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.

HomeFree Campus: Online Classes for Selecting Healthier, Affordable Products

HBN | April 2019 | Newsletter

Are you constructing or remodeling a space and want to learn why and how to select healthier products? Healthy Building Network is excited to announce the launch of the HomeFree Campus, an online education resource that provides simple, science-based information that can help you select affordable, healthier materials. 

Learning with HomeFree will support you and your team in the following ways:

  • Building core awareness and understanding — why do healthy materials matter for you, your residents, installers, and the environment?
  • Providing guidance for selecting healthier building products; know what to ask.

The Next Challenge in Indoor Air Quality: SVOCs

HBN | April 2019 | Newsletter

Concerns about indoor air quality are as old as the republic. Benjamin Franklin and John Adams are said to have argued the relative merits of sleeping with open windows in 1776. A century later, their institutional progeny at the US Environmental Protection Agency sided more or less with Franklin after studying Sick Building Syndrome concluding that “most indoor air pollution comes from sources inside the building.” Building materials led the EPA list of culprits. Today, as New Yorker contributor Nicola Twilley recounts in the most engaging article you will ever read about hydroxyl radicals (“Pac Man of the atmosphere”), research capabilities are so sophisticated that it is possible to isolate with scientific precision the impact on indoor air quality of toasting bread or a squeeze of lime. Still, among the most elusive indoor air contaminants after all these years are a subclass of chemicals known as semi-volatile organic compounds - SVOCs  - chemicals that can’t be “controlled” with better ventilation. 


Lauren Heine Joins MaterialWise, Enhancing Science, Data and Collaboration Capabilities

HBN | April 2019 | Newsletter

Dr. Lauren Heine has joined MaterialWise as Director of Safer Materials & Data Integrity. A pioneering leader in the field of green chemistry, Heine brings decades of experience and leadership in green chemistry and engineering, alternatives assessment and multi-stakeholder collaboration which will accelerate MaterialWise’s efforts to enable a prosperous, toxic-free future for people, the planet and commerce.


Newly Completed Inventory of Chlorine & PVC Production Sheds New Light on Supply Chain Challenges

Teresa McGrath and Jim Vallette | March 2019 | Newsletter

Demand from the building industry now drives the production of chlorine, the key ingredient of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) widely used in pipes, siding, roofing membranes, wall covering, flooring, and carpeting. Chlorine is also an essential feedstock for epoxies used in adhesives and flooring topcoats, and for polyurethane used in insulation and flooring.  On March 19, 2019, the Healthy Building Network will release Phase 2 of its landmark report on chlorine-based plastics that are widely used in common building and construction products. The report, “​Chlorine and Building Materials: A Global Inventory of Production Technologies, Markets, and Pollution. Phase 2: Asia,”​ completes HBN’s global analysis of the industry.  


New Resource for Specifying Healthier Insulation and Sealants

Rebecca Stamm | March 2019 | Newsletter

Healthy Building Network, along with Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), has released “Guidance for Specifying Healthier Insulation and Air-Sealing Materials,” a new resource to help those working in multifamily energy efficiency upgrades make healthier material choices.


HBN is Hiring!

Teresa McGrath | March 2019 | Newsletter

Be part of a non-profit organization that is making the world a healthier place. We are seeking an experienced Materials Researcher to contribute to HBN's body of research on building products, chemicals, and related health hazards. Click here for more information or to apply. 
 


Banksy & Building Products: The Justice of Full Transparency

Bill Walsh | January 2019 | Newsletter

The powerful new Banksy mural that appeared in a small town in Wales just before Christmas 2018 seems at first to be a timeless and global statement. But like the Dickensian dystopia it evokes, it is also particular to a place and time – Port Talbot, a town situated hard against the Tata Steel mill on Wales’ southwest coast.  People, especially those of us who define what healthy buildings and healthy products are, have a right, and an obligation, to know where building products come from, and what life is like there.


The Solution is Transparency: Public disclosure of product content and hazard is critical to solving material health challenges

Tom Lent and Rebecca Stamm | January 2019 | Newsletter

Manufacturers are sometimes understandably reticent to reveal the “secret sauce” behind their building product formulations. In recent years, however, we have learned that thousands of the substances used in our built environment endanger human and environmental health. Many more substances have yet to be fully evaluated. Only through full public disclosure and assessment of contents and hazards can we identify and solve the problems — in buildings, on worksites, and in communities — created by hazardous substances in building products.

In this article, HBN outlines why the building industry needs to demand full public disclosure of product content and hazard.