The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is taking bold steps towards improving the potential health impacts of buildings with the LEED v4 Material Ingredients credit. The credit rewards transparency in material ingredient reporting and the selection of products that minimize the use and generation of harmful substances. To speed the adoption of this credit, Google has awarded USGBC a $3 million grant late last year.
One of the key challenges manufacturers and project teams face in making smart choices about material ingredients is understanding the methodology and data requirements of various product inventory and material health assessment programs. To better understand the similarities and differences in the programs’ product inventory requirements and material health evaluation protocols, USGBC brought together representatives from three organizations to form a Material Health Harmonization Task Group . This outstanding and unprecedented collaboration produced a report comparing five programs (three of which are referenced in the Material Ingredients credit) and identifying areas for potential data sharing and harmonization of requirements and protocols that will support implementation of the material health credit.
The five programs discussed in the report are:
•Clean Production Action's (CPA's) GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals (GS)
•Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Products Innovation Institute's C2C CertifiedCM Product Standard
•Healthy Building Network's Pharos Chemical & Material Library (CML) and Building Product Library (BPL)
•Health Product Declaration Collaborative’s HPD
•International Living Future Institute’s Declare
The report compares how each program conducts product content inventory, list screening analysis, and hazard assessment. It also evaluates the current state of alignment and potential for further harmonization and information sharing among the programs. Additionally, it compares how they verify and disclose collected information and how these requirements compare with the Globally Harmonized System for Safety Data Sheets.
The task group found many similarities among the programs' inventory requirements, the lists used for screening, and the data used for hazard assessment. For instance, a substantial common core set of primary ingredient information is required by all programs, although the requirements for material and product level information tend to vary. This similarity could provide a good opportunity to develop a shared inventory platform.