Ten Years, Ten Minutes: 2010

Bill Walsh - December 21, 2010

The end of 2010 also marks the close of the Healthy Building Network's 10th year. It seems fitting that our first decade concludes with both an ending and a beginning - the culmination of an effort we began in our first year, and the launch of a new program that I believe will define our next decade. As you read on, if you share our enthusiasm for the new LEED credits that reward the avoidance of highly toxic chemicals, or our excitement about the new Materials Research Collaborative we have formed with BuildingGreen, or appreciate the news and views brought to you in this newsletter and in our Pharos Project blog, The Signal, please take ten minutes to support our work in 2011 - and for the next ten years - with a tax deductible donation online.

Since I founded HBN in 2000, my colleagues and I have tirelessly advocated for LEED credits that encourage the reduced use of materials that emit highly toxic chemicals into the environment during their lifecycle. This year, the USGBC introduced two credits into its Pilot Credit Library that discourage the use of toxic flame retardants, dioxin producing chlorinated plastics and endocrine disrupting phthalate plasticizers used in vinyl. Yes Virginia, LEED now offers credits to those pioneering green building professionals who've been avoiding the use of vinyl building products all these years!

We are also celebrating LEED for Healthcare (LEED HC), which passed member ballot in November with widespread support. HBN has been working toward this goal since 2002 when we helped create the Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC), the foundational document for LEED HC. The GGHC introduced a number of innovative health-based approaches that became the basis for LEED HC, and the new chemical avoidance credits in the LEED Pilot Credit Library.

This year at Greenbuild, HBN announced a new strategic partnership with BuildingGreen. The two organizations will link their web-based green building research sites - GreenSpec and the Pharos Project - to provide one trusted, authoritative, and independent source for specifying green building products. At the heart of this collaboration is the Materials Research Collaborative, a new project of HBN that will be the foundation for our future work.

The nonprofit Materials Research Collaborative will bring together top researchers from HBN and BuildingGreen to significantly accelerate the pace of independent research into materials used in building products. With your support, the two most trusted sources of information on building products will increase the scope and depth of our research into better material choices, and dramatically enhance our ability to communicate these results to a much broader audience.

Both BuildingGreen and HBN have always been committed to establishing and maintaining independence from paid advertising and manufacturing sponsorships in order to avoid conflicts of interest when researching building products and materials. By combining the capabilities of HBN and BuildingGreen, we will bring a new level of depth to our research that will help you distinguish green products from greenwash, ensuring that the greenest manufacturers get the credit and the customers they deserve. Your tax-deductible contribution will expand our ability to provide the type of in-depth research and thoughtful leadership that is already shaping the market for green building materials and improving the environmental performance of a wide range of products.

I hope that you will consider becoming one of the first supporters of this strategic new partnership by making a donation today.

Please make your tax deductible contribution of $100, $50, or as much as you can afford, by donating online, or sending your check to the Healthy Building Network at the address below.

Warm wishes for a Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year from your friends at HBN!

CLARIFICATION: In our last newsletter we referenced "five credits that were removed from earlier LEED HC drafts and placed in the LEED Pilot Credit Library." Actually, two of the credits - the two addressing Integrative Design and Project Planning - were not removed from LEED HC, but were simply added to the Pilot Credit Library to make them available to other LEED Projects.


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