Google, Portland’s A&O and Green Building Industries Share Ideas on Healthy and Sustainable Materials

PORTLAND, OR (July 29, 2013)—
The Portland Development Commission hosted an informational roundtable on July 25, 2013 for Google and Portland’s Green Building and Athletic and Outdoor (A&O) industries to share knowledge and best practices on healthy material research and implementation.

Portland’s green development industry has been a partner in the development of the Healthy Buildings Initiative, while the A&O industry has helped lead the build-out of the Higg Index (formerly Eco-Index)—both of which seek to track the environmental and health impacts of materials.

The roundtable consisted of thought leaders from both private industry and the public sector, including SERA Architects, Skanska, BOORA, Specialized and Nau as well as Oregon BEST and Multnomah County. Google’s work with SERA Architects and Multnomah County on the procurement of healthy building products prompted the roundtable as an opportunity for peer-to-peer sharing on parallel industry initiatives, best practices and lessons learned, and future opportunities for collaboration.

The event offered presentations on each industry’s efforts to develop indexing and best practices for materials traceability and transparency. Anthony Ravitz, who is leading Google’s efforts for utilizing healthy building and interior materials at Google offices around the globe, discussed the company’s collaboration with the building industry on cataloging various suppliers, increasing transparency, and making healthy purchasing choices that contribute to a healthy workplace.

Bryant Bainbridge, formerly of Nike and now with Specialized, presented on the Nike Materials Sustainability Index, which informed the development of the industry-wide Higg Index tool. Jamie Bainbridge, of Nau, spoke to the industry-wide collaboration that has provided momentum for making the Higg Index the one standard by which A&O brands evaluate the health and environmental aspects of materials. The index was piloted in 2011 by several Portland area brands, including Adidas, Columbia, Keen, Korkers and Icebreaker.

Clark Brockman, of Sera Architects, presented on the Healthy Building Initiative and the Healthy Product Declaration, a collaborative standard that is being developed for the green building and building materials industry.

PDC extends its thanks to everyone who was able to attend the roundtable. It was a great beginning to a longer conversation. Stay tuned for additional information.

Participants at the Healthy Materials Roundtable. From L to R: Bryant Bainbridge, Specialized; Jamie Bainbridge, Nau; Clark Brockman, SERA; Sophia Cavali, Multnomah County