The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and a team of industry collaborators are aiming to make good on a $3-million grant awarded by Google in 2012. At a press conference Tuesday at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in New Orleans, the USGBC outlined the achievements to date of a working group formed in March 2013 in finding new ways to improve material health and transparency. Among the Harmonization Task Group's (HTG’s) announcements were the launch of an open application programming interface (API), online access to GreenScreen reports, and a materials-health certificate.
“We have a shared mission,” said Stacy Glass, vice president for the built environment at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII), an HTG member organization, at Greenbuild’s Materials and Health Summit. “There is no reason why we shouldn’t come together.”
The announcement follows an August 2013 HTG-authored USGBC report that evaluated five third-party certification programs and recommended ways to streamline their data collection to avoid redundancy and to improve transparency.
“[Each program] can excel in its place in the marketplace,” Glass told ARCHITECT's sister publication EcoBuilding Pulse in July, “but if the alignment happens, then it will make it easier for manufacturers to move between the tools that are most useful for them at the time.”
The API will bring down barriers to data-sharing by hosting manufacturer-supplied material health information for use by product certifiers and other non-governmental organizations. The platform will be beta-tested by Pharos and Google’s Healthy Materials Tool, with a public rollout anticipated for early 2015.
Additionally, the C2CPII announced that it will offer a material health certificate, with a process based on the first step to achieving Cradle to Cradle product certification under version 3.0. Requirements focus on continuous operational improvement and include a site visit to the production facility by the institute’s Certification Standards Board. Upon receipt, the certificate will be valid for two years and will be listed in the institute’s new Material Health Certificate Registry.
Other HTG announcements include: the launch by Clean Production Action of a GreenScreen online store to make the chemicals-focused standard's assessment reports more accessible to manufacturers; the ratification of the Health Product Declaration 2.0 standard, which is still in beta-testing and will formally launch during the first quarter of 2015; and the announcement of version 3 of the Healthy Building Network's Pharos Project, which launches on Oct. 31.