The Next Frontier in Green Buildings: Creating and Finding Products in the Age of Transparency

The Next Frontier in Green Buildings: Creating and Finding Products in the Age of Transparency

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The new age of transparency and optimization in building products calls on us all to ensure the products we create, specify, and use contribute to a sustainable and regenerative society. High-performance rating systems like LEED, WELL, and the Living Building Challenge incentivize owners and project teams to specify products that share details about material ingredients, manufacturing practices, and life-cycle impacts. In turn, manufacturers are challenged not only to be transparent with their ingredients and practices, but also to demonstrate that they are free of certain chemicals and better than the alternatives. A variety of product labels and certifications have emerged as a way to help manufacturers share this information and measure their progress, including Cradle to Cradle, Declare, EPDs, HPDs, and the Living Product Challenge.

Join us as we gather at Google Pittsburgh for this discussion. Snacks will be available throughout the afternoon, and we’ll conclude the event with a networking happy hour to celebrate the Living Product Hub’s first year in Pittsburgh.

Learning Objectives

ILFI’s Pittsburgh Living Product Hub and Green Building Alliance are excited to gather leading experts, including representatives from Highmark, Superior Essex, and Vitro Architectural Glass, to provide:

  • Context behind these trends in the green building industry and how they show up in various rating systems
  • Clarity around product labels and certifications
  • Insights from owner and project team experiences in specifying products
  • Insights from manufacturers who have pursued transparency labels


1:00-1:15 – Opening Address
Aurora Sharrard, Green Building Alliance
Jon Barker, Google

1:15-1:55 – Keynote: “Why Materials Matter in the Built Environment”
Vivian Loftness, Carnegie Mellon University

2:00-3:00 – Panel: “Demanding Healthier Materials – Perspectives from Project Teams and Owners”
Moderator: Annie Bevan, U.S. Green Building Council
Panelists: Phyllis Barber, Highmark, Paula Suhrbier, FortyEighty Architecture, Laleh Gharanjik, Jendoco Construction Corporation, Maureen Olinzock, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

3:05-4:05 – Panel: “Supplying Healthier Materials – Perspectives from Manufacturers”
Moderator: James Connelly, International Living Future Institute
Panelists: Timothy Bellovary, Vitro Architectural Glass, Annie Bevan, Superior Essex, Sandy Mulkern, US Gypsum, Ivan Zuniga, Kawneer

4:05-4:15 – Closing Remarks
Benson Gabler and Alex Co, International Living Future Institute, Living Product Hub
Leslie Montgomery, Green Building Alliance

4:15-5:00 – Happy Hour


Keynote Speaker Vivian Loftness, FAIA, LEED Fellow
Carnegie Mellon University, University Professor and former Head of the School of Architecture

Phyllis Barber
Highmark, Sustainability Manager 

Timothy Bellovary
Vitro Architectural Glass, Technical Services Engineer

Annie Bevan
Superior Essex, Sustainability Manager | U.S. Green Building Council, Staff Technical Liaison – Materials and Resources

Alex Co
International Living Future Institute, Living Product Hub Coordinator

James Connelly
International Living Future Institute, VP of Products and Strategic Growth

Benson Gabler
International Living Future Institute, Living Product Hub Director

Laleh Gharanjik, LEED AP BD+C
Jendoco Construction Corporation, Project Manager

Sandy Mulkern
US Gypsum, Regional Manager, Northeast Architectural Team

Leslie Montgomery
Green Building Alliance, Education Director

Maureen Olinzock
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Sustainability Coordinator

Aurora Sharrard, PhD
Green Building Alliance, Executive Director

Paula Suhrbier
FortyEighty Architecture, Architect

Ivan Zuniga
Kawneer, Product Manager, Storefront/Entrances/Framing

This course is approved for the following continuing education credits:

  • 4 LFA hours
  • 4 AIA LU|HSW