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Expanding the Conversation

Penny Bonda, FASID, LEED Fellow, HBN Board Member | June 01, 2011 | Policies


Designers are sometimes guilty of bad or even dehumanizing design. I know this because prior to my career switch in the late 1990s to environmental communications, I practiced interior design for 27 years, as the owner of my own firm and as an employee of architectural and interiors firms.

I have personally created some of the most...

EPA Targets Polyurethane Chemistry in Spray Foams, Adhesives & Coatings

Tom Lent | April 19, 2011 | Policies

Last week the US EPA put the building industry on notice that it is planning steps to protect the public from asthma and other respiratory problems from two of the fundamental building blocks of polyurethane.

Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate (MDI) and Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI) join a growing list of EPA Chemicals of Concern that are widely used in...

European Chemical Ban Will REACH U.S. Building Materials

Tom Lent | February 22, 2011 | Policies

In a move sure to shake up the building industry, the European Union announced last week that under the terms of its new chemicals policy known as REACH[1], five chemicals used in building materials plus a sixth chemical used in cleaning product fragrances will be banned from use within the next three to five years unless an authorization has been...

The 2030 Challenge: Healthy Building with Low Carbon Products

Bill Walsh | February 14, 2011 | Policies

Today, Architecture 2030 is issuing the 2030 Challenge for Products, a plan to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the manufacturing and transportation of building products. The Healthy Building Network and BuildingGreen will support the initiative, helping the A&D community play an active role in this ambitious pr...

New LEED Pilot Credits Advance While Chemical Data Gap Looms

Bill Walsh | January 14, 2011 | Policies

Last year the USGBC introduced two new Pilot Credits[1] that reward precautionary action, the avoidance of certain classes of chemicals in the face of mounting evidence that they present significant threats to human health.[2] Industry trade groups fought these measures as they fight all chemical regulation, with the argument restrictions or disinc...

LEED Gets Healthier: LEED for Healthcare Approved

Bill Walsh | December 03, 2010 | Policies

The US Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED for Healthcare (LEED HC) rating system passed member ballot on November 16, 2010 with an 87% approval rate. Its passage brings to a close six years of developmental work, including contentious debates over credits for reduced use of toxic chemicals and the hardball tactics of industry trade associations.

Meeting the new LEED Pilot Library chemical avoidance credit

Tom Lent | November 16, 2010 | Policies

The USGBC's new "Pilot Credit 11: Chemical Avoidance in Building Materials" is an important step forward for the LEED program in addressing human health and leading chemicals of concern. This new addition to the LEED Pilot Library basically requires project teams to do two things:

1) Product selection: specify interior finish materia...

New LEED Materials Credits Target Phthalates, Flame Retardants

Bill Walsh | October 28, 2010 | Policies

Today the US Green Building Council (USGBC) expanded the LEED Pilot Credit Library with a new LEED materials credit for "Chemical Avoidance In Building Materials." This credit along with an earlier credit for "PBT Source Reduction: Dioxins and Halogenated Organic Compounds" marks the beginning of a three step approach the USGBC is developing to address "chemicals of concern" in building materials. LEED project teams will play a critical role in the success of this process, which is likely to be aggressively resisted by the chemicals and plastics industries, and some product manufacturers.

First Products Pass New Stricter VOC Standard for Homes

Tom Lent | October 21, 2010 | Policies

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has released their first Indoor Advantage Gold certifications for products meeting the new, tougher residential criteria under Version 1.1 of the 01350 specification (see the new certificate here). The State of California made several revisions to the 01350 standard early this year including: 1) Tightening the...