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How Good Are the Latest Sustainable Product Platforms? | Architect Magazine

Blaine Brownell puts three to the test: Pharos, Declare, and Mindful Materials.

 Flickr/Creative Commons License/Joi Ito
Flickr/Creative Commons License/Joi Ito

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the influence that interior environments have on human health. For architects and designers, tools that facilitate the selection of healthy materials have assumed unprecedented importance.

The earliest versions of online product platforms that focused on health or sustainability offered minimal functionality, such as providing lists of toxic chemicals. Ingredient lists were often challenging to obtain, because manufacturers were not required to produce the data, were protecting trade secrets, or had something to hide. But growing environmental advocacy has motivated industry change, pressuring companies to divulge their material contents so they can be specified in “green” projects. Platforms such as Perkins + WIll’s Transparency, the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Open Standard, and the Quartz Common Products Database reflect efforts to increase the transparency of building product data. Tools like these have grown in number and sophistication—enabling material searches, detailed ingredient lists, and community discussions.

I decided to take a closer look at three recent tools that are particularly well-suited for product selection by design application: the Healthy Building Network’s Pharos, the International Living Futures Institute’s Declare, and the Mindful Materials library. I test-drove these platforms from the perspective of an architect or designer, to see how how useful and accessible they are as part of the design process. To be fair, each tool has a slightly different objective, making a direct comparison challenging. But it’s a useful comparison nonetheless.

To test-drive these different platforms, I selected three materials a designer might choose to research, from the common to the uncommon: gypsum wallboard, bamboo flooring, and Hempcrete.

Read on >>>> Source: How Good Are the Latest Sustainable Product Platforms? | Architect Magazine

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