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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.

Embodied Injustices: Building Material Pollution Harms BIPOC, Low-Income Communities

Rebecca Stamm | September 2022 | Newsletter

Insulation is an integral part of our buildings, and better insulating buildings to decrease energy use is an important part of climate solutions. However, the current approach, singularly-focused on carbon fails to account for other harmful emissions associated with the life cycle of insulation materials—toxic pollution that disproportionately burdens Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and/or low-income communities. Healthy Building Network, in partnership with NRDC and Energy Efficiency for All, recently released a series of reports exploring who is harmed by toxic chemicals along the supply chain of building insulation, and how to make more equitable policies and products.


Affordable Housing Cooperative Transforming the Material Industry

Roberto Valle Kinloch | April 2022 | Newsletter

HBN recently completed a project in partnership with United Renters for Justice (IX), a nonprofit working to transform the Minneapolis housing system, to reduce tenant exposures to toxic chemicals used in building products. Funded through a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the collaboration provided the unique opportunity to co-create resources to help tenants and building managers make informed decisions about the products used in their housing units and common areas. HBN and IX are now excited to make these resources available to you!


Board Chair Monica Nakielski Sees a Big Future for HBN

Austin Wiebe | April 2022 | Newsletter

HBN is excited to welcome Monica Nakielski as our new Board Chair in 2022! A longtime champion of healthy buildings and spaces, Monica is the Vice President of Sustainability at Advocate Aurora Health. Learn why Monica is passionate about healthier materials and hear her vision for HBN in the coming years.


Pharos Helps Manufacturers Future-Proof Their Products

HBN | April 2022 | Newsletter

You’ve probably heard us talk about the hazardous chemicals that can exist in your paint, flooring, and other building products. But chemicals of concern lurk in a great many products, from food packaging and computer monitors to lipstick and sunscreen. Learn how Restricted Substances Lists in HBN's chemical hazard database Pharos help manufacturers in a variety of sectors lead the market with safer chemicals.


Low VOC? Don’t Stop There.

HBN | March 2022 | Newsletter

If you’re reading this article, chances are you are familiar with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals emitted from products into the surrounding air. Perhaps you even know that choosing zero- or low-VOC products is a good first step in selecting healthier building materials. But did you know that products labeled as zero- or low-VOC can still contain hazardous volatile compounds or other chemicals of concern?


Leaders You Should Know: Teresa McGrath

HBN | March 2022 | Newsletter

This Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating an incredible leader in the green chemistry and healthy materials space: our very own Chief Research Officer Teresa McGrath! Learn why she’s a champion for safer chemicals and healthier products and hear her perspective on the industry today.


Membrane Roofing: More Than Just a Hot Topic?

HBN | February 2022 | Newsletter

When it comes to selecting a roofing system, the type of membrane you choose can play a big role in reducing both a building’s energy consumption and its contribution to the urban heat island effect. But have you ever thought about how your choice of roofing membrane can impact human health and the environment? HBN recently released guidance for choosing safer Low-slope Membrane Roofing products.


Multifamily Energy Efficiency Programs Not Sealing the Deal

HBN | February 2022 | Newsletter

A well insulated and sealed building enclosure is key for both energy efficiency and health – so we were surprised when our recent research with NRDC and Energy Efficiency for All revealed that insulation and air sealing may not be happening in many energy efficiency programs for affordable multifamily buildings. Read about our findings and recommendations for improving these programs and ensuring the use of safer materials. 


SERA Demonstrates Safer Products Leadership with Magnolias Project

HBN | February 2022 | Newsletter

Affordable housing is a space for innovation and market leadership for the entire building sector. We are excited to release a new HomeFree case study highlighting our collaboration with SERA Architects to shape healthier material selection for their Magnolias project, an industry-leading affordable housing development that places a strong emphasis on equity and community-centered design.


HBN Welcomes Four New Board Members

HBN | January 2022 | Newsletter

HBN is thrilled to announce the addition of four new members to our board of directors in 2022! Please join us in welcoming Chrissa Pagitsas, Nse Witherspoon, and Anne Lebleu, who fill regular board director seats, and Joiana Hooks, who expands our Emerging Leader directors.