Update! HEALTHY BUILDING NETWORK IS NOW HABITABLE.
Update! HEALTHY BUILDING NETWORK IS NOW HABITABLE.
Update! HEALTHY BUILDING NETWORK IS NOW HABITABLE.
Update! HEALTHY BUILDING NETWORK IS NOW HABITABLE.
Update! HEALTHY BUILDING NETWORK IS NOW HABITABLE.
Update! HEALTHY BUILDING NETWORK IS NOW HABITABLE.

Habitable’s report, “Advancing Health and Equity through Better Building Products,” reveals the current state of building materials used, with nearly 70% of typical products in the categories analyzed containing or relying on the most hazardous chemicals.

The results, based on data for Minnesota affordable housing, are consistent with products used in other building types and geographic regions. The report highlights examples of leaders within and beyond Minnesota’s built environment who are already taking action toward safer material choices. It also provides guidance on how the real estate industry can begin working toward a healthier future by “stepping up from red-ranked products”—the most polluting and harmful throughout their life cycle based on Habitable’s research and Informed™ product guidance.

A path towards planetary health is more urgently needed now than ever, but our current materials economy creates rampant pollution, climate change, and growing inequity. Shifting from harmful practices to healthful solutions will require cross-sector partnerships, holistic thinking, and exciting new approaches that reduce the burden of industry on people and our planet. 

Watch Habitable’s special Earth Month webinar featuring leading global voices, including:

  • Dr. Bethanie Carney-Almroth
  • Dr. Veena Singla
  • Martha Lewis

Moderated by Gina Ciganik, CEO of Habitable

In this opinion piece, architect Martha Lewis addresses the ecological polycrisis of the twenty-first century and its impact on the architectural sector, emphasizing the urgent need for architects to reassess material choices and construction methodologies to mitigate environmental consequences.

NBC’s Cynthia McFadden interviews an expert from Toxic Free Future about their recent report revealing that over 36 million pounds of vinyl chloride are transported daily on more than 200 rail cars, highlighting the risks similar to those seen in the East Palestine train derailment.

This article discusses the latest update to the planetary boundaries model, highlighting the inclusion of numerical guideposts for each boundary and emphasizing the interconnected factors influencing Earth’s habitability beyond climate change.

The Lower Sioux nation are pioneering a first-of-it’s-kind green experiment with a manufacturing campus that integrates vertical hemp growing, hempcrete insulation processing, and healthy home construction, aiming to address housing and job shortages while reclaiming sovereignty.

This report discusses concerns about replacing lead service lines with PVC plastic pipes, highlighting the potential health and environmental risks associated with leaching chemicals, urging for thorough consideration and evaluation of alternative piping materials.

This report emphasizes the need for equitable building decarbonization efforts, highlighting the importance of centering the perspectives of vulnerable communities to address long-standing inequities in housing quality and health disparities exacerbated by current policies.

HBN tested 94 commercially available paint products for the presence of harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), called “forever chemicals”. Approximately 50% of ‌paints tested positive for fluorine, a marker of PFAS. Review the details of our findings and the recommended actions you can take.

HBN and Perkins&Will have released a second report aimed at transforming the way project teams select sustainable, low-carbon products. Building on the first report titled “Embodied Carbon and Material Health in Gypsum Drywall and Flooring,” a second report investigating the intersection of carbon and material health is titled “Embodied Carbon and Material Health in Insulation”.

Insulation is a unique product category that can help reduce a building’s operational carbon emissions by optimizing performance, lowering the energy required for heating and cooling. Those same materials can also negatively impact the environment by releasing greenhouse gasses throughout their life cycle. Insulation can also contain toxic chemicals that migrate into interior spaces. This report provides guidance for designers and architects to choose the best materials that takes materials health and embodied carbon into consideration.

Key Highlights from the reports include:

  • Optimized Products for Material Health and Embodied Carbon: The reports show that products improving material health and embodied carbon are available across all the examined product categories: flooring, gypsum drywall, and insulation.
  • Screening for Optimized Product Types: Professionals are advised to first screen for optimized product types before selecting specific products. This approach helps teams capitalize on the fact that the biggest improvements can be made by selecting different product types within a product category.
  • Navigating Potential Contradictions: Acknowledging that embodied carbon and material health considerations are sometimes contradictory, the reports emphasize the importance of reviewing the provided guidance to make informed decisions.

The reports represent a significant step forward in sustainable design practices, offering actionable insights that empower professionals to make environmentally conscious choices without compromising on carbon or health priorities.