High performance building products improve energy efficiency to create more sustainable buildings. However, the materials used to make these products can also create adverse effects, such as depleting natural resources, causing pollution, and exposing us to harmful chemicals. In recognition of these realities, product ingredient transparency is becoming a primary objective of ambitious project teams who want both high efficiency (even net positive) and healthy buildings. This objective is a challenge to teams as chemicals of concern are ubiquitous in the building materials that we traditionally specify. Our session will discuss impediments to specifying “ideal” materials, how project teams can devise a framework during the design process from which to make material and product choices, a “how-to” approach for researching products, and the importance of aligning the goals of the design team, owners, contractors, and suppliers.
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