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Beyond Transparency: Improving Product Decisions with Transparency and Material Health Information

Parsons Healthy Materials Lab and Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC) invite you to the third discussion in our Four-Part Fall Discussion Series: Transparency and Material Health In Practice. This live audience Discussion Series provides Architecture and Design Professionals with practical answers to questions that you are likely to encounter as you take the next steps to integrate healthy materials practices into product selection and specification in your projects.

October 30th “Beyond Transparency: Improving Product Decisions with Transparency and Material Health Information”

Building firm commitment and practitioner knowledge of transparency are fundamental steps that any architecture and design firm can take. For those who have taken these steps, this third session in our Discussion Series will provide insight into the next level of integrating material health information with other decision parameters. We will address the question: “How can project teams tackle the question of “selecting healthier products.” We will explore decision-making frameworks that integrate consideration of material health attributes with cost, performance and other product characteristics. Drawing on experience in related fields such as industrial hygiene, we will explore the tools that are feasible in today’s situation, to support these next steps in selecting and specifying healthier building products, and healthier buildings.

Speakers include:

  • John Amatruda, Principal – Vidaris, Inc.
  • Catherine Bobenhausen, Senior Consultant - Colden Corporation
  • Heather Henriksen, Managing Director, Harvard University Office for Sustainability
  • Jonsara Ruth, Design Director- Parsons Healthy Materials Lab
  • Alison Mears, Director- Parsons Healthy Materials Lab
  • Wendy Vittori, Executive Director - Health Product Declaration Collaborative

The third Discussion will take place on October 30th from 6:00pm-7:30 pm. For those in the New York City area, in person attendance is available, and we would love to have you in the audience with us. We are also livestreaming the discussion (livestream available here), so that everyone can participate in real-time. Registration is free, but space is limited, so please RSVP early to assure your attendance.

Please Note: If you are not currently working with transparency and material health information in your practice, we recommend that you consider taking HPDC’s 1-hour introductory course: Empowering the Design Professional, prior to attending. This course, which is free and provides for 1-hour CEU credit, will equip you with information that will be helpful to participating in the Discussion Series. Please click this link to access the course. You may also take one of Healthy Materials Lab’s online courses in Healthy Materials and Sustainable Buildings found here.

The format for each session is a 90 minute, live presentation and discussion with a panel of experienced practitioners who have implemented healthy materials practices at their firms. Our panelists will speak - from their own experience - to some of the common issues that arise in introducing these practices in architecture, design and building owner firms, and share their lessons learned and solutions implemented. The sessions will provide you with case studies and actionable information that you can put to use right away on your own projects. You also will learn about other tools and resources that are available and affordable, that can help you and your colleagues quickly and effectively introduce the use of transparency and material health practices into your design projects. Audience members are highly encouraged to bring your own questions for discussion with the panelists.

Upcoming Discussions in this Series:

A discussion among Affordable Housing architects and developers currently incorporating material health in their practice and buildings. Participants will describe the funding challenges, changes in design practice and the environmental and social benefits for occupants.

Speakers to be announced.

Past Discussions in this Series:

September 18th: Managing Transparency and Material Health in Practice - Firm Level Introduction Issues

In this first session our experienced panelists shared how they have addressed the firm-level administrative and management issues which may arise with the decision to include transparency and material health information in projects. Topics included: risk and liability management, specifications, interfacing with contractors, and presenting to clients/ROI for building owners.

Speakers included:

o John Amatruda, Principal – Vidaris, Inc.

o Robin Guenther, Principal - Perkins+Will

o Amanda Kaminsky, Founder and Principal - Building Product Ecosystems

o Alison Mears, Director- Parsons Healthy Materials Lab

o Wendy Vittori, Executive Director - Health Product Declaration Collaborative

A recorded video of the first Discussion is available here.

October 9th: Transparency and Material Health “In Practice” - Accessing and Using Transparency and Material Health information

This discussion provided an overview of transparency reports and material health databases and libraries available for use by architecture and design practices. Our panelists shared their practical approaches to integrating these tools and information with their existing firm libraries. They also addressed the techniques they have used to prepare design professionals, through education and practice, to use these tools in project documentation, specifications, and to obtain LEED/WELL and other building certification credits.

Panelists included:

● Mary Dickinson, Perkins+Will

● Susan Kaplan, HLW International

● Jack Dinning, Donghia healthier Materials Library at Parsons

● Alison Mears, Parsons Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons

● Wendy Vittori, HPD Collaborative

A recorded video of the second Discussion will be posted shortly.

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