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Greenbuild Sessions Highlight Materials Health, Safety and Innovation

LOS ANGELES (October 4, 2016) – Innovations in chemistry make an important contribution in developing the products and materials that help create attractive, durable, modern buildings. At the same time, there is a growing focus on whether and how ingredients in building materials may affect the environment and the health of building occupants.

Increased interest in “healthy” buildings, along with desire on the part of building owners to make progress toward attaining green building certification system requirements, means architects and specifiers seek more detailed information about which building materials and products help to meet sustainability goals. Manufacturers also are challenged to meet this demand for green and sustainable materials and work with architects, specifiers and builders to provide them with the products they need.

To address these issues, the American Chemistry Council and the U.S. Green Building Council collaborated to develop two sessions focused on materials health and safety in the built environment at the Greenbuild Conference and Expo this week:

  • A two-hour town hall-style session, Materials Health and Safety: A Holistic Approach to Innovation, on Wednesday, October 5, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. features three panelists with expertise in theories, techniques and assessment tools related to materials health. The speakers will review how to: assess the life-cycle impacts of materials used in construction; understand and meet demand for transparent information about ingredients in building products; and assess opportunities and challenges to applying green chemistry principles to the building and construction sector.

    A primary learning objective of the session is to enable attendees to create actionable plans for meeting the requirements of the LEED Version 4 MR credit Building Products Disclosure and Optimization – Materials Ingredients and related LEED pilot credits that address materials health. 

  • At a Materials Think Tank, on Thursday, October 6, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. experts will break into two panels to review the materials and products used in buildings and showcase innovative approaches to design, construction and operations, taking into account performance needs and functionality across a whole building. 

    Speakers in the first panel, introduced by USGBC COO Mahesh Ramanujam, will feature discussion on the latest product innovations, how a product comes to market and efforts along a product’s lifecycle – particularly in the building envelope – to help ensure safety and performance when enabling innovation. Representatives from the manufacturing sector and architecture community will discuss decision-making criteria, research and development challenges and how to weigh product attributes and measure trade-offs.

    The second panel, moderated by USGBC Chief Product Officer Scot Horst, will continue the discussion and address tools and other best practices that promote materials sustainability, along with LEED Version 4 credit fulfillment and new pilot credits for materials to encourage good design.

Greenbuild attendees will come away with a greater understanding of these building trends and how LEED Version 4 is taking steps to move beyond a single attribute approach to an evaluation that takes into account the entire life cycle of materials used in buildings. Attendees will earn two GBCI CE hours for each session.

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