Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 24

JEAN HANSEN

THE SOLUTION

Title: Sustainable Principal, Senior Professional Associate
Firm: HDR
Location: San Francisco

S U S TA I N A B L E D E S I G N C H A L L E N G E : H E A L T H I E R
M AT E R I A L S E L E C T I O N

A growing body of environmental health research and
literature demonstrates the connection between chemical
exposures from certain materials and risks that those
chemicals pose to human and environmental health. For
example, there's emerging evidence that chemicals such
as phthalate plasticizers, formaldehyde, and acrylates
commonly used in building products can impact children and
lead to the development of asthma among people of any age.
It's one thing to recognize that building materials impact
the built environment and human health. But understanding what a design professional can do to lessen that impact or, even better, to select
and specify materials that promote health is an even bigger challenge-
especially in the healthcare field where, by their nature, facilities need
to promote wellness and well-being. Where does one start to design facilities to support human and environmental health? HDR advocates for
the need to provide a framework for design with a healthier materials
selection process, identification of the best resources available for safer
alternative selections, and the appropriate education to raise awareness
and build expertise.
WHY IT'S AN ISSUE

In general, the U.S. government doesn't regulate chemical safety (except
for food, medicine, and cosmetics), and with more than 80,000 chemicals
in use in commerce, very little information exists about their toxicity.
To design healthier environments, designers today focus on Restricted
Substance Lists (RSLs) and/or chemicals of concern, but we now know
it doesn't make sense to phase out one problematic chemical at a time.
For example, several stain treatments for carpets and fabrics containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or highly fluorinated chemicals
were recently phased out due to their potential for health harm. Their
replacements, or "regrettable substitutions," have been found to pose
similar health risks.
Several organizations and programs are being developed to help address healthier materials selection. One such program, the "Six Classes"
of chemicals approach by the Green Science Policy Institute, aims to reduce the use of harmful chemicals by focusing on an entire class or group
of chemicals of concern, such as phthalates and antimicrobials, offering
an opportunity to accelerate reductions in toxicant use and the use of regrettable substitutions. As understanding and awareness of these issues
continue, design firms will need to enhance their staff's knowledge and
practice regarding implementing healthier materials on their projects.

24

OCTOBER 2019

HCDMAGAZINE.COM

Sustainability continues to be a cornerstone
in HDR's work, which includes transforming
how the buildings we design support human
and environmental health. To further this
goal, HDR awarded (and funded) a one-year
research fellowship to explore "Resources
and Tools for Sustainable Material Selection
for Buildings." The goal was to develop a new
best practice for selecting and specifying sustainable, healthier building materials so that
we can contribute toward improving environmental and health outcomes, both by the selection and specification of materials, and with
staff capable of educating our clients about the
issues.
We started by surveying our staff globally
to understand their baseline knowledge and
interest in using health and sustainability as
a part of the criteria for materials selections
and specifications for healthcare projects. A
high percentage of staff said they were very
interested in learning more and in applying
that knowledge to their practice, as well as being able to better speak to this topic with their
clients. This led us to identify the best tools, resources, and online education available for our
staff and create new guidelines for a material
selection decision-making process.
There are many resources available today
to help guide design firms and healthcare organizations to adopt a similar program. For
example, to begin to apply the Six Classes conceptually in practice, we recommend building
awareness and expertise for your staff. Next,
set goals for the project, ask manufacturers
to provide transparency documentation for
product content (such as Health Product Declarations), assess the data received, and use the
resources in the market to identify the healthier, more sustainable options.
Based on our experience with surveying
our own staff, we're confident that all firms
have staff interested in designing and building healthier environments for our healthcare
facilities and those who occupy them.


http://www.HCDMAGAZINE.COM

Healthcare Design - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Healthcare Design - October 2019

Healthcare Design - September 2019
Contents
EDITORIAL
SHOW TALK
DRAWING A CONNECTION
TAKE FIVE
DESIGN ACCELERATOR
FIRST LOOK
RISING UP
2019 HCD EXPO PREVIEW
STAFF SATISFACTION
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
THE CENTER
FACE TIME
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Intro
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Healthcare Design - September 2019
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Cover2
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 1
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 2
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Contents
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 4
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 5
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 6
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 7
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 8
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - EDITORIAL
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - SHOW TALK
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 11
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 12
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - DRAWING A CONNECTION
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 14
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - TAKE FIVE
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - DESIGN ACCELERATOR
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 17
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - FIRST LOOK
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 19
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - RISING UP
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 21
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 22
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 23
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 24
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 25
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 26
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 27
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 28
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 29
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 2019 HCD EXPO PREVIEW
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 31
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 32
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 33
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 34
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 35
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 36
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - STAFF SATISFACTION
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 38
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 39
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 41
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 42
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 43
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 44
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 45
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 46
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 47
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - THE CENTER
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 49
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 50
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 51
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 52
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 53
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 54
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 55
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - FACE TIME
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Cover3
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Cover4
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC1
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC2
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC3
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC4
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC5
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC6
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC7
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC8
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC9
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC10
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Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC12
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