The emphasis on transparent disclosure of ingredients in LEED v4 and several other building industry tools has left many people in the building industry confused and/or fearful about the potential health implications of the materials we are using. The big question is “transparency, now what?” This session will begin to give participants scientifically credible approaches to assessing the actual health risks from building materials and stepping out of fear into a common sense and individualized approach to risk assessment.
In this session, Beyond Hazard Disclosure: Are Building Materials Safe (H11) we will focus on needed refinements to hazard disclosure tools in order to promote transparency and hazardous chemical substitution in the building products sector. We will help participants begin to understand how to know whether a chemical ingredient in a building product might pose a health and safety risk.
I hope to bring insight to this session by offering the knowledge I have acquired from my professional life. I have a long history helping decision makers in business and other non-technical fields make decisions about healthy and sustainable materials, including work with Walmart, Staples, Starwood Resorts, and several international architecture and design firms to develop and refine their tools for material selection. I have also examined green chemistry and materials through the lens of biomimicry and am a certified Biomimicry Specialist. Fun fact: I was the personal manager for environmental legend David Brower (dubbed “The Archdruid” by John McPhee) for the last 3 years of his life and organized the design charrette in 2002 that led to the creation of the LEED Platinum David Brower Center in Berkeley, CA.
So what else makes this session one worth attending?
- We have Meg Whittaker, who is the most interesting, helpful, practical toxicologist that we know.
- This session will help participants take the next steps needed to translate data found in the transparency tools popularized by LEED v4 into quality decisions (without needing a degree in toxicology).
- My session at Greenbuild last year was one of the highest rated and most interactive sessions on the potentially very technical topic of materials.
According to Greenbuild Amanda Langweil, Architect with Perkins+Will and Greenbuild Project Work Group Member “ I like that this session goes beyond just understanding only material health of products, but how the usage of that product impacts our exposure to the ingredients. For example, what about worker health during manufacturing of these products? Or what about the construction workers installing them? This session will also help individuals without a background in science learn how to interpret product disclosures.”