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New AIA -Transparency 20150928

I am coming down with a case of ‘declaration’ fatigue as coined by GreenBuilding Inc.’s dream team in their latest webcast As LEEDv4 headlines containing ‘product transparency’ and ‘revamped materials credits’ are running their course, they are being replaced by a landslide of product declaration updates. Governing bodies of product declarations are working hard to get their ducks in a row as the era of LEEDv2009 comes to an end. Most prevalent as of late is the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Collective with their launch of the HPDv2.0 open standard and online builder. If you’re like me there might be a tiny voice in the back of your head asking, “didn’t that happen a year ago?” but that’s just your ‘declaration’ fatigue talking. As a beta tester of the HPDv.20 online builder and a member of the HPDC’s Manufacturers Advisory Panel, I have seen first hand that the HPDC has had their hands full and are working hard to fill their seat at the LEEDv4 table.

That being said, whether you’re a manufacturer, architect, spec writer or LEED coordinator navigating the disclosure thresholds, new templates and LEED compliance requirements of different versions of many declarations can be daunting! You may find yourself asking no one in particular: What ppm threshold do I need to meet? What’s the difference between an impurity and a residual again? I often find myself at my desk making makeshift spreadsheets surrounded by chocolate wrappers and empty coffee cups. That being said part of me likes the challenge in keeping all of the nitty, gritty details straight. But if spending your day comparing intensely complex open standards isn’t your thing, I have outlined a couple of the changes between HPDv1.0 and HPDv2.0 below that might help you get the facts straight. 

  1. New exceptions for screening (soon to be formalized)
    1. Remember under HPDv1.0 when you plugged your ingredient's CAS number into the online builder and it spit out a hazard that wasn't applicable to the end use of your ingredient in the end product - well no more! ( some cases - there are always exceptions to the exceptions!)
    2. The screening exceptions allow for some HPDv1.0s when convereted to HPDv2.0s to unlock the second LEEDv4 point available under the MRc4: Building product disclosure and optimization - material ingredients.
      1. Under HPDv1.0 if you had an ingredient screened as a benchmark 1 level hazard it blocked the HPD from counting towards the second LEED point available under MRc4.
      2. Now with HPDv2.0 this benchmark level 1 hazard ingredient (if it meets the proper criteria) can be exempt from screening because it is considered a special condition by the HPDC under HPDv2.0.
      3. This screening exemption avoids the benchmark level 1 hazard being recorded and allows the HPD to count towards the second LEED point. 

        I know  - It's a mouth full. 

    3.  The HPDC is working to put together a technical advisory panel to fully define special conditions. Examples of special conditions listed on the HPDC website are: biological material, metal alloy material, float glass, ceramics, geological materials, plastics and polymers.

      If you are interested in getting involved contact Joel Todd at the HPD Collaborative.

  2. Residuals and impurity considerations must be documented. 
    1. Under the new format of HPDv2.0 there are three places to record your consideration of residual and impurities:
      1. Under Section 1: Summary - provide at a minimum an explanation of why there are no considered residuals and/or impurities.
      2. Under Section 2: Material Notes - residual and impurity considerations must be documented for all materials. This space should also include a statement about special conditions that are applicable. 
      3. Under Section 4: General Notes - you are required to state residual and impurity considerations for all materials if not already stated in Section 2: Material Notes. 
    2. What's a residual or impurity, you ask?
      1. A residual is an intentionally used substance that may be present in the final material/mixture, but is not intended as a constituent. For example, this may refer to substances included in a manufacturing process to aid processing, as well as inputs to a reaction process such as reagents, catalysts, or monomers.
      2. An impurity is an unintended substance in a materials/mixtures as manufacturing that was not an intentionally used substance in the production of the material/mixture. It may originate from the starting materials or be the result of secondary incomplete reactions during the manufacturing process. 
  3. New material listing option

    In HPDv1.0, the contents were listed from the smallest to largest percentage of ingredients that make up the overall end product. This format often left ingredients being disclosed at the order of magnitude of 0.01% of the final product depending on the complexity of your product. HPDv1.0 readers commented that this listing made it harder to determine the role of the ingredients listed in the final end product being considered.

    As a solution, in HPDv2.0 there is an option for ingredients to be listed by material and then broken down into substances that make up that material. Substances can be disclosed by the percentage of that material. For example, in HPDv2.0 if cement made up 10% of your overall product, then quartz (a substance in cement) would be listed under cement as making up 50% of the cement. This is in contrast to the approach in HPDv1.0, where quartz would be listed as 0.05% of the overall product.

It is easy to get bogged down in the details and get frustrated, but if you take a second and take a step back to understand why the changes are happening, then it can be exciting! There are great motives behind what is being asked of us – to better human health! It is exciting to think that in the next decade you could be at your favourite furniture store asking to see the HPD for the new set of bunk beds you’re about to buy for your kids bedroom. I know that I have had dinner table conversations with my friends about wanting to have more information when making purchasing decisions. So starting today, push yourself to take up the transparency torch and dive into product declarations. If you’re catching a case of ‘declaration’ fatigue take a step back and look at the big picture.

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