Chemicals Without Harm: Policies For A Sustainable World

Bill Walsh - October 2, 2015

Ken Geiser's Book Tour October Events   Monday, October 5, 6:00-8:00   Parsons School of Design, The New School, L105 University Center  65 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York   Monday, October 13, 11:45-12:50   Santa Clara University, Benson Parlor B  500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA   Tuesday, October 20, 2:00-3:00   UC Berkeley, 775 Tan, University of California  Berkeley, CA   Thursday, October 22, 6:00-8:00   San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium  100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA   Wednesday, October 28, 12:00-12:30   P2 Regional Roundtable  Silver Cloud Stadium, 1046 First Avenue South, Seattle, WA.    Thursday, October 29, 5:00-7:00   Portland State University, 123 Market Center Building  Market and Fourth Streets, Portland, OR   MIT Press has published a... Read More

Clear Lessons For Recycling Glass In Building Products

Jim Vallette - September 30, 2015

The use of recycling materials in building products is evolving. The latest version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED version 4) green building rating system no longer explicitly credits recycled materials, but it does reward transparency and disclosure of product lifecycles and contents. While recycling is more important than ever because of the need to make use of dwindling world resources, recycling's supply chain is murky and far from transparent. As Wes Sullens and Barry Hooper note in an upcoming Healthy Building Network newsletter, "This truly is the age of transparency for building products. Yet in this new light, recycled content can find itself somewhat in the dark." [1] Economics aren't helping either. The rise of single-stream recycling contaminates waste streams and devalues recycled feedstocks, while at the same time prices for virgin materials have dropped due to fracking and low energy prices. And US export... Read More

HBN Board Chair Robin Guenther Gives TEDMED Talk

Bill Walsh - September 17, 2015

Last September the Chair of HBN's Board of Directors, Robin Guenther, delivered a TEDMED talk entitled Why Hospitals Are Making Us Sick. That talk is now available for viewing, and we are pleased to bring it to you here. Robin is a leading expert and textbook author, with Gail Vittori, of Sustainable Healthcare Architecture. As principal at Perkins+Will, Robin has designed innovative healthcare buildings that have been published nationally and internationally. In addition to her practice and duties with HBN, Robin works at the intersection of healthcare architecture and sustainability policy, participating in a wide range of advocacy initiatives. She is Senior Advisor to Health Care Without Harm, co-coordinated with the Green Guide for Health Care, and she served on the LEED for Healthcare committee. Healthcare Design magazine named her the "#1 Most Influential Designer in Healthcare."  Watch Robin's talk on... Read More

Firsts At The Living Product Expo

Bill Walsh - August 20, 2015

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) will convene its first Living Product Expo next month in Pittsburgh.  In addition to the much anticipated roll out of the Living Product Challenge during a pre-conference workshop, the conference organizers have created program full of leading experts at the forefront of healthy materials development who will be unveiling a new wave of innovative initiatives and programs for the first time. We at the Healthy Building Network will be providing a first look at two new programs.  I will be discussing our new collaboration with the Healthy Materials Lab at the Parsons School of Design.  This project, undertaken in partnership with the Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC) and Green Science Policy Institute (GSPI) is designed to accelerate the adoption of healthy materials in affordable housing, while leveraging the market power of this sector to drive product transparency and innovation.  HBN’s... Read More

The end is near for phthalate plasticizers

Jim Vallette - July 9, 2015

The market for toxic plasticizers in building materials is closing.  Yesterday, a third major retailer – Menards – announced that it is following Home Depot and Lowe’s leads, and will end the use of phthalate plasticizers in its vinyl floors by the end of 2015.  This follows similar actions by the world’s largest flooring manufacturers – Mohawk and Tarkett – and a stark warning issued in the new issue of Consumer Reports. In an email reported in yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Menards spokesperson Jeff Abbot wrote, "We are still aware of the phthalate concern and have been working diligently with our vendors to eliminate any flooring products that contain phthalates.” Over twenty percent of the composition of some polyvinyl chloride (PVC, also called vinyl) sheet flooring is phthalate plasticizer. Public health authorities have determined that many phthalates are detrimental to developmental health. Some... Read More

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