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The Next Frontier in Green Buildings: Creating and Finding Products in the Age of Transparency

May 22, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Join GBA and ILFI’s Living Product Hub as we present an in-depth look at transparency and accountability in building products, sharing perspectives from owners, project teams and manufacturers.


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The new age of transparency and optimization in building products calls on us all to ensure the products we create, specify, and use contribute to a sustainable and regenerative society. High performance rating systems like LEED, WELL, and the Living Building Challenge incentivize owners and project teams to specify products that share details about material ingredients, manufacturing practices, and life-cycle impacts. In turn, manufacturers are challenged not only to be transparent with their ingredients and practices, but also to demonstrate that they are free of certain chemicals and better than the alternatives. A variety of product labels and certifications have emerged as a way to help manufacturers share this information and measure their progress, including Cradle to Cradle, Declare, EPDs, HPDs, and the Living Product Challenge.

Green Building Alliance and ILFI’s Living Product Hub are excited to gather leading experts, including representatives from Highmark, Superior Essex, and Vitro Architectural Glass, to provide:

  • Context behind these trends in the green building industry and how they show up in various rating systems
  • Clarity around product labels and certifications
  • Insights from owner and project team experiences in specifying products
  • Insights from manufacturers who have pursued transparency labels

Join us as we gather at Google Pittsburgh for this discussion. Snacks will be available throughout the afternoon, and we’ll conclude the event with a networking happy hour to celebrate the Living Product Hub’s first year in Pittsburgh.

Please note, we will need to close registration for this event on May 21 and we can take no on-site registrations. Register today to save your spot!



1:00-1:15 – Opening Address
Aurora Sharrard, Green Building Alliance
Jon Barker, Google

1:15-1:55 – Keynote: “Why Materials Matter in the Built Environment”
Vivian Loftness, Carnegie Mellon University

2:00-3:00 – Panel: “Demanding Healthier Materials – Perspectives from Project Teams and Owners”
Moderator: Annie Bevan, U.S. Green Building Council
Panelists: Phyllis Barber, Highmark, Paula Suhrbier, FortyEighty Architecture, Laleh Gharanjik, Jendoco Construction Corporation, Maureen Olinzock, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

3:05-4:05 – Panel: “Supplying Healthier Materials – Perspectives from Manufacturers”
Moderator: James Connelly, International Living Future Institute
Panelists: Timothy Bellovary, Vitro Architectural Glass, Annie Bevan, Superior Essex, Sandy Mulkern, US Gypsum, Ivan Zuniga, Kawneer

4:05-4:15 – Closing Remarks
Benson Gabler and Alex Co, International Living Future Institute, Living Product Hub
Leslie Montgomery, Green Building Alliance

4:15-5:00 – Happy Hour


Keynote Speaker

Vivian Loftness, FAIA, LEED Fellow
Carnegie Mellon University, University Professor and former Head of the School of Architecture

Vivian is a University Professor and former Head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. She is an internationally renowned researcher, author and educator with over thirty years of focus on environmental design and sustainability, advanced building systems integration, climate and regionalism in architecture, and design for performance in the workplace of the future. She has served on ten National Academy of Science (NAS) panels, the NAS Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment and has given four Congressional testimonies on sustainability. Vivian is recipient of the National Educator Honor Award from the American Institute of Architecture Students and the Sacred Tree Award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). She received her BS and MS in Architecture from MIT and served on the National Boards of the USGBC, AIA Committee on the Environment, Green Building Alliance, Turner Sustainability, and the Global Assurance Group of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. She is a registered architect and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.


Speaker Bios

Phyllis Barber
Highmark, Sustainability Manager 

Phyllis serves as sustainability manager for Highmark Inc. She is responsible for overseeing the company’s environmental responsibility throughout its business practices. Phyllis has led a variety of projects for Highmark, including the implementation of a 22,000-square-foot green roof at the company’s Pittsburgh headquarters; recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Business; certification of more than 80 percent of the company’s owned square footage as ENERGY STAR; and the incorporation of green building and environmental stewardship into the company’s workplace standards. She holds her certified public accountant license and is a LEED AP and WELL AP. She serves as co-chair for Champions for Sustainability (CS4), a program of Sustainable Pittsburgh that works to accelerate the practice and policy of sustainability in the business and civic circles in southwestern Pennsylvania. Phyllis also serves on Allegheny County’s Green Action Team and is a board member of CCI, whose mission is to help families create healthier homes and get energy smarter.

Timothy Bellovary
Vitro Architectural Glass, Technical Services Engineer

Timothy Bellovary has been a Technical Services Engineer – with a focus on commercial construction – at Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Flat Glass) for almost four years. He conducts audits of industrial production facilities and provides process improvement suggestions to elite fenestration fabricators within the Vitro Certified Fabricator and/or Laminator Network. Tim manages sustainability and product stewardship in the U.S., and oversees Vitro’s efforts for sustainability indices such as LEED, continued Cradle to Cradle Product Certification and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Under Tim’s leadership, Vitro became the first architectural glass manufacturer in North America to publish third-party-verified, product-specific Type III EPDs for flat glass and processed glass products. A member of ASHRAE, Tim actively participates in the development of the ASHRAE 90.1 standard for commercial buildings and he is involved in the progression of select ENERGY STAR programs.

Annie Bevan
Superior Essex, Sustainability Manager | U.S. Green Building Council, Staff Technical Liaison – Materials and Resources

Annie Bevan is a sustainability professional with over 10 years of experience working with organizations to develop processes, procedures, and standards to analyze and certify various sustainability claims in products, buildings, and within manufacturing operations. She represents a unique expertise in contributing to the development and robustness of numerous programs and is now working independently to create collaboration in the marketplace with a personal mission to make sustainability more simple. Annie previously served as Vice President of Certification Services at GreenCircle Certified, LLC, until starting Sustainability Made Simple, LLC, her own independent organization in 2017. Through SMS, she currently holds contracting positions as both a Staff Technical Liaison to the Materials and Resources section for the US Green Building Council as well as Sustainability Manager for Superior Essex. She sits as a technical advisor to: the International Living Future Institute, the Department of Defense, Clean Production Action and the GreenScreen Program, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, the ASTM E 60 Committee, and the Collaborative for High Performing Schools, among other organizations.

Alex Co
International Living Future Institute, Living Product Hub Coordinator

Alex splits his time between supporting the Living Product Challenge and coordinating the Pittsburgh Living Product Hub, working with manufacturers to envision and create products that give back more than they take, in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. Alex draws from training in chemistry, toxicology and life cycle analysis alongside business and non-profit consulting experience that contributes to a vision of environmental justice through the right to healthy and regenerative products for all. He previously worked on standards revision at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and completed research with the Yale Center for Industrial Ecology and the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale. Alex holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from Yale University, and is slowly moving westward and homeward to California.

James Connelly
International Living Future Institute, VP of Products and Strategic Growth

A GreenBiz 30 under 30 sustainable business leader, James Connelly is the Vice President of Products and Strategic Growth at the International Living Future Institute. As VP of Strategic Growth, he leads ILFI in developing strategy and cultivating new business and partnership opportunities to grow the Institute’s impact and capabilities globally. As VP of Products, James provides strategic leadership for the Institute’s corporate and manufacturing initiatives including the Living Product Hub (a center of innovative manufacturing in southwestern Pennsylvania), Living Product Challenge (a program that re-imagines the design and manufacturing of products to function as elegantly and efficiently as anything found in the natural world), JUST (a social justice and corporate responsibility label for leading progressive organizations), Declare (an innovative ingredients transparency label and database of non-toxic sustainably sourced products) and the Handprint Label (an elegant CSR framework for companies on the pathway to achieving Net Positive impact). Prior to joining the Institute in 2012, James received a Fulbright fellowship to conduct research on green building rating systems in China. James is frequent national and international speaker on regenerative design, sustainable business, ecological manufacturing and affordable housing. He is an avid writer and his research and commentary has been featured in news outlets such as China Dialogue, Trim Tab, BuildingGreen, GreenBiz and Engineering News Record.

Benson Gabler
International Living Future Institute, Living Product Hub Director

Benson leads the Pittsburgh Living Product Hub, which ILFI launched in April 2017 to support the region’s growth of green manufacturing and regenerative product design. Benson spent the past eight years directing the corporate sustainability program for The PNC Financial Services Group, where he championed an enterprise-wide sustainability program to reduce the bank’s operational footprint, mitigate environmental risk within its lending portfolio, and seek out financing opportunities to support a low-carbon economy. Prior to PNC, he worked on sustainable product design for Stonyfield Farm and the GreenBlue Institute. Benson is a LEED Accredited Professional, who holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MBA and Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from Yale University.

Laleh Gharanjik, LEED AP BD+C
Jendoco Construction Corporation, Project Manager

Laleh holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She has managed and assisted with BIM (Building Information Modeling) Coordination, 4D Modeling and Scheduling, LEED Documentation,  Job Cost Tracking, Estimating, and Pre-Construction Services for several projects, including but not limited to CMU Scott Hall, Benter Foundation, and various Verizon Facilities and Data Center renovations. These projects involved complicated MEP/FP systems, high-quality materials and craftsmanship and utilized Laleh’s knowledge of technology and construction to coordinate details and collaboratively develop solutions. Laleh is the Project Manager for the Waldorf School 8th Grade Classroom Addition, which is designed to achieve Petal Certification from ILFI (International Living Future Institute).

Sandy Mulkern
US Gypsum, Regional Manager, Northeast Architectural Team

Sandy has over 25 years of professional experience at USG serving the design and construction industry.  USG Corporation is a leading manufacturer of building products and innovative solutions. Headquartered in Chicago, USG serves construction markets through its Gypsum, Ceilings, Performance Materials and USG Boral divisions.  For the past 10 years, Sandy has lead USG’s Northeast Architectural Sales Team in helping architects, designers and specifiers select appropriate USG products considering performance requirements and sustainability goals for all types of commercial construction. Sandy is a LEED Green Associate and an active member in NE chapters of USGBC, NAWIC, IIDA and CSI.

Leslie Montgomery
Green Building Alliance, Education Director

Leslie is responsible for the development, planning, and implementation of all of GBA’s education- and networking-related events. In collaboration with the organization’s managers, she creates education and training programs for Membership, Pittsburgh 2030 District, Green & Healthy Schools Academy, and Knowledge Network.  Leslie also works with partners throughout the region to deliver high-quality, informative programming. She serves on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh and is co-chair of its Sustainable Construction Committee.

Maureen Olinzock
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Sustainability Coordinator

Maureen was drawn to a career in sustainability because it would justify the inordinate amount of time she already spent thinking about trash, mycelium, and grocery store eggs. Strangely overwhelmed by stargazing, she finds peace and focus through yoga, rowing, amateur woodworking, and gardening in flip flops. Like Lennon, she believes, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Her favorite place on earth is 20.751926 -155.985486, but you’d never know because she avoids taking pictures in lieu of preserving special moments in her memory. When not thinking about the Living Building Challenge, she watches clouds pass from her hammock and daydreams about moving into a prefabricated house and opening a coffee shop.

Aurora Sharrard, PhD
Green Building Alliance, Executive Director

As GBA’s Executive Director, Dr. Aurora Sharrard leads the organization in achieving its mission of inspiring the creation of healthy, high performing places for everyone through leadership that connects knowledge, transformative ideas, and collaborative action. A GBA staff member since 2007, Aurora continues to drive organizational innovation while advancing GBA’s strategic plan, programs, staff, and stakeholder relationships. A nationally recognized green building expert, Aurora has served GBA under several titles, always providing innovative solutions, and strategic thinking, and real world application.

Paula Suhrbier
FortyEighty Architecture, Architect

An architect at FortyEighty Architecture, Paula Suhrbier has developed a wide range of experience in educational, commercial, religious, and residential architecture during her more than twenty years of professional experience. She has been responsible for projects ranging in scope from new 60,000 square foot multipurpose facilities to small, 1,500 square foot residential additions. Ms. Suhrbier’s responsibilities on these projects includes all phases of project management, design, documentation, and construction administration, and her involvement in the project process extends from feasibility analysis and project programming through construction completion.  Recently, Ms. Suhrbier has been instrumental in the research and documentation of construction products and systems for two projects that are projected for certification under the International Living Futures Institute’s Living Building Challenge program, including Phipps Conservatory Exhibit Staging Center, currently under construction.

Ivan Zuniga
Kawneer, Product Manager, Storefront/Entrances/Framing

Ivan holds a B.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Tech and is a Professional Engineer.  With 20 years of experience in the fenestration industry, Ivan is a Product Manager with Kawneer based in Norcross GA.  He is a board member of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Atlanta Chapter, as well as an active member of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) where he Co-Chairs the Sustainability Steering Committee.  He has served on several committees and task groups to promote sustainability, energy efficiency and code development.  A native of Caracas Venezuela, Ivan resides in resides in Georgia with his wife and two children.


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May 22, 2018
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


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6425 Penn Ave. #700
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