Day two of Living Future 2012 was filled with insights and exploration. A key thread was the importance of collaboration to effect market transformation. As we discussed the resources of the future, it became clear that we don’t yet have all the materials we need for a living future. There is a need to redesign products and redesign supply chains to achieve a more sustainable world.
The projects profiled in the Red List to Red Flag session all struggled with getting products whose composition complied with Living Building Challenge requirements. It was estimated that 8-20 hours were spent on researching and documenting each product initially. With experience, the time dropped to 2.5 hours. The big question was how to best share the research to reduce learning curves for others?
The Markets Are Relationships session started to tackle the even bigger question of how we get better materials when we don’t like the materials that we identify in building products? It may
be time to take integrative design upstream to the product design process to improve communication and collaboration in the materials ecosystem.
At lunch, we participated in a meeting of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) working group to chart the future for scaling up HPDs as a new tool for transparency and material health. With 26 other manufacturers joining since we committed last October, the Pilot is underway with manufacturers submitting draft HPDs by May 16th. HPDs aim to address the kind of product ingredients disclosure challenges project teams face. There are still many details left to be determined in the pilot,
but we see HPDs as a way to build on the transparency leadership we established with our commitment to Environmental Product Declarations.
The topic of Biophilia packed an afternoon session. Whereas sustainability focuses on how humans influence the natural environment, biophilia focuses on nature’s (positive) influence on humans. The conversation moved from the studies of the beneficial psychological effects of nature, to how to design buildings and cities that provide these biophilic benefits. Watch this space for the latest on our approach to biophilia in June.