Materials Pledge Starter Guide

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By holistically considering all aspects of the creation and use of materials, designers can improve the health of the planet and people on it. AIA developed the Architecture & Design Materials Pledge to inspire members to shift the way in which we evaluate the products and finishes that we specify daily across five topics: human health, social health and equity, ecosystem health, climate health, and a circular economy.

How can I get started?

Explore the following recommendations in each topic area:

We pledge to support human health by preferring materials and products which support and foster life throughout their life cycles and seek to eliminate the use of hazardous substances.

Where to start

  1. Request transparency in ingredients and health impacts from manufacturers. Transparency and disclosure documentation include Health Product Declarations, Declare Label, Living Products, Cradle2Cradle, BIFMA LEVEL, OEKO-TEX, and others.
  2. Eliminate “red list,” or problematic, chemicals from specifications. The International Living Future Institute’s Red List is one example of a restricted substance list. Others include the Green Science Policy Institute’s Six Classes and Cradle to Cradle Banned Chemicals List.
  3. Integrate VOC limits and emissions test requirement thresholds into your standard specifications. Make sure to address both VOC limits and emission tests for a more holistic assessment of health impacts.


AIA-CLF Embodied Carbon Toolkit for Architects: A resource that provides architects an overview and the necessary steps to be taken to reduce embodied carbon in their projects.

AIA Healthier Materials Protocol: Gain practical insights and methods into incorporating healthier materials into your next project.

5 ways healthier materials will enhance your business: Here are five benefits to using the protocol in your everyday practice.

How the materials you choose affect our health: Discover actions you can take to reduce negative long-term health issues for occupants.

Health Product Declarations (HPDs): Find out everything an architect needs to know about HPDs, from what they are to how to use them.

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