Industry-first building product label tracks life-cycle, material composition data

Sources: Perkins + Will, Chicago; Construction Specialties Inc., Lebanon, N.J.; CP staff

Perkins + Will, a major architectural and engineering firm, and Construction Specialities (C/S) describe their building product transparency label—detailing complete product make-up, critical life cycle information and potential human health impacts—as a collaborative step aimed at driving increased manufacturer disclosure.

Printed for on-product placement, the label debuted on PediTred G4 entrance flooring C/S displayed at the U.S. Green Building Council’s 2011 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo (October 4–7) in Toronto. Likewise applicable to the manufacturer’s line of expansion joint inserts for horizontal and vertical concrete conditions, the label identifies general product information and content, ecological benchmarks, and packaging information, plus the product’s design process and recyclability.

C/S and Perkins+Will cite need for a label based on the belief that chemicals generally harmful to humans, animals, and the environment should be avoided in building products when there are reasonable alternatives. The label development team sought to create a means to allow manufacturers and downstream parties to make informed decisions when they fabricate, specify, install, use and dispose of building products. C/S will begin shipping labeled products in 2012 and make the template available to other manufacturers.

“With this Building Product Transparency Project, we hope to expand the conversation about manufacturer behavior and material health, recognizing a product’s associated impacts on people and the environment,” says C/S Marketing and Product Development Manager Curt Fessler, LEED AP BD+C.

“Although we have been advocating for transparency to this degree for years, the level of vulnerability required by a manufacturer in disclosing this information has made it challenging to find a partner willing to step forward,” adds Perkins + Will Associate Principal Peter Syrett, AIA, LEED AP.