Tom Lent, Policy Director, is responsible for defining the Healthy Building Network's guiding philosophy and policies with regard to building materials. Tom has spent over 35 years working on the environmental impact of buildings, materials, and energy in both the private sector and with public interest groups. Tom helped coordinate development of the Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC), the US Green Building Council's LEED for Healthcare and the Sustainable Bioplastic Guidelines and has co-authored a wide range of studies of the comparative health and environmental impact of floorings, plastics and other building materials and sits on a variety of standards setting committees for indoor air quality and safer materials.
Tom oversees the development of the Pharos rating criteria and the Chemical and Material Library, and provides support in product category development and product scoring review. He headed the HPD Collaborative Pilot Committee that developed and pilot tested the Health Product Declaration Standard.
Tom has been honored with the Leadership in Advocacy Award by the USGBC and the Environmental Award for Outstanding Achievement by the US EPA Region IX for his work transforming the building materials market.
Follow Tom on Twitter (@HBNTom)
Tom's recent blogs in The Signal
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has released their first Indoor Advantage Gold certifications for products meeting the new, tougher residential criteria under Version 1.1 of the 01350 specification (see the new certificate here). The State of California made several revisions to the 01350 standard early this year including:
1) Tightening the formaldehyde standard to meet new California state guidelines and
2) Establishing a residential scenario that accounts for the lower air change rates in houses that can lead to dramatically higher concentrations of toxicants off-gassing from building materials.
These changes are critical to making the 01350 standard truly health protective in homes and we’ve incorporated them in the Pharos VOC scoring protocols (see previous blog on the ...
Heavy metals and other toxic chemicals are still widespread in some types of interior finishes according to a major study of home improvement products released today. Researchers from www.HealthyStuff.org tested a wide range of national and local brand flooring and wallpaper products and discovered lead, phthalates, brominated flame retardants and a range of other chemicals linked with human health problems ranging from asthma and liver damage to reproductive problems, birth defects and autism.
The nonprofit Ecology Center of Ann Arbor Michigan initiated the HealthyStuff project in 2009 to bring attention to toxic chemical content in toys and now is turning its attention to home improvement products. HealthyStuff.org staff tested over 100 product brands, covering about 2300 wall covering products and another 1000 flooring products, including bamboo, cork, carpet cushion, sheet, tile, and wood floorings. Researchers used an XRF device...
Congratulations to the first three projects to meet the Living Building Challenge℠ design standard for healthy sustainable buildings! This is an impressive accomplishment, coming less than four years after the Cascadia Green Building Council launched this ambitious high-bar standard, which requires not only excellent “beyond LEED” design, but a year of occupancy to prove that the operation of the building also meets the Challenge standards.
Washington University’s Tyson Living Learning Center (Eureka, MO) and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (Rhinebeck, NY), earned 'Living' status and Eco-Sense, (a private residence in Victoria, BC), earned partial program certification, or ‘Petal Recognition,’ for achieving four of the six stringent...
Pharos is partnering with the EPA to insure that the insulation used in federal stimulus funded home weatherization programs is healthy and low in environmental impact. In a special project with EPA Region 9 and StopWaste, Pharos is surveying cellulose, fiberglass and cotton products to understand the current state of the industry on a variety of key parameters set by the EPA, including recycled content, indoor air quality, including application of the new residential emissions standards, and toxic content. Manufacturers interested in participating in the program are submitting information to Pharos which the EPA will use to evaluate products and modify standards.
Recent improvements in products are starting to show up in Pharos listings. For example, UltraTouch cotton insulation has...
Use of biobased materials whether from agricultural plants or from trees is appealing in green building due to their renewable nature. However, overharvesting, plantation farming, chemical use and other problems threaten many species of trees with extinction as well as threatening entire forest habitats and the animals and humans that depend upon them.
In order to help green building professionals avoid inadvertently using endangered species in green building projects, the Pharos team has just added a section to the Pharos Chemical and Material Library (CML) that deals specifically with trees and other biobased materials. The CML now includes over 800 entries for tree species or groups of species with reference to any applicable warnings of threats to their survival or their habitats. Species warnings indicate the Pharos system's prioritization of concern based upon the degree of the threat to the species. One of the most...