Manufacturers of paint, coatings and related materials have joined a list of 30 building-product companies that are participating in the development of a standardized health product declaration (HPD) for voluntarily disclosing information on product ingredients and related health considerations.
|The HPD Standard Working Group is developing an “open standard” for health product declarations.|
Dunn-Edwards Corp., a major regional paint and coatings manufacturer based in Los Angeles, announced Thursday that it is joining a pilot program designed to test and evaluate a draft HPD standard.
Interest in such product declarations is attracting significant backing and interest in the design and construction professions, in particular among supporters of green and sustainable building initiatives. The concept behind product declarations is greater transparency of information about building-product materials—going “beyond what is typically reported—even when a product or a building is certified ‘green,’” Dunn-Edwards said in announcing its involvement in the pilot project.
Leading the HPD development project is the HPD Standard Working Group, a voluntary association of expert participants from the community of building designers, specifiers, owners, and users. The working group was convened in July 2011 by the Materials Research Collaborative, a joint initiative of Healthy Building Network and Building Green Inc.
The goal is the development of an “open standard”—a standard that is “held in the public domain, with its use intended to be freely licensed to all. It is a standard that is intended to be developed, maintained and evolved in an open process, encouraging widespread industry participation and adoption,” the HPD Open Standard Working Group said.
Founding members of the working group include a number of major architecture and consrtruction specification firms, including Perkins+Will, FXFowle, Sasaki, Gensler, HDR, Cannon Design, HKS, and others.
More information on the HPD standard and the founding members: HPD Declaration Forum.
|Dunn-Edwards Corp. is a participating company in the HPD Product Declaration Working Group. Shown here is the company’s newly constructed Phoenix facility, reported to be the world’s first LEED® Gold-certified paint-manufacturing plant.|
Joining the open-standard pilot development process are 30 building-product manufacturers, including paint and coatings companies Dunn-Edwards and Yolo Colorhouse and PROSOCO Inc., a major manufacturer of concrete and masonry maintenance and restoration materials.
More information on the companies: HPD project participants.
The participating companies will complete an HPD form for as many as three products and provide feedback, which will be evaluated and incorporated in a final version that will be officially ratified and made available to the public later this year.
The project organizers are providing a reference guide, webinars and technical collaboration, with the goal of refining the HPD open standard into a simple, uniform tool for conveying useful information. Participating companies will also receive support from the Pharos Project, an online resource that maintains a Chemical and Material Library to facilitate transparency in the building materials industries.
Product Declarations: The Next Green Wave?
Robert Wendoll, director of environmental affairs for Dunn-Edwards, said the company sees its participation in the project as being consistent with its support of the idea “that the people who design, construct and occupy the built environment have a right to know about the health, safety and environmental impacts of building materials.”
| Robert Wendoll|
He said the company has also made it a priority to reduce or eliminate “harmful ingredients from our paints.”
Dunn-Edwards last year began operation of a new manufacturing plant that is the first such facility to earn LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. See Solid Green: Dunn-Edwards Facility Wins LEED Gold Designation.
But Wendoll said Dunn-Edwards and other manufacturers also recognize that health product declarations are certain to gain importance in the design and construction professions.
“We’re going to have to get more involved in these types of things, because in the future voluntary standards and materials-selection programs are going to have a greater impact on how we formulate products than VOC regulations,” he said.
“Here in California, we’re down to where we can’t squeeze out much more in terms of VOCs,” he said, referring to stringent air-quality restrictions on VOC content in products. At the same time, “the green-building movement is still on the upswing. And we are seeing more impact on selection and specification of products by architects, designers, professional specifiers, and facility owners and managers.
“Instead of being faced with regulations saying ‘you can’t sell that product,’ we’ll be faced with green consumers saying ‘we won’t buy that product,’ and we’ll need to deal with their concerns.”
Manufacturers will need to respond “by formulating products that are acceptable or educating users on why products are formulated as they are, and must be formulated as they are,” he added.
The HPD open standard also is viewed as a way to address conflicting or confusing tools or guidelines that currently exist, such as the current version of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, Wendoll said.
For example, LEED references a Green Seal standard for flat and non-flat interior coatings, but references an outdated version of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Rule 1113 on architectural and industrial maintenance coatings for certain specialty coatings.
“It’s not ideal for manufacturers, and there have been constant questions and confusion about where products fit into that scheme,” he said.
“We want consistency and clarity, so architects have a full range of products to select from to meet the needs of a particular project, and we know what kinds of standards apply to particular products without questions or ambiguity.”