Looking Forward to 2008

Bill Walsh - December 19, 2007

Dear Friends,

First things first -- Thank You to our readers for the encouragement and support you have given to the Healthy Building News. Your ongoing interest in and support of our work is one of the reasons why the past five years have been a success.

Since 2002 we have tried to provide green building professionals with timely, reliable information and perspective on market and political trends that are defining the green building movement. By keeping you informed, our objective is to help you be more effective and lead the green building movement from within.

Together we have made a real difference, sowing deep grassroots support for common sense policies -- the Precautionary Principle, the FSC credit in LEED, and collaboration with healthcare leaders to foster best health-based building practices.[1]

I hope that a glance ahead at our publication calendar for 2008 will convince you that your tax deductible contribution is a first step along the road to continued success as we step up to the challenges that our community will face next year.

One emerging issue is the growing chorus of legislation targeting chemical flame retardants due to their extreme health risks, an issue foreseen in an authoritative 2004 analysis (subscription required) by the Environmental Building News. [2] Early next year HB News will publish an eye-opening interview with a fire chief who is building all of his fire houses to LEED Silver standards. His views on chemical flame retardants might surprise you, as might his insights into some unintended consequences of widespread adoption of green building practices and materials.

Next year will also see increased interest and debate over how best to evaluate building materials against environmental, health and social concerns. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is one of the hottest concepts in materials evaluation today, and the methodology of choice promoted by the chemicals and plastics industries. Is it sound science or a dark art?

HB News will look at LCA, and take a look back at how a similar tool developed to quantify environmental impact data -- chemical risk assessment -- was promoted by the chemical industry, adopted by the government, and then failed to remove even one toxic chemical from production in over 30 years.

So how does a green building practitioner distinguish among competing marketing claims, certification programs, and life cycle analyses -- not to mention evaluate materials against all of the criteria that are important to him or her, or the client? HB News will keep you current on the development of our own Pharos building materials evaluation system: the most transparent, comprehensive and user-friendly materials evaluation tool you will find.

By making a tax-deductible contribution today, you will help start the discussions that shape the green building movement next year.

With best wishes for a peaceful winter season, thank you for your support.


Footnotes

[1] FSC = Forest Stewardship Council; LEED = Leadership In Environmental and Energy Design

[2] Flame Retardants Under Fire, Environmental Building News, June 2004. http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=130601a.xml


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