Consumers expect the products they use in everyday life to be safe when used as directed. Product transparency allows the consumer to screen products and to ensure those products are safe for intended uses. Today, thanks to something called the Health Product Declaration® (HPD v2.2), manufacturing and other industries have taken another step toward product awareness that can result in safer choices by the public.
To be clear, HPDs are a self-declaration by the manufacturer of potential hazards associated with what a product contains or how it was constructed. It is up to the purchaser to verify safety. HPDs play a significant role in keeping the public safe by making it clear to the buyer whether a product is safe for its intended use.
With declarations, products undergo rigorous, third-party assessments to verify materials used in the manufacturing process. As such, they are unbiased. HPDs are:
- Simple disclosures.
- Not a guarantee of product safety.
- Reveal materials used in the product.
- Reveal processes used in developing the product.
They also serve to reveal whether materials are safe for the environment.
Why Provide An HPD?
Development of the HPD Open Standard resulted from interest in knowing the material ingredients of products. It is a powerful way for manufacturers to build trust for a brand by providing unbiased transparency for the consumer.
An Expanded Explanation of the HPD
The declaration discloses the contents present in the final product and the associated health hazards to these contents. HPDs are not certifications; they are self-disclosures published by one to three entities:
- The Product Manufacturer
- A Program Operator
- The Third-Party Verifier
Other Benefits to the HPD Process
The use of these declarations is one of the most common and easy ways of gathering documentation for compliance with LEED v4 MRc: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Material Ingredients. HPDs also contribute to the same credit in LEED v4.1.
Why LEED? The U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) explains that LEED helps investors implement management practices to prioritize building efficiency, decrease operational costs, increase asset value and ensure productivity, comfort, health, and wellbeing for occupants.
Those seeking an HPD begin the process using the HPD Builder Tool.
The HPD Builder
The HPD Builder is an interactive online tool built and maintained by HPDC to facilitate the creation and publishing of an HPD. It guides manufacturer compliance by providing a more straightforward way to:
- Enter data.
- Perform hazard screening.
- Format HPD reports help ensure compliance with the HPD Open Standard.
The HPD Builder is always updated with the Current Version of the HPD Open Standard, so manufacturers can be assured their HPD reports will be compliant with the current Standard. The HPD Builder is designed to current HPD Open Standard requirements and utilizes HBN Pharos Chemical Material Library (CML) to provide reliable substance and hazard information.
The Assessment Process
The use of HPDs is one of the most common and straightforward ways of gathering compliance documentation. There are three disclosure requirement tracks recommended through the LEED v4 process. The more of the product disclosures a manufacturer follows, the higher the rating it receives.
- Option 1: Material Ingredient Reporting
- Option 2: Material Ingredient Optimization
- Option 3: Product Manufacturer Supply Chain Optimization
Each of these ratings is worth one point with an opportunity for additional credits. These ratings help qualify an organization under the LEED v4 Pre-check.
Option 1: Material Ingredient Reporting
In this option, the end-use product has a published report with a complete HPD that fully discloses known hazards compliant with the HPD Open Standard.
Reports with third-party verification that include the verification of content inventory are worth 1.5 credits.
Option 2: Material Ingredient Optimization
In this option, the manufacturer has screened the product to at least 1,000 parts per million (ppm) and has provided a publicly available advanced Inventory & Assessment.
Option 3: Product Manufacturer Supply Chain Optimization
In this option, the manufacturer inventory or HPD shows that the product has demonstrated a chemical inventory to at least 0.01% by weight (100 ppm), and uses the GreenScreen Benchmark assessment.
Product Transparency Report Access
Once a manufacturer publishes an HPD, it becomes available for download in the HPD Public Repository. The HPD is disseminated to other databases through the Repository API (Application Programming Interface) from the repository. This process gives more exposure to products within the AEC community.
The databases that are currently publishing HPD data are listed below:
- 1. Sustainable Minds Transparency Catalog is a one-click database that, among other things, uses the MasterFormat number as a search field. Their goal is to make it easy to find and specify greener and healthier products for LEED, WELL, Living Building Challenge, CHPS, BREEAM, and Green Globes high-performance building projects and reward manufacturers for making them.
- Building Material Scout is a platform for sustainable building products designed to help all construction stakeholders gain easy access to healthy, intelligent, and sustainable materials and building products. These include investors, builders, project developers, architects, planners, construction companies, and operators.
- Ecomedes is a platform designed to help AEC professionals save time, money, watts, and water by optimizing access to products for commercial building interiors. It simplifies sustainability by providing access to over 10,000 brands.
The Benefits of Having A Third-Party HPD Assessment
The desire to improve safety, extend product life and protect the environment has led FreeAxez to submit Gridd®, the Adaptive Cabling Distribution System®, for a third-party assessment and to publish an HPD. Follow the links to see the showroom, LCA, and HPD publications for FreeAxez.
The assessment is having a clear impact on choices for both manufacturers, key stakeholders in building projects, and the public. Safer, more comfortable buildings lead to a better quality of life and outcomes for everyone.
An HPD report underscores manufacturer transparency and ensures that customers have access to material safety disclosures and can know whether a product is safe. It is up to the customer to access this information, the manufacturer is self-publishing its declaration information in a publicly accessible repository.
All parties along the supply chain and especially the buyer can refer to that assessment and safely implement products in the environments for which they are intended.