Op-Ed

Finding HPDs: How We Do It At BuildingGreen

There are several ways you can find Health Product Declarations. Here’s a look at them, including what BuildingGreen offers.

BuildingGreen HPD Collection on Designer Pages

Through our partnership with Designer Pages, we offer a collection of LEED-compliant HPDs.

Any product manufacturer can produce a Health Product Declaration (HPD), and they don’t have to go through a third party to do it. So unlike with certifications with central databases identifying compliant products, there is no single source for HPDs. Even if you gather a lot of HPDs, as some designers have done, matching them up with the products you’re actually using can be no small task.

Whether you’re looking for HPDs simply for their data or to earn a LEED v4 credit, there are a variety of tools and databases to help you. BuildingGreen is responsible for one of these tools. We’ll share some of the challenges that we’ve tackled and then discuss other sources.

Challenges we’ve tackled with HPDs

At BuildingGreen, we have grappled with several challenges in bringing HPDs to our readers:

  • Finding HPDs: We’ve gathered nearly a thousand HPDs from the Web through weeks of searches and data mining, then posted them to our server, where we can keep track of them.
  • Matching HPDs to products: We provide a sustainability filter for the DesignerPages.com database of more than 350,000 building products from more than 4,500 brands. To make HPDs readily accessible as part of this filter, they had to be matched with actual products that a Designer Pages user would specify. This took our Designer Pages partners countless hours of matching.
  • Quality control and LEED: Our readers want to find LEED v4-compliant HPDs. We’re still learning exactly how LEED requirements will be applied to HPD 2.0, but we have screened existing HPDs, completed under version 1.0, and identified which ones comply with LEED requirements. We’ve sorted these into a Collection on DesignerPages.com.
  • Analyzing HPD content:  Like a lot of people, we’d like to get beyond simply checking a box for the existence of an HPD, to learning what toxic chemicals lurk within key product categories, and applauding industries that are working to take them out. So far we’ve done this on a case-by-case basis. We look forward to an increase in the quality and quantity of HPDs that will support doing this more rigorously.

Using the BuildingGreen platform

Our guide to products with HPDs is one of many product guides that are part of BuildingGreen.com and our BuildingGreen Approved guidance, which replaces the GreenSpec directory that we are known for.

That guide shows at a glance what really matters when you’re looking for HPDs. You can then click through to our Designer Pages platform to see which products we’ve matched up with LEED v4-compliant HPDs.

Our platform also offers information on environmental product declarations (EPDs), certifications such as Cradle to Cradle, and our own category-by-category, greenest-of-the-green product screening.

Other platforms

Fortunately, BuildingGreen isn’t the only group working to bring HPDs to the industry. Other tools include the following.

  • GreenWizard offers a product management tool that links product data to documentation such as HPDs, EPDs, recycled content, and more. (Editor's Note 1/26/16: GreenWizard filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2015, and customers have reported to BuildingGreen that customer support is not available. We will monitor the situation for further updates.)
  • The Pharos Project’s Building Product Library allows manufacturers to upload Health Product Declarations for building products and provides an assessment of health hazards.
  • The HPD Library is a free searchable database of HPDs compiled by architecture firm SmithGroupJJR.
  • GIGA, though currently focused on providing product information to China, is expanding to North America. It is currently working on incorporating HPD data.

How are you using these tools? What other tools do you like? Please comment and post your questions below.

Published November 2, 2015

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