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Skanska dumps US Chamber in favor of transparency and green chemistry

Susan Sabella | July 09, 2013 | Policies

In case you missed it, an incredible development took place this morning:  Skanska USA -- a subsidiary of the $19.7 billion Swedish construction company, Skanska AB -- withdrew its membership from the US Chamber of Commerce. Very few corporations this large have dared to buck the Chamber with statements this bold: "Rather than support...


Transparently NeoCon?

Bill Walsh | June 10, 2013 | Policies

The Carnegie company is introducing a new green product line of wall coverings — Bio-Based Xorel. With a Cradle-to-Cradle Gold certification, third party confirmation of 60-85% plant-based content, manufacturer take-back program, and a Health Product Declaration on file, this is a heavyweight addition to the green product showcase. But it wil...


Transparency comes to building industry's preeminent "un-green" conference

Bill Walsh | June 10, 2013 | Policies

The Carnegie company is introducing a new green product line of wall coverings — Bio-Based Xorel. With a Cradle-to-Cradle Gold certification, third party confirmation of 60-85% plant-based content, manufacturer take-back program, and a Health Product Declaration on file, this is a heavyweight addition to the green product showcase. But it w...


USGBC Announces Abbreviated 7th Public Comment Period

Bill Walsh | April 01, 2013 | Policies

[April Fool's edition] The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has opened the seventh public comment period for the proposed update to its LEED Green Building program, LEED v4. The public comment periods allow the building community to view the most recent draft of the Building Product Disclosure and Optimization - Material Ingredients Credit a...


No Regrets: Why hazard and alternatives assessment can save lives

Tom Lent | April 01, 2013 | Policies

In a compelling article yesterday, the New York Times told a painful story of how workers in a furniture factory have been crippled by exposure to fumes from a toxic chemical used to glue foam cushions together (“As OSHA Emphasizes Safety, Long-Term Health Risks Fester”, NY Times 3/31/2013). Their exposure to sprayed n-propyl bromide...


Let's Just KISS: The LEED 6th Public Comment Period

Bill Walsh | March 26, 2013 | Policies

The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) is one of the fundamental design principles of the industrial age. It holds that simple systems generally work more effectively than complex systems, and therefore, unnecessary complexity should be avoided in good design. The latest version of the LEED Material Ingredients Credit (MRc4) kisses this notion...


Another industry front against chemical safety exposed

James Vallette | January 30, 2013 | Policies

A new voice you might be hearing in green building policy debates should sound familiar to the careful listener. An examination of comments and actions authored by an organization called the Taxpayer Protection Alliance (TPA) finds close parallels to testimony from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), which has been working hard, behind-the-scenes...


The Google Healthiness Machine

Bill Walsh | January 24, 2013 | Policies

For the fourth year in a row Fortune magazine has named Google the best company in America to work for. Slate technology columnist Fahrad Manjoo attributes this success to a relentless data-driven campaign to attract and retain the best employees in the ultra-competitive field of software engineering.[1] He calls this: The Google Happiness Machine....


Leadership in Advocacy

Bill Walsh | December 11, 2012 | Policies

Last month at the Greenbuild Conference and Expo, my colleague Tom Lent and I were honored to accept the 2012 Leadership in Advocacy Award from the US Green Building Council on behalf of the incredibly dedicated staff at the Healthy Building Network.

HBN is a non-profit organization that receives the vast majority of its income through grant...


Draft LEED Material Credit needs your comment by Dec 10 midnight PST

Tom Lent | December 02, 2012 | Policies

(updated 12/09/12) The USGBC has taken a huge step forward to address toxics in building materials in the most recent draft LEED standard that is now in public comment. The credit called “MRc4 - Building product disclosure and optimization - material ingredients” rewards product  transparency to inform product selection and enc...