News

Posted on May 30, 2019 in General

HBN’s Transformation Targets: A better way to prioritize chemicals of concern.

We often hear that one of the greatest challenges to architects, designers, and building owners is navigating the plethora of certifications, standards, restricted substances lists (RSLs), and competing priorities. In fact, HBN’s Pharos database identified over 300. Heavy reliance on RSLs can lead to regrettable substitution (a different chemical replacement with the similar or worse toxicity or impacts). HBN took up the challenge, to move beyond the limitations of RSLs, and to help focus the entire industry on one (maybe two) chemical compound groups at a time per product type that are ripe for transformation, and to amplify our collective energies to replace these chemicals with fully disclosed, fully assessed safer alternatives. 

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Posted on May 30, 2019 in General

Healthy Building Network Receives 2019 Design for Humanity Award

Healthy Building Network has been honored as the national 2019 Design for Humanity award recipient from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). In celebrating an institution for having made significant contributions to improving the environment for humanity through projects that transform lives, this award recognizes the far-reaching impact of HBN’s work.

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Posted on Apr 22, 2019 in General

HomeFree Campus: Online Classes for Selecting Healthier, Affordable Products

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.

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Posted on Apr 22, 2019 in General

Emissions from Carpet Tiles Sickens Three Minnesota Workers

Symptoms of “sick building” syndrome include “headache; eye, nose, or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odors”. These symptoms can develop after long-term exposures, or they can occur after a single instance of exposure, as in the case reported by the Minnesota Daily last month. Three carpet installers were sent to the emergency room after installing carpeting in an apartment building intended for student housing near the University of Minnesota. The workers could not tell doctors what they were exposed to because the carpeting did not include a complete list of contents. To find out, the workers first measured the air quality with a device ordered off of Amazon, which immediately “jumped to red” when exposed to the carpeting. The Minneapolis Building and Construction Trade Council then sent carpet samples to a lab for emissions testing. This testing found total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) at levels that “significantly exceed” typical levels in the air. The chemicals noted on the report included some on the Minnesota Department of Health list of Chemicals of High Concern.

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Posted on Apr 22, 2019 in General

The Next Challenge in Indoor Air Quality: SVOCs

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 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. 

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Posted on Mar 19, 2019 in General

“There’s What in This Building?!” New Podcast

ICYMI - Thank you to Positive Energy’s Building Science podcast for hosting HBN’s Gina Ciganik, CEO, and Billy Weber, Collective Impact Director, to discuss our resources and work towards healthier building products. Tune in here: https://positiveenergy.pro/building-science-podcast/2019/1/11/our-friends-at-the-healthy-building-network

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Posted on Feb 28, 2019 in General

New Resource for Specifying Healthier Insulation and Sealants

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.

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Posted on Jan 15, 2019 in General

Banksy & Building Products: The Justice of Full Transparency

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.

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Posted on Jan 15, 2019 in General

National Healthy Housing Leaders Announced as HomeFree Champions

Healthy Building Network is excited to announce the HomeFree Champions who will shape and guide HomeFree, our initiative to support affordable housing leaders who are improving human health by decreasing their use of toxic building materials. The 16 members are a dynamic group of national and regional healthy-housing experts who represent cross-sector disciplines. “We are honored to be working with top innovators who have been creating the healthiest, high-efficiency buildings in the country, and who are willing to share their knowledge with others,” says Gina Ciganik, CEO of Healthy Building Network.

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Posted on Dec 11, 2018 in General

AIA Code of Ethics Now Includes Healthier, More Sustainable Materials

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), a professional association for architects, recently made several additions to its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct with the intention of improving sustainability and decreasing the health impacts of materials.

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