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New white papers offer best choices in drywall, flooring, and insulation for embodied carbon and health impacts

Building Materials

New white papers offer best choices in drywall, flooring, and insulation for embodied carbon and health impacts

Biggest improvements from selecting different product types within a product category


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | October 19, 2023
New white papers offer best choices in drywall, flooring, and insulation for embodied carbon and health impacts
Photo: Perkins&Will

Two new reports offer guidance on selecting environmentally friendly and healthy building materials in three product categories: gypsum drywall, flooring, and insulation.

Embodied Carbon and Material Health in Insulation” and “Embodied Carbon and Material Health in Gypsum Drywall and Flooring,” by architecture and design firm Perkins&Will in partnership with the Healthy Building Network, advise on how to select the best low-carbon products with the least impact on human health.

“Given the sheer volume of these product categories sold each year—which can collectively cover the entire state of Rhode Island and then some—even small reductions in their carbon footprint and improvements in material health would significantly contribute to creating a healthier, more sustainable built environment,” according to a news release. In the U.S., annual sales of gypsum board totals nearly 24 billion square feet. Flooring materials amount to 29.69 billion square feet, and insulation totals about 11.5 billion square feet.

The report’s findings include:

• Products that improve material health and embodied carbon are available across all three product categories.
• It is best to first screen for optimized product types before selecting specific products because the biggest improvements can be made by selecting different product types within a product category.
• Embodied carbon and material health considerations are sometimes contradictory, so it is important to review the provided guidance to make informed decisions.

The reports are available for download at: https://perkinswill.com/carbonhealth

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