief Research Officer, Teresa McGrath, at  

With gratitude and best wishes,








Bill Walsh, Founder and Board President

Gina Ciganik, Chief Executive Officer