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For decades, organizations like the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the Green Building Initiative (GBI), and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) have been leaders in educating architects, builders, designers, and other stakeholders about the importance of improvement Effects of buildings and materials on health, the environment and sustainability. These efforts have led to a growing awareness that buildings can have positive effects on the health and wellbeing of people, the communities in which they live and the environment as a whole.

As an industry, it is critical that we work with these leading organizations and educate their stakeholders about informed decision-making that can drive health and sustainability improvements, and expand understanding of how materials science and chemistry products enable this important pursuit.

That’s why the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and ASID have teamed up to create a new abstract designed to educate construction and interior designers about the role of chemistry in construction products and important considerations about material selection and specification. After several roundtable discussions with interior design stakeholders, architects, materials science and other built environment professionals, ACC and ASID set out to develop a user-friendly guide that will help the design community better understand and implement science-based material selection processes. ACC and ASID are working together to demystify the chemistry in materials and create the link between interior design and chemistry.

Chemistry in Material Selection and Specification: Important Considerations provides a basic overview of the importance of chemistry for driving safety and sustainability in buildings, and guides interior designers through the key questions and topics to consider during the material specification process, including product application and use, key performance considerations, installation and maintenance, and end-of-life Life, among other things, to enable a more informed product selection. Some of the considerations listed include:

  • What are the most important health and safety requirements in the project?
  • What key properties does the material need? (e.g. durability, flame retardancy, cleanability, disinfection, etc.)
  • What are the tradeoffs between different ingredient and material choices in terms of performance, sustainability, and potential human health effects?
  • What is the purpose of the chemical contained in the material / product?
  • How is the chemical used in the formulation of the material / product?
  • How is the finished material / product typically disposed of?

“Curiosity and conversation can enhance the learning experience. This executive summary challenges interior designers to study the chemistry in the materials they choose and specify, and encourages them to chat with materials science professionals to get the answers they need to achieve their project goals. We see this as a foundation for construction professionals to come together and work together for a better, healthier and more sustainable future. “

Susan Chung, Ph.D., ASID vice president of research and knowledge

The thematic letter exemplifies what our organizations can achieve if we combine our knowledge and expertise and tackle complex and critical problems together. Be on the lookout for more from ACC and ASID as we build and expand our partnership to lead the world towards a healthier, more sustainable future.

For more information on chemistry in construction, see


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