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New Standard for Building Transparency

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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A newly released standard form seeks to make uniform the way building product manufacturers report hazardous content.

The Health Product Declaration (HPD) Open Standard V.1, billed as the first “standard” of its kind, was developed by the HPD Collaborative, a customer-led non-profit group that will also manage the standard.

Health Product Declaration logo

The standard will "transform the building material marketplace," says the chair of the HPD Collaborative.

The voluntary standard acts in conjunction with other lifecycle analysis tools to assist in the development of environmental product declarations. For example, the standard format can be used to help meet the Material Ingredient Reporting credit in LEED v4.

A free download is available for public use here. The group worked on the standard for more than a year.

'Forthright, Clear and Standardized'

“We believe in transparency and that it is essential for people to know what is in building products,” said HPD Collaborative Chair Peter Syrett, Perkins+Will.

chemicals in flasks
Joe Sullivan / Man vyi / Wikimedia Commons

Building product manufacturers can use the HPD Open Standard V.1 to report content and hazardous chemicals in their products.

“We also believe that to bring about transparency, it should be easy for manufacturers to tell the story of their materials in a forthright, clear, and standardized format,” Syrett added.

Building product manufacturers can use the blank form to disclose product contents, emissions and other health information, according to the collaborative.

Pilot Program Members

Twenty-nine building product manufacturers and 50 expert reviewers from the building industry participated in a pilot program that worked to develop the standard. The group included Dunn-Edwards Paint, CertainTeed/Saint-Gobian, BASF and Prosoco Inc. Those companies and organizations continue to support the goals of the standard.

A full list of pilot committee members, sponsors, board of directors, pilot program participants and more information is available here.

Other organizations are also pursuing clearer, more consistent product declarations. ASTM International recently announced a new Environmental Product Declarations Program aimed at helping professionals understand the environmental impact of a product’s life—from raw material extraction to disposal or recycling.

Evolving to Meet Needs

The HPD form will evolve over time to better serve the needs of the industry and to further assist building designers, specifiers, owners and users in making informed decisions, according to the group.

Syrett expects the HPD tool will “transform the building material marketplace.” Many others agree, including Jim Coyle, Pankow senior project manager and member of the HPD Collaborative board of directors.

“Cost will force this, now or later. If we have learned from asbestos and similar hazards, we will choose now,” Coyle said.


Tagged categories: Architects; Certifications and standards; Coatings technology; Construction chemicals; Formulating; Green building; Green chemistry; U.S. Green Building Council

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