In 2020, ILFI published the first version of the Materials List for Affordable Housing. In June of this year, we updated the list to include five additional product categories, for a total of twenty. The list includes products that have been used by past affordable housing teams, products in our Declare database, and products that were independently researched by ILFI staff for compliance. (Note that any products not in Declare will still need to be vetted independently by project teams, but this list points the way with where to start, greatly reducing research time.)

The updated Materials List is now downloadable as a spreadsheet so that categories can be more easily hidden, sorted, and filtered. The list includes information on each product’s status related to the Red List, CDPH, Declare, Living Product Challenge, and final point of assembly, to help document Imperatives within the Living Building Challenge’s Materials and Health + Happiness Petals. The spreadsheet also includes a column indicating whether each product has committed to price parity for affordable housing projects under the Equity Petal of the Living Product Challenge, meaning these manufacturers typically will be willing to provide a discounted price in order to facilitate the use of healthier products in affordable housing. 

This list is additionally intended as a resource for affordable housing teams pursuing healthy materials criteria under Enterprise Green Communities. A column indicates whether the product will allow your project to earn additional points under this standard. Lastly, information is provided on whether a product is cross-listed on Housing Partnership Network’s (HPN) Select Eco-Guide, which is a procurement resource that can assist with cost-efficient sourcing by aggregating purchases among various affordable housing entities. 

The Materials List for Affordable Housing now includes the following product categories (newly added categories in italics): 

  • Insulation
  • Sealants
  • Aluminum Storefront 
  • Windows
  • Gypsum Board
  • Tile
  • Resilient Flooring
  • Carpet
  • Paints + Coatings
  • Casework
  • Countertops
  • Acoustic Ceiling Tile
  • Vapor Barriers
  • Waterproofing
  • Metal Doors
  • Wood Doors

In the fall of 2020, ILFI registered twenty new affordable housing projects that are pursuing the Living Building Challenge and other ILFI certifications. These teams are working together to research, vet, and share information on Red List Free materials, as well as materials with low embodied carbon, CDPH compliance, and FSC certifications. Their efforts thus far have helped inform the evolution of this list. ILFI will continue to add categories to the list this year, as well as add additional products to the existing categories. Check back on our Affordable Housing website regularly for updates to the list!

Written By

Susan Puri

As Affordable Housing Manager, Susan helps affordable housing projects achieve Living Building Certification through the Institute’s pilot program. She also helps develop resources and educational materials. Originally from the Atlanta area, Susan attended Georgia Tech where she received a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of City and Regional Planning, with a focus on Affordable Housing Development. She has worked in urban planning in Georgia and in Beijing, China. Susan also worked as a LEED Reviewer with Epsten Group for five years, reviewing LEED applications from more than 30 countries and five rating systems. Susan is very much looking forward to exploring the intersection of affordable housing and sustainability at the International Living Future Institute. When not working, Susan loves traveling and is currently learning Hindi.