Transparency Catalog assists green building practice

Sustainable Minds, Cambridge, Mass.-based specialist in product and material sustainability references, has published Transparency Catalog v2.0, continuing what editors note is a commitment to delivering simple, easy to use and powerful tools. MasterFormat number filtering, aligned with MasterSpec sections, enables architect, engineer, contractor and owner users to find the brands, products and transparency disclosures, by division and section, to meet project and green building rating system requirements.

Product transparency refers to two types of technical studies manufacturers or suppliers engage to assess the life cycle environmental performance and material health of their products—the results netting insights for improvement and innovations. The pursuit of transparency dovetails incentives in six green building rating systems in North America offering credits for specifying products or materials from manufacturers and suppliers that disclose technical studies findings. Rating systems incentivize project stakeholders to specify transparency disclosure-backed products with the ultimate goal of delivering higher performing buildings.

Confronting nine Environmental Product Disclosure program operators and 10 material ingredient programs with disclosures eligible for green building credits, Sustainable Minds officials note, design professionals spend tremendous amounts of time sourcing products for rated or certified projects. Organizations of all sizes are updating their office master specifications and want to include requirements for products with transparency information. To that end, Transparency Catalog v2.0 tracks a) 1,000-plus building product manufacturers or suppliers in North America investing in product transparency, from every material ingredient disclosure program and every program operator; and, b) nearly 1,800 building product or material Environmental Product Declarations from 625 manufacturers or suppliers in 20 MasterFormat divisions.

The catalog offers building product manufacturers and suppliers an educational, marketing, sales enablement and lead generation solution. Sales representatives and distributors can find products by brand with all associated transparency disclosures, organized by MasterFormat section. “This version signals that product transparency is reaching a tipping point. There are enough manufacturers across the majority of commonly used MasterFormat divisions for filtering to provide a great user experience. We get continuous input through the close relationships with our customers and their customers. This product has been researched, road-mapped and developed based on a deep understanding of what will bring value to all users in this industry,” says Sustainable Minds CEO Terry Swack.

“Individuals preparing project specs are time-constrained and accustomed to electronic catalogs that group products by MasterFormat numbering,” adds Grimm + Park Architecture Vice President Brian Wolf. “The Transparency Catalog will be a game changer in evaluating products for specifications and address manufacturers’ concerns about the cost of product transparency now that it is easier to find their products.” —