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What is Envelope Commissioning or Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx)? Most of us have heard of Commissioning (Cx) as it deals with HVAC equipment and digital controls. But what is “Enclosure Commissioning” or “Envelope Commissioning,” and what about LEED Envelope Commissioning? Its scope is vast and skills and knowledge required are pretty intensive as well. LEED v4

The Materials and Human Health Summit provided a good explanation of the approach that LEED v4 is taking with regard to materials transparency in LEEDv4. (See my previous post, Tension at the Materials and Human Health Summit? for more on the event). In place of the controversial LEED Pilot Credit 54 that ignited some of the animosity between

Is PVC Toxic?

Friday, 13 December 2013 by

Is PVC Toxic to Humans? We are often asked, “Is PVC Toxic?” Is polyvinyl chloride (PVC or “vinyl”) is toxic to humans when it is used as a building product. Or, is it only problematic during manufacturing and/or disposal? The answer is that PVC is toxic to humans throughout its life cycle. In production, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors

Nanotechnology and Coatings

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 by

In helping our clients choose healthy building materials, I tend to be weary of coatings in general, but nanocoatings are of particular concern. In building materials, manufacturers advertise nanocoatings on carpets, upholstery, photovoltaics, and even toilets. I’ve seen these coatings used as stain repellants, waterproofing coatings or as finishes that create a smooth and easily

Safe Cookware

Friday, 22 November 2013 by
safe cookware

Does Stainless Steel Leach Chemicals? There is a lot of information in the blogosphere about health and safety in cookware, but when a client asked whether stainless steel leached dangerous chemicals, I was unable to find a quick answer to her question. I decided to look into the issue of safe cookware myself. In one 2013

LED Dirty Electricity

Dirty Electricity Concerns? In the recent blog of September 10th, 2013, EMI and LEDs – Not all LEDs are the same! we described dirty electricity and examined several brands of CFLs and LEDs.  This blog tests several more brands of LEDs to determine which produces the least amount of LED dirty electricity . It has

Magnetic Fields – EMF Consulting

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 by
Magnetic Fields - EMF Consulting

When performing EMF surveys many “EMF consultants” only evaluate low-frequency magnetic fields.  When folks call and say they “have an EMF meter” and are measuring “high emf,” they generally have a Gauss meter and are measuring magnetic field field strength or magnetic flux. Most Building Biologists focus on Alternating Current (AC) electromagnetic fields, and in addition

Alliance Against Greenwash

Thursday, 17 October 2013 by
Greenwash Green Building

Sierra Club, GreenPeace, and Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) are getting behind a new initiative called the “Alliance Against Greenwash.” Launched by Jason Grant in San Francisco, the Alliance Against Greenwash sets out to fight false advertising around environmental impacts. As wealthy corporations continue buying air-time to proclaim their greenness… there is still no third-party

building a healthy home

When most people build or remodel their homes, they pay close attention to indoor air quality, comfort and aesthetics. The task of building to survive natural disasters like earthquakes (as the San Francisco Bay region is prone to) is left to building codes and local code enforcement. And the task of ensuring the home maintains livable

Energy Star now "Elder Star"

Energy Star now ‘Elder Star’ certified design I recently heard the term “Elder Star” compliant homes, just like the “Energy Star” appliances and lights that we have grown so familiar with. And I thought it was so apt! It’s high time we all spent a little more time thinking about meeting the needs of our

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