Towards Healthy Buildings: WELL Building Standard and LEED

Fast fact: Many of us spend long hours indoors.  Sadly if it’s a particularly ill-built building, we could be breathing badly recirculated air, depriving ourselves of healthy natural daylight, exposing ourselves to whatever toxic chemicals that are off-gassing from the interiors, and dangerously being stagnant on our office chairs.

As Paul Scialla says, “Why stop at building homes or offices or hotels that are good for just the environment, why not also build these structures so they’re good for the people who live, work and stay in them?”

A holistic approach to healthy buildings. (Image from Skanska

A holistic approach to healthy buildings. (Image from Skanska

Scialla happens to be the founder of the IWBI (International WELL Building Institute) and Delos, which last year launched the WELL Building Standard.  The standard is meant to be a new performance-…

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The Many Hidden Dangers of Discount Stores

For the budget-strapped, or someone just looking to stretch their dollar, discount stores are simply a godsend.

And these days discount stores have gotten better at stocking items that previously only the big department stores carried.  Most of these are made in China.  From home décor and organizers to cookware, to toiletries and cleaning aids, office and school supplies, gadget accessories and pet care—they’ve got it all.

A discount store in Japan. (Photo from

A discount store in Japan.
(Photo from

Yet a recent study has revealed that up to 81% of discount store products contain toxic chemicals.  US-based Campaign for Healthier Solutions tested 164 products from dollar stores and found alarming levels of toxic chemicals and metals such as phthalates, bromine, lead, chromium, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  These chemicals have been noted for their hazardous effects …

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March Story Roundup: From Global Warming Ban to Tallest Prefab to 3D-Printed Bricks

So here we are again at the end of the month with our story roundup.  We’ve compiled 8 of the most popular and interesting stories around the Web, from ingeniously insulating 3D-printed bricks to wooden buildings to a statewide ban of mentioning global warming in Florida.


1.     Algae Overgrowth Can Be Harnessed as Biofuel

Satellite view of algae bloom in Lake Erie

Satellite view of algae bloom in Lake Erie

New research presented at the American Chemical Society looks into the possibility of harnessing harmful algae bloom into biofuel.  The technique involves controlled growth of algae using 3D printed materials, allowing it flourish closer to the source but not letting it spread downstream.  They can be then harvested and used as biofuel.

Some algae produce toxins that poison fishes and other marine life, which can get passed on to humans who eat them.  Non-toxic algae on the other hand can clog fish gills and choke them.

Via PopSci


2.     Photo Book Metamorpolis Captures Chongqing’s Rapid Urbanization

An upcoming photo book, Metamorpolis, by French-Polish lensman Tim Franco captures the images of the city of Chongqing in China.  This relatively obscure megacity is in a state of rapid urban development, steadily abandoning its rural roots.  In 2010, the Chinese government encouraged migration to urbanize Chongqing’s rural population, with more than 1,300 people moving into the city daily.

Traditional farmer caught in the rapid transition of Chongqing from ...<br clear=

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