WASHINGTON, D.C. –The American Society of Interior Designers Foundation (ASID Foundation) has awarded $100,000 to the Materials Research Collaborative, a two-year project of the Healthy Building Network (HBN). The Foundation received proposals from more than 60 interior designers, scientists and educators for projects focusing on how interior design improves human behavior.
A central element of the partnership between HBN and BuildingGreen, the Materials Research Collaborative operates with the purpose of enabling the interior design community to more proactively participate in reducing the use of building products that are hazardous to human health while stimulating market demand for healthier building products. Chemicals released from interior finish products into the built environment can have profound impacts on human behavior, ranging from reduced comfort and productivity for building occupants to long-term genetic damage that can affect future generations.
This project will provide interior designers with an improved level of independently-verified information that can be applied to avoid using these materials. This information will be presented for use via the Pharos online database and analysis system, a project of HBN that has established itself as the industry leader in transparent access to chemical and material properties of building products.
Part of the online database and analysis system is the Pharos lens, which aims to organize a large amount of important environmental, health and social information about products into a format that is easily grasped by the user. The lens is comprised of a series of wedges that are each assigned a different social, health or environmental issue, consistent with the Pharos framework. Shades of red, yellow and green are used to show relative performance on each issue, with green indicating better performance than red. The lens demonstrates that products may do well in some categories, but poorly in others. The lens also allows for users to focus in on specific issues of concern, or to consider a broad range of issues in the selection of materials.
According to the HBN website, “Our long-term goal for Pharos is to become the leading materials evaluation tool for the building industry as a means of transforming the building materials market toward products that are superior from an environmental, health and social justice standpoint. Over the next two years, our goal is to establish Pharos first as the building materials selection tool of the nation’s largest health care systems, and then to develop strategic partnerships and alliances that allow us to bring Pharos up to a scale that can serve the entire building industry.”
More information on the Pharos online database can be found at the Pharos Project website.
About Healthy Building Network:
The Healthy Building Network is deeply committed to the goal of achieving environmental justice. We employ comprehensive lifecycle thinking when evaluating green building materials. Since 2000, our projects have directly resulted in the introduction of new, healthier building materials into commercial markets, shifting over $4 billion in materials purchases from toxic materials to healthier alternatives that are comparable in both price and performance to the materials they have replaced. We have played a key role in establishing precedent-setting green building guidelines for health care facilities, demonstrating well-built, healthy and green modular homes to the affordable housing market in the Gulf States region and developing the first, on-line evaluation tool for building materials. Learn more at the HBN website.