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HBN Blog category: Tools

Quartz Common Product Profiles Now Available in Pharos

Melissa Coffin | August 01, 2016

Since 2009, the Pharos Project’s Building Products Library (BPL) has been a resource for those seeking disclosure of the chemicals and materials used to formulate and manufacture building products.  More than 1,600 individual building products appear in the BPL, representing 15 different product categories (adhesives, flooring, etc.). Co...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Perkins + Will, HBN, Unravel the Myth of “Clean Vinyl”

Melissa Coffin | November 18, 2015

Today, the global architecture firm Perkins+WIll What's New (and What's Not) With PVC, which explores the current state of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), written in partnership with the Healthy Building Network.  The vinyl industry has been on a new rebranding campaign: “clean-vinyl” [2] are two examples of the trade names at th...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Cracking the (Building) Code on Flame Retardants

Melissa Coffin | September 18, 2014

Halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) used in building materials and their breakdown products can be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic.  As such, they appear on restriction lists used by many in the green building community, including the Living Building Challenge Red List and the Perkins+Will Precautionary List.   Beyond their...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Pharos Tackles Sanitary Ware

Melissa Coffin | August 05, 2014

Building on our review of ceramic and porcelain tiles earlier this year, the Pharos team has added a Sanitary Ware category to our building product library.   Flushometers, toilets, tanks, and toilet seats now appear in Pharos.

This was an interesting experience for us – trying to decipher the material composition of a class of...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

One Tiny Problem with Mortar & Grout: Nanosilver

Melissa Coffin | May 19, 2014

When we opened a Pharos product category for Ceramic Tiles last month, the mortars and grouts required to install them were a bit of an afterthought: essentially cement, we assumed, adding these products to Pharos would be a snap.  As it happens, we were wrong on both counts.  Far from just cement, there is a wide range of chemistries u...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Hungry Building Products?

Melissa Coffin | October 25, 2013

A few months back we took a look  at so-called “self-cleaning” products: products that manufacturers promise will deliver air-purifying capabilities in addition to their primary function in construction.  We initially focused on products using the photocatalysis of titanium dioxide to convert nitrogen oxide air pollutants in...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Self-Cleaning or Greenwashing? New Product Claims Raise Questions

Melissa Coffin | July 23, 2013

Can building products make the environment cleaner and healthier? Has the first generation of "pollution-eating," "regenerative" materials arrived? A growing number of products are claiming to remove everything from VOCs from interior environments to auto-exhaust on highways. The apparent wizardry behind some of these product...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Self-Cleaning or Greenwashing? New Product Claims Raise Questions

Melissa Coffin | July 22, 2013

Over the course of our work with manufacturers, the Pharos team often learns of creative and innovative new building products.   The latest: products that, in addition to performing their standard function in buildings, also claim the ability to actively improve the air quality where they are used and installed.  Do these products...

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HBN Blog category: Optimized Recycling

Reintroducing Pharos Team Notes

Melissa Coffin | July 09, 2013

The Pharos team is often on the receiving end of phone calls or emails from our users who have questions about our building product evaluations – the meaning of a flag or hazard association, or why we’ve listed a product with a particular level of completion or participation.

While we’re always happy to talk about our approach...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

From Compost to Composites: Innovating with Cow Pies

Melissa Coffin | July 27, 2011

Earlier this month I was introduced to a new product for Pharos, a line of wall boards and panels made from a blend of cellulose sources -- recycled cardboard, old newsprint, and something near and dear to my Vermont heart: bovine processed fibers.  Yes, BPFs as they're known, are the fibers left over from the anaerobic digestion tanks use...

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