COMMUNICATING PRODUCT TRANSPARENCY
Building occupants and owners want healthier spaces in which to work, play and live. This is driving the demand to know more about the products that make up our buildings: where they come from and what exactly is in them. It is also driving demand for building certification programs such as the Living Building Challenge, the Well Building Standard, and LEED v4, which incorporate product transparency information and push for optimized product performance.
For sustainable projects, building project teams need better resources to easily identify and specify products that comply with varying forms of disclosure and optimization.
mindful MATERIALS was created to provide a practical means of incorporating transparency and optimization information into designers’ everyday work process.
HOW IT BEGAN
HKS, an international architecture firm with 1,200 employees in over 20 offices, saw a growing need to provide chemical content and environmental impact information for products to project teams in a simple way.
To answer this need, at the end of 2014, HKS developed mindful MATERIALS, an initiative that made transparency and optimization information easily accessible to designers as they select products.
The simplicity of the labeling system generated interest in the larger design community and HKS made the mindful MATERIALS resources publicly available to other design professionals and manufacturers.
In late 2015, education within individual design firms and city-wide networking events took place to encourage wider implementation of mindful MATERIALS. Each of these efforts was moving forward independently. These groups recognized the confusion that multiple program variations meant to manufacturers and the opportunities associated with a common strategy, and convened to form the mindful MATERIALS Collaborative, a unified national endeavor. The mindful MATERIALS website was launched in June 2016. The mindful MATERIALS Collaborative grew to over 600 user and manufacturer members by February 2017.
In 2017 mindful MATERIALS partnered with GIGA to move the ever-growing product google spreadsheets to a cloud database, creating a more efficient way for manufacturers to share product information and for industry users to access it. This transition has transformed the way the architecture & design professionals identify and search for products across brands, product categories, and certifications. It also has allowed for direct integration with certification databases.