If you’ve discovered this page, likely one of our Healthy Building Material Specialists has reached out to your company inquiring about the make-up of your products. We created this page for you! Our experience tells us that you have a lot of questions, so we’ve compiled a FAQ – see below.
Our role, and goal, is simple: to facilitate your participation in the Living Building Challenge (LBC) process, and provide a healthy materials library for environmentally responsible architects, engineers, builders and their clients. Our team does this work impartially, providing each manufacturer ample opportunity to disclose product ingredient and manufacturing information. We stand ready to assist in any way possible.
For a manufacturer’s perspective on participating on a Living Building Challenge (LBC) project, see what high-performance construction products manufacturer Prosoco discovered, in their short video “Buildings Can Give More Than They Take.”
Integrated Eco Strategy, the Red List, and Vetting Process:
Q1: What is Integrated Eco Strategy and what role do you play in Living Building Challenge potential projects? ⇒
Q2: Why are you contacting our company? ⇒
Q3: What is the Red List? ⇒
Q4: Why is X ingredient on the Red List? ⇒
Q5. If my product contains some Red List ingredients, does this mean it cannot be used? ⇒
Q6: What is the end goal of these manufacturer-vetter dialogues? ⇒
Q7: Has this been done before? ⇒
Q8: Why should I give you this information if it’s not required by law (generally OSHA)? ⇒
VOCs, Documentation, Declare
Q9: What is CDPH compliance / how do we get our product to be CDPH compliant? ⇒
Q10: How long do I have to provide product disclosure for my company’s product? ⇒
Q11: What sort of documentation do I need to provide for my company’s product? ⇒
Q12: We don’t want to give away our secret recipe, can we withhold a few ingredients? ⇒
Q13: Who uses the information that I provide about my company’s product? ⇒
Q14: Can I provide you ingredient information but have it remain confidential? ⇒
Q15: Does this process cost us anything? ⇒
Q16: What is Declare and how much does it cost? ⇒
Q17: The product your team is inquiring about contains lots of small parts, do I have to go into detail about each one? ⇒
Q1: What is Integrated Eco Strategy and what role do you play in Living Building Challenge potential projects?
A: We are a consulting firm operating collaboratively but independently from Living Building Challenge (LBC) and the International Living Future Institute. We wholeheartedly support the program but work directly for our clients who range from universities to contractors.
Q2: Why are you contacting our company?
A: Your product is being considered for a project pursuing LBC. Our job to determine whether it complies with the Living Building Challenge rules for building materials.
Compliance is based on several factors:
• whether or not the manufacturer discloses ingredients and avoids Red List ingredients when possible;
• whether or not the product meets necessary VOC limits, sourcing requirements, and responsible industry standards;
• willingness of the manufacturer to engage with the Living Building Challenge goals.
Q3: What is the Red List?
A: The Red List is what LBC calls the worst-in-class chemical families, prevalent in building materials. The Red List contains 800+ chemicals that are harmful for human health and the environment. Ideally, an LBC project will not contain any Red List ingredients.
Q4: Why is X ingredient on the Red List?
A: This guide from ILFI gives a brief explanation of all the Red List ingredients.
Q5: If my product contains some Red List ingredients, does this mean it cannot be used?
A. Not necessarily. While the elimination of Red List ingredients is a critical goal, the marketplace doesn’t always provide such products. Manufacturers’ level of disclosure and transparency, the location of final assembly, the end of life options and other unique, case-by-case factors, also have a bearing on whether we can approve a product.
Q6: What is the end goal of these manufacturer-vetter dialogues?
A: The end goal is to push the materials marketplace toward ingredient transparency and benign ingredients. We do this work to promote healthy and sustainable building projects. “Better building. Better world”
Q7: Has this been done before?
A: Yes. There are many certified Living Building Projects. A project that our office worked on was recently certified and will soon appear on this page of case studies.
A: It’s easier for the market and consumers to stay with the status quo, but when designers and builders start asking for less toxic building products & materials, manufactures will respond by developing and selling those products – thus establishing a new market. LBC is just one of the green building certifications programs (LEED and WELL are the two others) concerned about transparency and toxicity. Further, consumers (and occupants of buildings) have a right to know about the toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis and be able to choose products that will create healthier living and working environments.
VOCs, Documentation, Declare
Q9: What is CDPH compliance / how do we get our product to be CDPH compliant?
A: The California Department of Public Health established testing criteria to determine how much products off-gas. Here are two labs that will test your products to determine compliance with the standard: lab 1; lab2.
Q10: How long do I have to provide product disclosure for my company’s product?
A: The sooner the better. We typically have 3 weeks to make a determination on LBC compliance on a product for our clients. We understand sometimes this process will take longer (if the product is very complex or if you need to speak with people outside your factory), so we ask that you get us as much information as you can immediately, then forward us information as it trickles in.
Q11: What sort of documentation do I need to provide for my company’s product?
A. We have created a simple disclosure form for you. If you’d like to submit something else, that’s fine as long as it covers all the same information.
Q12: We don’t want to give away our secret recipe, can we withhold a few ingredients?
A: Our goal is to get 100% ingredient transparency. However, if you cannot tell us the names of all ingredients but you know that they are not Red List ingredients, then we’ll ask you to sign a Proprietary Ingredient Affidavit stating so. Keep in mind that our preference will always be to use products where the manufacturer has been transparent about ingredient composition.
Q13: Who uses the information that I provide about my company’s product?
A. Our project team uses it to determine LBC compliance. Through our proprietary database, Red2Green other LBC project teams will have access any public information you share with us. If you share documents with us that you don’t want anyone else to see, we will keep those documents and that information confidential.
Q14: Can I provide you ingredient information but have it remain confidential?
A: Yes. Outside our project team, ingredient information will only be made available to our LBC auditor, who checks our paperwork at the end of the project to make sure that we have complied with all of the rules of the challenge. Any other information can remain confidential at your request.
Q15: Does this process cost us anything?
A: Working with us at Integrated Eco Strategy to research a product is free. Registering a product with Declare has a fee associated with it and they are separate processes (see next question).
Q16: What is Declare and how much does it cost?
A. Individual products can be registered with the International Living Futures Institute Declare Label system and are a way for manufacturers to add their products to a library of healthy materials.This label is available to the public and states where the product is made, what it is made of, and where it needs to go at the end of its life. Registering your products with this system is different than just disclosing information to us, but we encourage it since we are required to have a portion of the products in our building be Declare products. More information, including the cost to “declare” a product can be found here.
Q17: The product your team is inquiring about contains lots of small parts, do I have to go into detail about each one?
A: Our goal is learn what all ingredients are, even if they are a small percentage of the whole. If your product is very complex and composed of many parts let us know, and we will work with you to figure out the best way to identify the necessary information.