By Grey Lee

We hosted our latest Networking Night on Tuesday evening June 10th at the Boston offices of Perkins+Will on Franklin Street at Post Office Square.


Thank you to the team at Perkins+Will for hosting us and especially to Juliette Bowker for presenting on their Transparency Tool!  This is a tremendous resource for the many folks who are working to find materials and components of designs that will have better health effects on us all.

As we know, LEEDv4 offers points for reporting on materials through health product declarations and environmental product declarations. Many product vendors are racing to be relevant in this new marketplace where transparency into their processes and materials will become clearer.

Juliette led us through a great presentation about why we should care about environmental effects of materials in buildings, about how we can figure that out, and how we can then use that information to make better choices as designers and building creators so our communities are safer, healthier and stronger.  She mentioned how she was really learning a lot about chemistry and health.

One stunning concept was “We are sharing this with everybody – there's no competitive advantage for us to hold onto this information” – so take a dive into the tool and learn more about materials and their impact on health!

Some of the staff at Perkins + Will were on hand to chime in about the tool and how they are using it to enhance the sustainability of their designs. Also, how it is helping their product vendors figure out how to be more relevant when selecting materials becomes more rigorous than just function, appearance and cost.

Juliette referenced the old “rubber duckie” and how examining that innocuous seeming toy could lead to an exploration of human health effects of common materials. And that we want to get to where the duckies really are cute and innocuous.

One of her quotes was from Dr. Claudia Miller, a renowned immunologist and a dean at the University of Texas School of Medicine: “Architects have a greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals” – due to the capacity of designers to remove health-threatening components from our buildings and thus reduce popular exposure.


Overall, it was really good to get the overview and to have an introduction to the transparency tool. Kudos to P+W for putting it out there – this will help our practice as an entire community!  We can all help by adding to it as well. It was good to meet so many people who are new to the Chapter, from out of town, from firms we don't often connect with, and of course also many of our old friends and colleagues (you know who you are).


Perkins+Will has this great infographic related to their transparency tool:

Thank you again  P+W!  We'll see you soon! (Nice view of Post Office Square, too)


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