News

Posted on Sep 27, 2021 in General

Transparency Report - Leaders and Laggards

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?

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Posted on Sep 27, 2021 in General

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

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.

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Posted on Sep 27, 2021 in General

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

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.

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Posted on Jul 27, 2021 in General

Our Plastic Buildings - the New Driver of Fossil Fuel Demand

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.

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Posted on Jul 27, 2021 in General

HomeFree Resources Make Healthier Choices Easy

Whether you've been a fan of HBN for a long time or you have just been introduced to our work, there’s a good chance you might have come across our HomeFree program. This brief primer will get you up to speed with our latest resources and actionable steps you can take to bring material health into your project.

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Posted on May 25, 2021 in General

A Tenant’s Call for Safer, Healthier Housing

Earlier this year, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) awarded Healthy Building Network a grant to work alongside a community-based organization called Renters United for Justice to reduce toxic chemical exposures among vulnerable individuals. Read about one tenant's story and how a new cooperative is making strides to create safer and healthier housing for all their neighbors.

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Posted on May 25, 2021 in General

The Illusion of Plastics Recycling: Neither Just Nor Circular

The production and use of plastics is predicted to soon be the largest driver of world oil demand. While plastic building products are often marketed in ways that give the illusion of progress toward recycling and a circular economy, the reality is that virtually no plastic building materials are recycled. Today our only choices for plastic waste are to burn or landfill most of it. And expanding plastics production and incineration is a conscious decision to perpetuate well documented inequity and injustice in our building products supply chain.

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Posted on Apr 26, 2021 in General

What We're Reading This Earth Month

This Earth Month, we wanted to take the chance to highlight some great conversations that are happening in our ecosystem. We compiled a list of some of the articles and media HBN staff are reading and listening to that we think you should know about.

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Posted on Mar 30, 2021 in General

Our Children’s Health Depends on Our Materials Choices

HBN Chief Research Officer Teresa McGrath shares how doing her job and keeping her children safe go hand in hand. This article uses a personal story to discuss two groups (or classes) of toxic chemicals found both in household dust and children’s bodies, and shares recommendations for how we can collectively use our voices and buying power to shift the market towards safer products.

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Posted on Mar 30, 2021 in General

Modular Construction - Let’s Get it Right from the Start

In November 2020, First Community Housing and SERA Architects announced a partnership to build a 66-unit housing project in Morgan Hill, California. The 66-unit apartment building will use modular construction techniques, offering a chance to explore healthier material solutions that leverage the technologies and standardized processes that are characteristic, or at least available to, the modular construction industry.

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