Register now!

This program is the fifth in the Materials Matter series of five continuing education sessions. Click here to return to the full series overview.

Beyond Transparency: Materials Disclosure + Practice

The AIA Materials Commitment, managing risk while encouraging material transparency, and immediate action items for design firms

Session 5 unpacks how to integrate healthy materials selection into firm culture and practice. It introduces the AIA 2050 Materials Commitment, and clarifies the risk around material transparency for firms and shares strategies for managing risk while encouraging transparency. It investigates how firms balance making better material choices while considering client and firm values, and how firm-based decisions ultimately impact the ‘bigger picture’ – human and environmental health. Local manufacturers will share their perspective on the challenges and opportunities of healthy, sustainable materials. The session ends with immediate actions participants can take to apply their new knowledge and skills.  

Date and time

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
10:00 am to 3:00 pm – break from 12 to 1:00

Continuing education

4.0 HSW LU Hours
4.0 GBCI credits applied for

Learning objectives

  1. Describe and apply strategies, standards and procedures used by firms to promote better material choices.
  2. Explain risks firms face in applying materials transparency and implement strategies for managing risk.
  3. summarize the challenges and opportunities of materials transparency for manufacturers and develop strategies for working collaboratively with them.
  4. Effectively communicate with clients to start conversations about healthy, sustainable materials choices
  5. Connect how material decisions made at the practice level impact the bigger picture of human and environmental health.


Annie Bevan
Annie Bevan is a sustainability collaborator, facilitator, and visionary. Annie doesn’t just talk about sustainable impact, she facilitates action to create large-scale change, using sustainability as a strategic business enabler. Annie enables positive change and market transformation through her company, SMS Collaborative. To enable the vision of SMS Collaborative, Annie takes on roles that empower macro-level industry change, as she does in her role as Executive Director at mindful MATERIALS. She also enables micro-level company-wide sustainability program implementation through her role as the Global Head of Sustainability at Superior Essex.

Mark Kalar, AIA
Mark Kalar is associate principal and general counsel at Cuningham Group. A “recovering architect,” Mark co-chairs the AIA Minnesota Government Affairs Committee and serves on the AIA National Risk Management Committee.

Paul Mellblom, FAIA
Using architectural practice-based leadership and problem-solving skills, Paul has guided dozens of organizations as an architect, dedicated volunteer, and board officer to realize complicated building projects and organizational change focused on elevating the human condition. Paul shares leadership of the firm’s focus on creating highly sustainable, healthy work and living environments. Paul actively donates his time, currently serving on the Tulane University Center for Public Service Board, the Minneapolis Downtown Council’s Jobs Task Force, the ULI Minnesota Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and as a member of the ULI Healthy Leader’s Network.

Lona Rerick
Lona Rerick is a sustainable designer and specifier at ZGF Architects focusing on materials selection and transparency. Lona guides clients, design teams and contractors through the intricacies of system materials selection, product research for locations and writing specifications to assure that project goals are met during construction. Lona leads ZGF Architects Project Performance Team’s efforts to select and specify low-impact, healthy materials. Lona educates clients, staff, and manufacturers on the important transformation to building materials selection using transparency tools like Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Health Product Declarations (HPDs), Declare Labels, and Living Product Challenge certifications. Currently, Lona serves on the Health Product Declaration Collaborative’s Board; as 2018 chair and current member of AIA National’s Materials Knowledge Working Group which created the Materials Pledge; as a member of the LEED MR TAG; on the mindful MATERIALS Steering Group; and as a founding co-Chair of the Portland Materials Transparency Collaborative.

Nadav Malin, Honorary AIA
Nadav Malin, president, BuildingGreen, is a passionate facilitator, leading workshops and retreats to help organizations of all types find alignment, inspiration, and leadership in pursuit of their goals. He convenes peer networks of architecture firm Sustainable Design Leaders, Sustainable Construction Leaders, and others. He facilitates gatherings and consults to USGBC, AIA, large corporations, government agencies, and architecture firms. And he helps project teams with charrette facilitation and design process support to achieve optimal outcomes. Nadav is the building industry’s acknowledged go-to resource when you need thoughtful perspective on the materials and design solutions that define sustainable building practice. 

Allison Smith, Assoc. AIA
A vocal advocate for designing spaces that support occupant wellbeing including healthier material selection, Allison supports wellbeing and transparency initiatives including the Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC) technical committees, the LEED MR TAG, the mindful MATERIALS Collaborative, and the IWBI WELL Airport Advisory. As a Sustainable Design Leader at HKS, Allison co-chairs the HKS embodied carbon working group and manages sustainability projects. Most days you can find Allison tending to her garden and 35 houseplants.

Kim Stanley
Kim is a Registered Interior Designer with ten years’ experience in project types across numerous sectors including retail, residential, multi-family, commercial, corporate, institutional, sports and recreation. Kim leads Carleton Hart’s interior design efforts, integrating into architectural teams on a variety of projects. With a passion for sustainable design, active design, and material health, Kim has earned accreditation with the WELL Building Standard, LEED® and as a Fitwel Ambassador. Kim is a wellness designer first and foremost and an advocate for material health, transparency and trauma informed design. 

Simona Fischer, AIA
Simona is a registered architect, sustainable design professional, and associate with MSR Design. Simona develops and tests processes to integrate sustainable design seamlessly into the workflow of architectural practice. A self-avowed materials nerd, her experience includes project management, Living Building Challenge documentation, and firmwide sustainable design implementation. Simona has presented at national conferences and lectures regularly at the University of Minnesota. She serves on the Healthy Building Network HomeFree Champions advisory group, which works to build momentum in healthier materials for affordable housing. She currently co-chairs the AIA Minnesota Committee on the Environment (COTE).


Contact Deanna Christiansen, Continuing Education Director

Click here to return to the full series overview