Elixir Environmental’s Top 6 Tips for Product Manufacturers Developing HPDs

Posted On: 
Jul 3, 2018
Elixir Environmental’s Top 6 Tips for Product Manufacturers Developing HPDs

Developing HPDs can be a confusing and frustrating experience for building product manufacturers that are not prepared. “Be Prepared” is the Boy Scout and Girl Scout Motto and underlines the mindset one should have when developing HPDs. The benefits of HPDs to manufacturers and architects outweighs the burden of preparation and publishing them, as we shall see.

Elixir Environmental, an HPDC approved HPD developer, has outlined tips for product manufacturers to follow for a more effective HPD development process. Elixir Environmental has been developing HPDs since the launch of LEED v4 and has helped manufacturers across multiple CSI MasterFormat divisions. We will explore tips for manufacturers based on several years of war stories from the trenches.

Why HPDs Are Crucial For Specification

In a previous blog, How to Get Specified by Architects-Part 1, we discussed the importance of product documentation. Most product manufacturers have developed great websites to promote their brand and products. An effective website should also host the manufacturer’s product documentation such as 3-part guide specifications, LEED data sheets, and transparency documents such as HPDs.

HPDs are crucial for specification on LEED v4 projects because projects can obtain one to two points for LEED compliant HPDs. Manufacturers who haven’t developed LEED v4 product documentation or HPDs in 2018 are at a severe disadvantage. Most large firms like Perkins + Will, Gensler, HKS, will not consider a product for specification for a LEED project unless it has an HPD.

HPD Development Tip #1

The most informative resource for building product manufacturers to develop HPDs is the manufacturer’s guide to the HPD Standard 2.1. The Manufacturer’s User Guide provides manufacturers with information for creating HPDs. The guide offers information about the HPD Open Standard to help you better understand the format, what an HPD report contains, and how manufacturers can complete the process of gathering and reporting information. Manufacturers should download and read this free guide before developing HPDs.

HPD Development Tip #2

After you’ve read the Manufacturer’s Guide and understand reporting, disclosure, and transparency, it is recommended to download and read the actual HPD Open Standard Version 2.1. The Standard provides the format and instructions for reporting data. It provides a single reporting format that is accepted as documentation to meet the requirements of LEED v4, WELL, and Google Portico.

The HPD Open Standard can be a lot of information to review. If reading the Manufacturer’s Guide was a breeze, reading the HPD Open Standard Version can be a difficult journey for some manufacturers. After you’ve spent your weekend drinking martinis poolside at the Ritz Carlton reading this information, you can make an informed decision. This leads us to Tip #3 . . .

HPD Development Tip #3

Decide whether you want to hire a third-party consultant or develop the HPD in-house. If your product is complex, has dozens of ingredients, has a multi-tiered supply chain, and involves difficult vendors who may not divulge information then you may consider hiring a third-party consultant. Third-party consultants can help your team navigate the HPD development process and ensure that the end product is a LEED v4 compliant HPD. A third-party consultant can help with:

  • Scoping the HPD
  • Data collection
  • Working with supply chain
  • Reviewing data received
  • Preparing HPD for manufacturer to publish

Create an HPD or A LEED v4 Compliant HPD?

Another significant issue to consider is whether to develop an HPD or a LEED v4 compliant HPD. Many manufacturers that develop HPDs in-house never meet the LEED threshold requirements for the credit MR Credit Building product disclosure and optimization – material ingredients. Why is this important?

If your competition has developed LEED v4 compliant HPDs then they have a better chance of getting specified over your products. We have seen some manufacturers put their marketing director, product rep, or even a front desk receptionist in charge of developing their specification documents! If you are going to develop your HPD in-house, appoint an employee who has a scientific background in chemistry, biology, or another hard science.

Do you have an employee to devote time to this significant time-consuming endeavor? How quick do you need to deliver your HPD? Is there an AEC firm demanding an HPD right now? Does your team know how to navigate your global supply chain in an effective manner? A third-party consultant can also assist in HPD verification.

HPD Development Tip #4

Be patient but persistent when working with your supply chain. Suppliers need adequate time to provide information. Many suppliers may have never even had requests like this before. Your team should ask for specific information that includes definitions and thresholds. Suppliers need to know why you need this information and its importance.

We have war stories we have accumulated over several years of developing HPDs. Most of the stories involves the supply chain. Get ready to sign a bazillion non-disclosures, call and email suppliers like it’s going out of style, and having to repeat yourself over and over and over.

HPD Development Tip #5

Don’t lie, alter, greenwash, or revise your HPD to make your product appear less toxic than your competitors if you use the same exact ingredients. Face it, there are probably a few red flags on your HPD. You may use ingredients that are potentially carcinogenic. However, if you omit information to make your product look better, you will get caught.

There are two types of mistakes. Innocent or malicious. Manufacturers that lie about their product’s ingredients or hazards will get caught. Don’t do it. Play nice. Follow the rules. And everyone will be happy. Your boss doesn’t want to get a call Friday afternoon from a prominent AEC firm that your HPD is a greenwashed, incomplete, fraudulent piece of camel dung. Nobody likes working Saturdays, but you may have to if this debacle takes place!

HPD Development Tip #6

Use the HPD Builder to create and publish your HPD. The HPD Builder is a web-based system, which is an authoritative method to create HPDs for your products. The Builder is guaranteed to be compliant with the current version of the HPD Open Standard. There are other software programs out there, but they are not verified by the HPDC. HPDC does not review or validate the accuracy or compliance of such third-party tools.

Once your HPD is complete it can be published via the HPD Public Repository. Not only will this make your HPDs more accessible once published but it will also save you the effort of updating the many number of online product directories that provide HPDs to their users. You can also offer the HPD on your website and make them available to your product reps.

Overall, manufacturers should make developing HPDs a priority in 2018. Product specification opportunities increase greatly for manufacturers who have LEED compliant HPDs. What challenges has your company faced while developing HPDs?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank