BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 12

FEATURE: MATERIALS SELECTION

PRODUCT CHOICES FOR
HIGH-PERFORMING BUILDING:
MATERIALS MATTER

WILLIAMS COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER.
CREDIT: NICK NOYES

recent article in Co.Design, "Are 'Green'
Buildings Killing Us?", starkly underscored
the wide-range of potential outcomes
BY CHARLEY STEVENSON
of the movement toward sustainable
AND MATT ROOT
structures, particularly in regards to
health. Results range from spectacular success
to falling well short of the mark. But always,
PEER REVIEWED BY
opportunities abound.
JASON J. JEWHURST
The article highlights findings of the nonprofit
research institution Silent Spring, which discovered
dozens of harmful chemicals in newly renovated,
LEED-certified low-income public housing in Boston.
Some of these chemicals came from typical
products and furnishings brought in by residents.
Sadly, however, many unhealthy contaminants
emanated from the building materials themselves.
Ironically, these products often relate to
sustainability or are chosen to enhance energy
efficiency. Although findings such as those from
Silent Spring seem to undercut the value of
green building, they are better viewed as a prime
opportunity to raise the materials standards for
manufacturers and positively move the market
towards healthier goods.
With the advent of regenerative design
frameworks such as the Living Building Challenge
(LBC), administered by the nonprofit International
Living Future Institute (ILFI), creating beneficial
built environments has become a progressively
12 * BUILDINGENERGY VOL. 37 NO. 1 | SPRING 2018

sophisticated undertaking. Although the LBC process
(whose materials standards we consider here) moves
us in the right direction on diverse fronts, attempting
to address each of the imperatives and solve all the
inherent problems at once can be overwhelming.
It is easy to lose focus and concentrate on some
design aspects, such as energy and water, while
giving short shrift to others, such as materials. Such
thinking can lead to single variable optimization:
carbon dioxide emissions are a problem, so efficiency
is the solution. Of course, carbon dioxide emissions
from building operation are a significant problem,
but not the only problem.
The best sustainable practices consider all. As
NESEA members, we are constantly examining many
decisions that affect the performance of our projects
in our quest to build better buildings. Responsible
teams will seek to address as many issues as
possible in design and construction, minimizing harm
and impact whenever possible.
Adding materials health considerations to the
mix can be done incrementally and it adds a new
dimension to a building's performance. Many of the
decisions we make while specifying products for our
projects have hidden expenses:
* Poorly chosen products place building occupants in
an environment of known toxins.
* The negative effects of toxins on worker
productivity and sick time are well-documented.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018

From the Executive Director
From the Board Chair
Product Choices for High-Performing Building: Materials Matter
Designing Solar for High-Density Areas
High Performance Building Valuation Techniques
Starting with the End in Mind: Enhanced Turnover for Efficient Building Operations
Behavior Based Strategies and Organizational Change in Commercial & Public Buildings: The Human Component of Energy Efficiency
Commercial HVAC Retrofits That Work
Stretch Codes Emerge as a High Impact Strategy For Energy Savings
Scale it Up: Monitoring-Based Demand-Side Operations for NYC Agencies
The Retrofit Revolution
Index to Advertisers
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - intro
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - cover1
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - cover2
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 3
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 4
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 5
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - From the Executive Director
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 7
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 8
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 9
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - From the Board Chair
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 11
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Product Choices for High-Performing Building: Materials Matter
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 13
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 14
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 15
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 16
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 17
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Designing Solar for High-Density Areas
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 19
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 20
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 21
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - High Performance Building Valuation Techniques
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 23
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 24
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 25
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Starting with the End in Mind: Enhanced Turnover for Efficient Building Operations
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 27
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 28
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 29
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 30
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Behavior Based Strategies and Organizational Change in Commercial & Public Buildings: The Human Component of Energy Efficiency
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 32
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 33
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 34
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 35
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Commercial HVAC Retrofits That Work
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 37
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 38
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 39
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 40
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Stretch Codes Emerge as a High Impact Strategy For Energy Savings
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 42
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 43
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 44
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Scale it Up: Monitoring-Based Demand-Side Operations for NYC Agencies
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 46
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 47
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 48
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 49
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 50
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - The Retrofit Revolution
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - insert1
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - insert2
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 52
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 53
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 54
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 55
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 56
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 57
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 58
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 59
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Index to Advertisers
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 61
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 62
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - cover3
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - cover4
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