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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.

Industry Leaders You Should Know: Simona Fischer, MSR Design

HBN | November 2021 | Newsletter

As registered architect, sustainable design professional, and associate with MSR Design, Simona Fischer has spent much of her career thus far developing and testing strategies for integrating sustainable design into the workflow of architectural practice. She was instrumental in the Living Building Challenge Petal Certification of MSR Design’s new downtown Minneapolis headquarters, which achieved the materials, beauty, and equity petals. We sat down with Simona to learn more and to get her perspective on the green building industry today.


New HomeFree Resource: How to Create Healthier Materials Guidelines

HBN | November 2021 | Newsletter

HomeFree is excited to announce a brand new resource designed to help architects, building owners, managers, and developers create materials guidelines that support human and environmental health in housing projects. Conceived as a complementary resource to HBN’s product guidance, this guide will walk you through how to institutionalize healthier material considerations across your projects and organization. 


Addressing the Plastics Crisis: Why Vinyl Has to Go

Bill Walsh | October 2021 | Newsletter

If we are to have any chance of addressing the global plastics crisis, Polyvinyl Chloride plastic (PVC), also known as vinyl, has got to go. In this article, HBN founder Bill Walsh explains the technical, economic, and behavioral reasons why.


What to Know When Selecting Water Pipes

HBN | October 2021 | Newsletter

Water intake pipes are different from a lot of other building materials as they are one of the only materials that come directly into contact with the water that we drink, cook with, and wash with everyday. HBN recently released a new Water Pipes Hazard Spectrum comparing the impacts of different pipe materials from a health perspective.


Two New Faces Continue Growth at HBN

HBN | October 2021 | Newsletter

HBN is thrilled to introduce you to two new staff members: Lindsy “LB” Bissonnette, Development Manager, and Anjanette Green, Senior Director of Product Transformation.


The True Costs of Toxic Materials

Rebecca Stamm | October 2021 | Newsletter

The reality of today's materials market is that some products can be sold cheaply because someone else is carrying the burden of the true cost. In this article, we aim to expand your thinking about the cost of materials to account for the costs borne by individuals and fenceline communities who are exposed to toxic chemicals every day.


Transparency Report - Leaders and Laggards

HBN | September 2021 | Newsletter

Materials transparency is foundational to improving the health and safety of building materials. Last year, we wrote about the growth we’ve seen in the past decade in the amount and quality of data that’s available. This year we looked a little closer, and it’s clear that some product categories are ahead of others. When it comes to transparency, who's leading and who's lagging?


Low- and No-Cost Ways to Start Using Safer Materials

HBN | September 2021 | Newsletter

It can feel daunting to know where to start prioritizing material health in your work. You may feel like you don’t have the time or budget to select materials that are free of hazardous chemicals. Fortunately, there are some relatively simple, low- or no-cost ways to start incorporating healthier materials into your projects right away. By focusing on a few high-impact product categories with readily available healthier products, you can begin the process of preferring and specifying healthier materials without making significant changes to your bottom line.


Health is at the Center of Harvard’s New Engineering Complex

Austin Wiebe | September 2021 | Newsletter

Earlier this year, Harvard University dedicated its new Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), a model for green building and the largest project and first research laboratory to achieve the ILFI's Living Building Challenge Petal Certification. We sat down with Harvard's Chief Sustainability Officer Heather Henriksen to learn more about the project and how HBN's work has guided Harvard's green building leadership.


Our Plastic Buildings - the New Driver of Fossil Fuel Demand

HBN | July 2021 | Newsletter

The idea of a “plastic building” might bring to mind Barbie DreamHouses or Lego towers, but probably not the real life spaces we occupy every day. However, plastics have a long history of use in construction and are increasingly being used in a wide variety of building products.