Select Page

Transparency and Material Health in Practice: A Discussion Series

Many design professionals are ready to take the next step in Transparency and Material Health Practice, but lack access to expert resources and existing practice protocols.  Yet, many of the leading architecture and design firms, as well as progressive building owners, have established teams and methods that have enabled them to move beyond collecting transparency reports to begin using the information reported about product contents and health in product selection and specification.

Parsons Healthy Materials Lab and Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC), together with leading practitioners as panelists in this series,  invite you to view the live-recorded videos from our new Discussion Series:  Transparency and Material Health In Practice. The 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.  You will also learn about the practice protocols that are in use today by leaders in transparency and material health practice.

Discussion #1 – September 18, 2018

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.

Panelists included:

  • John Amatruda, Principal – Vidaris, Inc.
  • Robin Guenther, Principal – Perkins+Will
  • Amanda Kaminsky, Founder and Principal – Building Product Ecosystems
  • Alison Mears, Director- Parsons Healthy Materials Lab
  • Wendy Vittori, Executive Director – Health Product Declaration Collaborative

Discussion #2 – October 9, 2018

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

Discussion #3 – October 30, 2018

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.

Panelists included:

  • John Amatruda, Principal – Vidaris, Inc.
  • Catherine Bobenhausen, Senior Consultant – Colden Corporation
  • Heather Henrikson, Managing Director- Harvard University 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

Discussion #4:  January 23, 2019 

Material Health in Affordable Housing and Beyond

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.

This fourth Discussion, Affordable Housing and Beyond: Addressing the Needs of All Populations, explored how architecture and design are being transformed and informed by these new material health practices. Discussion focused on how the particular needs of vulnerable populations are being acknowledged and how this is impacting the work of architects and designers.

Speakers included (bios available here):

  • Andrew Bernheimer, Principal- Bernheimer Architecture PLLC
  • Martha Lewis, Senior Architect – Henning Larsen
  • David Leven, Principal – LEVENBETTS
  • David Lewis, Principal – LTL Architects
  • Alison Mears, Director- Parsons Healthy Materials Lab