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

New Chief Research Officer Brings Wide Expertise to HBN

Gina Ciganik | September 2018 | Newsletter

Please join us in welcoming Teresa McGrath, our new Chief Research Officer, who will lead Research and Education strategies at HBN. Teresa brings holistic knowledge and multi-sector experience to our organization, having worked in government, NGO, and industry. Before joining HBN, she led the Chemical Management Program for Sherwin-Williams, the largest paints and coatings company in the world. Her work focused on hazards reduction and transparency, and assisting business units in meeting their specific sustainability and green chemistry goals. She also spent nine years as the Senior Managing Toxicologist at NSF International’s Green Chemistry Programs, and two years at the Environmental Protection Agency in the Design for the Environment (DfE) Branch of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT).

The High Cost of Cheap PVC

Bill Walsh | September 2018 | Newsletter

Healthier, more sustainable alternatives have a hard time competing with a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic industry that is not held accountable for the costs of its environmental and human health impacts. These costs are paid by people like Delma and Christine Bennet, of Mossville, LA.

Learn more about the implications of chlorine as a feedstock in plastics in our Chlorine and Building Materials report.

Maximize Your Impact: Transformation Targets Will Help Prioritize Product Choices

Tom Lent | September 2018 | Newsletter

Confused by conflicting red lists? Unsure where to focus your limited project time while trying to choose healthier building materials or products? Help is on the way. This fall, HBN will be rolling out “Transformation Targets” to help you prioritize your efforts and make the greatest impact on your project and in the industry.

Healthy Building Network will Present at the Living Product Expo

Gina Ciganik | September 2018 | Newsletter

If you’ll be at the 2018 Living Product Expo, please join us for two thought-provoking sessions:

Healthy & Affordable Building Materials: Strategic Transformation Opportunities
In this workshop, you’ll learn how to leverage transparency data to enable product research, evaluation, and collaboration opportunities that scale affordable product innovation.

Thursday, September 13 at 3 pm
(Track: Social Equity + Supply Chain)

Can PVC be a "Green" Product?: The Evolving Story of Polyvinyl Chloride
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is one of the most common materials in the building products industry, and also one of the most hotly debated topics in green building. While the industry has made progress in addressing health issues with the manufacturer and use of vinyl, concerns remain around the supply chain and end of life for the material. Join this session with four leading experts across the industry including a toxicologist, manufacturer, material researcher, and specifier to understand and uncover the lingering issues with the material and engage in an open, honest conversation about the best way to move the industry forward towards more sustainable PVC.

Wednesday, September 12 at 10:45 am
(Track: Biomimicry + Biophilic Design)

About the Expo

This year, the Living Product Expo is focusing on achieving healthy products and spaces. You’ll gain access to some of the most innovative products available today and meet the industry leaders who are bringing them to market. LP18 keynotes will include leaders from Mohawk Group, Phylagen, Humanscale, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), LightArt, and more.

Regional Insights Provide a Baseline to Advance Specification Guidance

Billy Weber | September 2018 | Newsletter

Are you curious about regional trends in building products? Do you want to know what your peers are using on their projects? Healthy Building Network has collected project specifications to assess baseline information to help you understand typical products installed in affordable housing and identify opportunities for improvement. The results of the Washington, DC baseline specification study are now live on the HomeFree site, where you’ll find similar studies for California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and the Pacific Northwest. Next up is New York.

Just Released: These Healthier Insulations and Sealants Also Improve Energy Efficiency

Rebecca Stamm | September 2018 | Newsletter

Addressing concerns that some insulation products contain and emit unhealthy chemicals, HBN is proud to release “Making Affordable Multifamily Housing More Energy Efficient: A Guide to Healthier Upgrade Materials.” Developed as part of our collaborative effort with the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) initiative and other partners working to improve energy efficiency in affordable, multifamily housing, the new report contains recommendations that provide actionable value across building sectors.

The report features HBN’s materials research and provides important recommendations anyone can use to improve energy efficiency while reducing toxic chemical exposures to workers, residents, and the environment. Our research highlights chemicals of concern commonly found in insulation and sealants, suggests healthier material options for weatherization programs, and provides information and inspiration for anyone interested in healthier product options.

Landmark report provides little known details of plastics production: asbestos, mercury, global warming, and ocean pollution

James Vallette | August 2018 | Newsletter

On July 26th Healthy Building Network released Phase 1 of a landmark report on chlorine based plastics that are widely used in common building and construction products. Demand from the building industry now drives the production of chlorine, the key ingredient of PVC widely used in pipes, siding, roofing membranes, wall covering, flooring, and carpeting. It is also an essential feedstock for epoxies used in adhesives and flooring topcoats, and for polyurethane used in insulation and flooring.

Beware the Hidden Ozone Depleter: Upstream Impacts of Blowing Agents

Rebecca Stamm | August 2018 | Newsletter

As noted in HBN’s new Chlorine and Building Materials report, chlorine production is a major source of releases of carbon tetrachloride, a potent global warming and ozone depleting gas as well as a carcinogen. As this report reminds us, it’s important to consider not only the use-phase impacts of building products, but the entire life cycle, including primary chemical production that’s several steps back from final product manufacture. In our 2017 comments to the EPA, HBN uncovered another link to ozone depleting carbon tetrachloride in building products – one you might not expect – use in the production of low global warming potential blowing agents.

Chemicals and their Functions Now Connected in the Data Commons

Michel Dedeo | August 2018 | Newsletter

Looking for a non-toxic surfactant for a new product formulation? Now you can search the Chemical Hazard Data Commons by chemical function and easily compare the toxicity profiles of your hits. Every chemical in commerce serves one or more functions, whether it’s a solvent, pesticide, chelating agent, fragrance, or preservative. We’re excited to announce the Data Commons now includes 11 sources of functional uses, and about 160,000 links associating specific chemicals with a functional use, product category, or product.

HomeFree helped make the Liberty Bank Building a healthier place to live – What could it do for your project?

Billy Weber | August 2018 | Newsletter

As part of our HomeFree program, Healthy Building Network partnered with Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) on a pacific northwest demonstration project at their Liberty Bank Building. The partnership provided information and research for CHH to explore and select healthier, alternative materials, and led to a renewed, organization-wide commitment to health and their creation of a Healthy Homes Initiative.