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.

Blue Vinyl, Green Vinyl ? . . . Nice Vinyl, Mean Vinyl

Bill Walsh | April 14, 2010 | Materials

By all accounts my debate on Tuesday night with the Vinyl Institute at the New Jersey Green Building Council was deemed a successful event for all who attended. The Vinyl Industry reps are good at what they do, and they were getting to speak first. I expected them to come out swinging, so I came prepared with Dr. Joe Thornton's comprehensive an...


Toxic Trade 2010: Drywall

James Vallette | April 08, 2010 | Materials

A couple decades ago, I helped to organize a campaign to stop the export of hazardous waste from the industrialized North to the rest of the world. Ultimately, our work resulted in a ban on many forms of such toxic trade. It is shocking to see the same tricks that waste traders played on impoverished communities being reenacted in my home country....


EPA Adds to Your Right to Know What’s Coming from That Smokestack

Tom Lent | April 06, 2010 | Policies

US EPA proposed today to add 16 chemicals to the Toxic Release Inventory list which identifies the chemicals that companies must report if they send them up their smokestacks, out their sewage lines or into landfills -- the first such addition in over a decade. The 16 are chemicals that have been classified as "reasonably anticipated to be a h...


Formaldehyde additives in US-made drywall

James Vallette | April 01, 2010 | Materials

The more The Pharos Team researches building materials, the more we understand how much of the built environment emits formaldehyde. Sources like insulation, laminates, and particleboard are well documented. But, few people realize that another potential source is one of the most prevalent building materials used in the United States: wallboards, a...


Fooling Ourselves

Bill Walsh | April 01, 2010 | Policies

HBN has learned that the EPA Energy Star program will announce that two new products, a space heater with a feather duster attached and a gasoline-powered alarm clock, will soon carry the Energy Star label. The designation will be granted to the products certified as consuming 20 percent less energy than similar products on the market.


Our Clear Cut Choice

Bill Walsh | March 22, 2010 | Policies

I recently received an email asking me to help stop the certified forestry practices pictured to the right.[1] An investigative report by a local television station documented that among other things, few members of the certifying body had visited the site, and “none of them had any forestry education.” Asked on camera: “How is th...


Mercury contamination of drywall

James Vallette | March 18, 2010 | Materials

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ran tests on six drywall products, two from China, and four from the United States. These tests raise an alarm about an element that has been little discussed in the Chinese drywall scare: mercury. The EPA tests identified mercury in four of these products. The two China-made wallboards contained...


California Girls’ Body Burden of Dangerous Flame Retardants

Julie Silas | March 12, 2010 | Policies

A study recently released in Environmental Research shows high levels of brominated flame retardants (PBDEs) in 6-8 year-old girls from California. The study authors speculated that "the higher PBDE levels in girls from California may reflect differences in fire regulation and safety codes." Living and working in California, I have had th...


Pharos adds Wallboards to Building Product Library

James Vallette | March 09, 2010 | Materials

Wallboards, our newest addition to the Pharos Building Product Library, are now ready for users to explore. The first batch of products focuses on products from three leading manufacturers, Georgia-Pacific,National Gypsum, and Temple-Inland. Over the coming weeks, we will add many more companies and products.

Wallboard is any flat board used to co...


Catholic Healthcare West – A Role Model for Chemicals Policy

Julie Silas | March 04, 2010 | Policies

Catholic Healthcare West's (CHW) recent report, "An Enduring Mission: Social Responsibility Report 2009," shows what innovative leaders can do to move toward a healthier and just society, even in these difficult economic times.

For more than ten years, CHW has been an environmental leader in the health care sector. As one of the larg...