Material Transparency

Photo: Amar Saleem. License: Public domain

Material transparency allows building professionals to research hidden product impacts like embodied carbon, toxic ingredients or byproducts, and social responsibility in the supply chain.

Manufacturers may release many types of documents in order to facilitate transparency. These include:

  • Environmental product declarations (EPDs), which show the environmental impacts of producing and disposing of a product

  • Health product declarations (HPDs), which disclose ingredients and their toxicity profiles

  • Corporate sustainability reports, which look at the overall environmental impacts of a whole company

Material Transparency

Deep Dives

Get up to speed on complex topics. You can also earn CEUs and download PDF Spotlight Reports.

Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.

  • EPD Quick-Start Guide: 5 Easy Steps


    Use these tips to get what you need from an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), fast.

  • The 8 Shades of Greenwash: How Many Do You Recognize?


    Most building products these days have an environmental angle to their sales pitches. Many are legit, but as ever, you still have to watch for the telltale signs of greenwash—the practice of inventing or exaggerating the environmental benefits of a product.

  • HPD Quick-Start Guide: 5 Easy Steps


    How to get solid information from a Health Product Declaration (HPD), in just five steps.

  • The 12 Product Rules


    These 12 product rules provide a simple approach to selecting better, healthier, and more environmentally responsible building products and materials.

Product Guidance

Unbiased information from our product experts helps you separate green from greenwash.

In The News

We break news down to the essentials and provide expert analysis.


Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.

Learning Resources

Syllabus supplements and CEU content, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.

  • Live Webinar- LEED and Life-Cycle Assessment in Buildings

    Live Webinar

    Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a way of understanding the environmental impacts of something, starting with raw material extraction and ending at a landfill or recycling plant. You can use LCA to identify the hot spots—that is, the worst impacts of the thing you’re analyzing—so you can reduce or eliminate them.

  • The BuildingGreen Guide to Building Product Certifications and Ecolabels

    Special Report

    This BuildingGreen publication provides a no-nonsense guide to the world of green building product certifications to help designers, purchasers, manufacturers, and others in the industry to focus on what is significant and relevant so that market forces can work and the industry can focus on bigger issues.

  • Finding Products for LEED v4 and v4.1

    Feature Article

     Finding and managing product information for LEED has changed—and v4.1 has added even more to think about.

  • Finding Products for LEED v4 and v4.1

    Spotlight Report

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