Materials Petal

The Issue 

Conventional building materials are responsible for many adverse environmental issues throughout their life cycle including impacts on personal health, loss of habitat and species, pollution, and resource depletion. Unfortunately, it is impossible to gauge the true environmental impact and toxicity of the built environment today due to a lack of product-level information. Despite this, the Living Building Challenge is committed to pushing for transformative industrial practices.

Materials Petal Intent

The Materials Petal is intended to help promote a shift towards a materials economy that is non-toxic, ecologically restorative, transparent, and socially equitable. The requirements of the Materials Petal aim to remove the materials and practices with the worst impacts and to drive demand for more responsible construction materials. When negative impacts can be reduced but not fully avoided, there is an obligation to offset the damaging consequences associated with the construction process and advocate for adjustments and corrections in the industry itself.

Sustainability in Action at Hillside Gateway

Hillside Gateway used the Material Petal imperatives as a tool to advocate for ingredient transparency and responsible sourcing. Materials on the Red List were avoided as much as possible.

Red listed products are those that are known to contain chemicals or toxins such as formaldehyde or other compounds that off-gas into the air. 

In addition to avoiding harmful materials, the design and construction team also adhered to the Materials Petal requirements for using only verified responsibility sourced wood which is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. To minimize carbon emissions associated with transporting materials from long distances, at least half of the materials used in the project were sourced within 1000 kilometers of CSULB.