HPDs Provide Transparency in Green Building Community

July 3rd, 2014 by DWM Magazine

As the green building community grows, so does the demand for disclosure of material content. And to make that disclosure process simpler, Health Product Declarations (HPD) have emerged over the last few years in the construction materials and products industry.

United States Green Building Council education provider Sustainable Solutions Corporation (SSC) and third-party certifier GreenCircle Certified recently hosted a webinar to help manufacturers gain an understanding of HPDs and why it’s the preferred disclosure format in the green building community.

“More and more architects and design firms are requesting this information,” says Jim Mellentine, PMP, LCACP, LEED Green Associate corporate sustainability manager at SSC. “And more and more manufacturers are recognizing that this is something they will need to embrace in order to maintain and grow their business.”

According to HPDcollaborative.com, the HPD is “an impartial tool for the accurate reporting of product contents and each ingredient’s relationship to the bigger picture of human and ecological help.”

This is an example of an HDP.

This is an example of an HPD.

It continues, “The HDP objectively defines the critical information needed to support accurate supply chain disclosure by manufacturers and suppliers, and informed decisions by building designers, specifiers, owners, and users.”

The webinar explained that HPDs provide consistent and transparent information in a standard format—information that includes product ingredients, health hazards, and if applicable, VOC test results.

Additionally, Annie Bevan, CSM, LEED Green Associate Certification and operations manager at GreenCircle, stressed the importance of manufacturers using services like GreenCircle to verify the accuracy of their HPDs.

“With all the green information that’s been bombarding us every day, it’s becoming more and more valuable to have third-party validation to support the truth of your claims,” says Bevan. “You’re coming into an age of knowledge and education where people are questioning everything. So to have this backup if claims are ever questioned is very valuable.”

Once verified, certification and marks are applied to the HPDs, which are then listed on the product database of a certified website, where architects and building professionals can find links to them.

Both Mellentine and Bevan discussed some of the challenges HPDs pose for manufacturers, however, such as having to go back through the supply chain to request and gather specific details.

“Depending on your leverage as a customer, you may want to add these disclosure requirements to future purchasing contracts,” says Mellentine.

The presenters also referred to HPDCollaborative.com’s online tool—which is free to use—to create the HPDs.

During the webinar’s question and answer segment, concern was raised about HPDs disclosing specific percentages that are proprietary and could provide competitors with an advantage, but Mellentine assures that “percentage ranges” rather than specific numbers can be used. “That will allow you to disguise your percentage a bit,” he says.

HPDs have established themselves in the glass industry, with companies like Saint-Gobain and PPG serving on HPD’s Collaborative Manufacturers Advisory Panel (MAP). Saint-Gobain, in fact, is part of the MAP’s core committee.

The first version of the HPD standard was published in 2012, and the panel is assisting the Collaborative in compiling its second version, which is slated for release this fall.

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