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Practicing Transparency

From the outset of the HPD Open Standard initiative in 2012, it has been our goal to encourage manufacturers to provide product decision-makers with information about the contents and associated health information of their products. We have now reached an unprecedented level of information availability, with over 10,000 HPDs published by manufacturers in the HPD Public Repository and 200 or more new HPDs being published monthly. This represents a dramatic increase in the scale and velocity of participation by manufacturers. More than 700 manufacturing companies are now registered in the HPD Builder!

Now is the time for architecture and design professionals to explore the many products for which HPDs are available. Searching for and obtaining a published HPD (“published” meaning that the manufacturer has made the HPD “public”) is easy! You can access published HPDs directly via the HPD Public Repository. They are also available through product libraries and directories you use in your everyday practice, such as ecomedes, mindful Materials, Origin and Sustainable Minds. Published HPDs provide one of the most accessible means to achieve the LEED v4 Material Ingredients credit Option 1, which focuses on disclosure of product contents. HPDC, working with USGBC, has created a guide for using HPDs to achieve this LEED credit.

Step 1:  Set a Transparency Practice Goal

We’ve all heard about the importance of goals in life, whether in our personal lives or organizations. One of the most important contributions that setting a goal can make towards getting things done is provide focus. In a recent article in Forbes magazine, 5 Reasons Why Goal Setting Will Improve Your Focus, Jeff Boss, a leadership team coach, provides an interesting perspective on this subject, which we have briefly excerpted here:

Five Reasons Why Goal Setting Will Improve Your Focus

1. Goals trigger behavior. Having a clear, compelling goal mobilizes your focus towards actionable behavior.

2. Goals guide your focus. When you set a goal, you naturally direct your attention toward a next step and, as a result, lead yourself in the right direction which forces your actions – your behaviors – to follow.

3. Goals sustain momentum. Seeing progress is addicting.

4. Goals align your focus. Goal setting helps you align focus with behavior because you get feedback on your progress.

5. Goal setting promotes self-mastery. While the process of goal setting is important because it helps unearth and identify what’s truly important to you, pursuing your goals is the real money-maker (literally and figuratively) because it builds self-efficacy; it develops yourself as the type of person who can achieve goals.

So, if you have the aspiration to make this the year to advance Transparency in your work, consider how setting clear goals can help you make your aspirations a reality.

Step 2: Everyone can benefit from a basic transparency education

What does it mean to “practice transparency in the area of material health?” Many of us have been hearing and using this terminology for some time now, and working within our practices to help educate our colleagues, clients and suppliers so that they can support our transparency work. Congratulations – and thank you – for these efforts! 

Here are a few to consider adding to your quiver!

“The Empowered Design Professional” is a 1-hour introductory course that covers the basics of material health, transparency, HPDs and documenting the LEED v4 Material Ingredient Disclosure and Optimization credits. HPDC worked with the well-known professional course developer, GreenCE, to create a course that meets the specific needs of busy design professionals who need to quickly learn the basics, and is making it available at no-charge. The web-based course provides CEU credits with AIA, GBCI and IDCEC programs, and over 1,000 professionals have already taken this course since it launched in November 2017. Take the Course.

Stay tuned for the launch of four new online courses in early June developed by experts at Parsons’ Healthy Materials Lab and over 50 experts in their fields. This certificate program is composed of four self-paced online courses. Courses 1 and 2 provide an introduction to key topics in the field for those with general or more specialized interests. Courses 3 and 4 are geared towards practitioners in the built environment and those concerned with making a positive impact in product specification, installation and maintenance. The program is intended to both complement existing Parsons degree programs and serve as continuing education for professionals.

The four courses cover information required in the design of more healthful interiors. Learning benefits and outcomes include:

  • The ability to compare products and materials used in the built environment
  • Explain the importance of designing with non-toxic materials
  • Evaluate products and materials, identifying hazards and comparing suitable options
  • Set criteria, analyze product information and specify materials

Learn more.

Understanding chemicals and materials management is the focus of a new series of four online courses from Clean Production Action, the developer of GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals, and a founding harmonization partner with HPDC. These courses will be presented live, with the first course beginning on May 17. The four courses are:

  • Designing a Chemicals Management Policy
  • Managing the Chaos of Chemical Lists
  • Setting Goals and Measuring Chemical Footprints
  • Avoiding Regrettable Substitutes with GreenScreen®

These courses speak to the needs of both manufacturers and users of products to better understand the industry trends in this area and the tools and resources available to proactively respond.


These courses speak to the needs of both manufacturers and users of products to better understand the industry trends in this area and the tools and resources available to proactively respond.  For more information

Step 3: Add Transparency to Your Product Documentation 

With the HPD Public Repository, it’s easy to obtain the basic transparency document – the HPD. When a manufacturer publishes an HPD using the HPD Builder, it is automatically uploaded to the Repository as a PDF, which you can then easily search for by manufacturer, product name, CSI classification or HPD version. Make adding the transparency document a routine practice. If you are using an automated library tool, HPDs are also available in mindful MATERIALS, Sustainable Minds, Ecomedes and a growing list of other product libraries and catalogs.

Step 4: Get Credit for Transparency on Your LEED Projects 

Now that you’ve learned the basics and have access to a wide and increasing range of HPDs, use HPDs to earn credit for LEED v4 projects! For additional guidance on using HPDs for the LEED v4 and v4.1 credit, click here.