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Healthy Building Network and Google Announce First-of-Its-Kind Building Materials Analysis and Decision-making Tool

 

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Building Industry Leaders Perkins + Will, The Durst Organization, Harvard University,

and HomeFree Affordable Housing Cohort Join As Founding Partners

 

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Los Angeles, CA (October 5, 2016) - Healthy Building Network, the green building movement’s leader in health and transparency, and Google today announced Portico, a web based application designed to simplify the analysis, selection and specification of building products that meet health and transparency objectives. Portico offers a unique service that allows the key participants in a building project such as owners, architects, contractors and manufacturers to collaborate, research and make actionable decisions on healthy building materials.

Read the full press release >>

What is Portico?

Portico is an online tool used for the selection and specification of healthy products and materials for the built environment. The web service integrates healthy materials evaluation and project management-related functionalities with an extensive product database. Owned by Healthy Building Network, Portico was created in partnership with Google Real Estate and Workplace Services (REWS) team. Portico leverages a 40,000+ Chemical and Material Library (from HBN’s Pharos Project) for health and environmental hazard screening, assessment and certification information. One of its key features is to screen and evaluate the healthfulness of selected building products through a built-in request-for-information process with manufacturers.

"Google has long sought a means to bring our values and commitment to healthy buildings to life, and Portico provides us with the platform to do so. It provides actionable data that prioritizes health outcomes based on rigorous standards and integrated criteria, enabling real time decisions within the cost and schedule constraints of a design and construction project.” - Anthony Ravitz of Google Real Estate Workplace Services

Who can use Portico?

Our vision is to open Portico for use by anyone involved in the design, construction and operation of healthy spaces. To enable this scale of use by the industry, HBN is seeking a small group of partners to join the Early Access Program, receive the benefits from the tool, and help evolve and expand Portico so that we are building up the platform that can meet a diverse needs and priorities based on the user.

"As the first founding partner from the higher education community, Harvard is excited to use and contribute to Portico for the advancement of healthy materials at universities, companies and everywhere. We’re also excited to connect this work with our primary mission through a unique collaboration between OFS and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment with HBN and Google that will foster opportunities for our faculty and students to use the rich data available to generate new research and support existing initiatives on healthy buildings that are already underway at Harvard." - Heather Henriksen, Director of the Harvard Office for Sustainability (OFS)

What are the benefits of Portico for owners and operators?

Using Portico, owners and operators benefit by being able to define their healthy materials priorities and criteria at the beginning of a project and track progress against them in real time. Portico can be used by project teams to research and select materials quickly and, if necessary, to easily seek additional information from manufacturers all in one project management service.  As a tool that enables the simplification of project management, product research and the selection of healthy building materials, Portico will ultimately allow large-scale owners and operators to articulate the value they place on health, which will drive more transparency and demand for healthier products in the building materials market.

“Portico is a tremendous asset for those seeking to improve transparency and understanding of the products and materials that make up the built environment. It leverages the collective power of the owners, contractors, designers and architects to demand that manufacturers disclose vital data about their products and the process of how they are made. In addition, Portico strengthens the marketplace by fostering competition and aggregating information on healthier building products, allowing for more informed and better specification for bidding and negotiations.” - Alexander Durst, Chief Development Officer of The Durst Organization

What are the benefits of Portico for architects, designers and contractors?

Through Portico, architects, designers, and contractors are empowered with product information that is transparent, actionable and backed by scientific evidence and rigorous standards such as Health Product Declaration, GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals and Cradle to Cradle Certification. Whether the project is trying to eliminate a specific class of chemical compounds or striving to achieve a third party certification such Living Building Challenge, LEED or WELL, Portico provides information that is comparable and actionable throughout every phase of the project lifecycle. With built in functionalities to evaluate bids and approve substitution requests against a project’s healthy materials criteria, Portico is designed to integrate with the project workflow and milestones.  Contractors and laborers will minimize chemical hazard exposures when healthier products are selected.

"At Perkins+Will, creating places that promote and nurture health has long been part of our ethos. To that end, transparency into what’s in our building products and materials is critical. It’s why we spearheaded the development of the Perkins+Will Precautionary List in 2008, and shortly thereafter, our Transparency website. Today, we’re proud to be among the founding partners of Portico. We look forward to working with HBN, Google, and others to ensure that safe, healthy, high-performing products are both manufactured and used in place-making projects around the world.” - Phil Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Perkins+Will

What are the benefits of Portico for manufacturers?

Portico enables a direct channel of communication between manufacturers and their customers. Manufacturers benefit from the ease with which they can share information about their products directly with owners, architects, and contractors through Portico.  By entering product information within Portico, manufacturers are able to instantly share it with any number of users already using Portico, eliminating the need to duplicate efforts at multiple locations.  

"We are especially thrilled to include our HomeFree affordable housing leaders as part of our founding members. Often sustainability efforts are out of reach for low-and middle-income populations due to cost premiums. Portico is a tool that will ensure that everyone has access to healthy materials" - Gina Ciganik, Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Building Network

 

HomeFree is a nationwide healthy, affordable materials program created by Healthy Building Network with support from The JPB Foundation.

 

Healthy Building Network is seeking one to three additional Portico - Early Access Program (EAP) Partners

It is our goal to broaden the number and type of organizations that use Portico in the future in order to increase transparency in the area of building materials.

Register Your Interest In Becoming An EAP Partner


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