Google-initiated program aims to get construction industry to use healthier building materials

Portico platform features a database of products ranked on how they disclose ingredients.

February 09, 2017 |

Pixabay Public Domain

A program started by Google aims to help owners and designers choose healthier materials for building products.

One of the challenges to choosing materials for a healthy indoor environment is unraveling the ingredient profile of a given product through a complex supply chain. Material manufacturers may be reluctant reveal which raw materials they use in formulating their products for fear of disclosing trade secrets, for example.

The Google-designed Portico platform features a product database organized by manufacturer, product category, and whether the product meets LEED and Living Building Challenge standards. Google also devised a numerical scoring metric according to how well the manufacturer discloses ingredients.

Google, as enormous consumer of building materials, has the market clout to prompt manufacturers to share this information. Google wants others to participate in building and refining Portico and intends to share this information broadly in hopes of improving indoor environmental quality globally. In 2016, Perkins + Will; Durst Organization, a developer; Harvard University; and the HomeFree Affordable Housing Cohort joined Portico.

Overlay Init