Webinar: Holding Ourselves to Higher Standards: Healthier Materials Every Time

When:  Feb 12, 2019 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (ET)
Earn 1.0 AIA LU/HSW | Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | 2–3pm ET


Explore how architects can commit to going beyond minimally acceptable legal standards and use only truly safe materials on every project. While architects wouldn't knowingly approve building materials that have negative effects on human health, unhealthy materials are nevertheless available in the marketplace. Therefore, due to cost or convenience, these less-than-ideal materials may end up in use on your projects. In this informative session, you'll get an overview of tools to help you meet this higher standard, ensuring all the materials specified and selected on your projects are in fact healthier.

Learning objectives

After participating in this webinar attendees will be equipped to:

  1. Learn how to evaluate the health impacts of building products, assess potential challenges, and provide examples of better choices that will apply to most building projects.
  2. Examine specific attributes that will help you quickly discern preferable and non-preferred substances, so you can quickly identify better material choices.
  3. Get a look at the tools currently available for differentiating products for health impacts.
  4. Find out how you can communicate with manufacturers and efficiently collect material health documentation.

Ideal audience

This session is part of the Beyond the Basic Series by the Academy of Architecture for Health.  The web-based 60 minute seminars are tailored to healthcare design professionals with sufficient exposure to jump-start interest in wanting to learn more.

Education level




Rita Ho, LEED AP

Rita has over 20 years of experience in the field of architecture and close to 15 years in healthcare projects in U.S. & Asia. She is currently co-chair of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health Webinar Committee.



Jean Hansen, FIIDA, LEED Fellow, CID, EDAC, AAHID

Jean Hansen is a Sustainable Principle with HDR’s “Office of Sustainability.” She was recently awarded an HDR Fellowship for 2018-2019 for sustainable materials research. Jean has practiced as a highly versatile designer, planner and sustainable consultant for 30+ years. She has also worked on the development of national sustainable standards and is a Board of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative.


Anne Hicks Harney, FAIA, NCARB, CAAPRR

Anne Hicks Harney has over 30 years of experience, focusing on high quality design imbued with a solid technical and sustainable foundation. Formed in 2016, Long Green Specs provides sustainability focused construction specifications and building science material expertise to Architectural firms across the country. She was a founding co-chair of the Baltimore – Building Enclosure Council, chair of the AIA Materials Knowledge Working Group, and a member of the USGBC Materials & Resources Technical Advisory Group. In 2016, Ms. Harney was awarded fellowship by the AIA and became a LEED Fellow.



A Sustainability Specialist at Perkins Eastman, Tanya has over ten years of experience in the planning and design industry. Tanya’s broad experience includes value-driven design, goal-setting and charrette facilitation, green building certification consultation and review, program development and technical consulting, urban and environmental planning and policy, and materials knowledge. At Perkins Eastman, Tanya aids in creating and developing sustainable initiatives, strategies and best practices for the firm, and provides project support across multiple practice areas.


Susan Kaplan, CCA, LEED AP BD+C

Susan Kaplan has a BArch from City College of New York CUNY. She learned specification writing in the public sector and entered the private sector at HLW where she built their sustainability practice while continuing specification work. Susan is HLW’s Director of Materials Technology and Sustainability Advisor. She works directly with clients and manufactures to improve the health impact of products. Susan led HLW to become a founding sponsor of HPDC on which she currently is a Board Member. She teaches Perspectives on Sustainable Materials at CCNY where she delves into toxicity of materials, human health, and life cycle assessment of products.

GoToWebinar Platform Troubleshooting

If you have had trouble seeing the screen during past webinars: 1) download the latest version of Java beforehand and 2) try logging out and logging back in. If you have trouble listening via computer speakers, try using the telephone call-in number.

View the Presentation Files
When available, you can download a copy of the presentation and the Q&A here. A PDF of the presentation will be posted prior to the live webinar, and the Q&A will be posted after the webinar. Continuing Education Hours are only offered during the live event.

Report AIA Continuing Education
Continuing Education hours are only offered during the live event, and only to AIA members. A link to a survey will be provided both at the end of the webinar and in a follow-up email sent one hour after the end of the webinar. This survey must be completed in order to receive credit. AIA members will have their credit recorded within two weeks.

PLEASE NOTE: Each AIA member or IDP record holder needs to fill out their own survey individually. The survey will close 48 hours after the conclusion of the presentation.

Please send your questions, comments and feedback to: knowledgecommunities@aia.org.