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Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute Announces New Material Health Certificate Registry

Owens Corning's EcoTouch® Unfaced insulation is one of the first products to achieve the Cradle to Cradle Material Health certification. | Image credit: Owens Corning

This morning, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute launched the Material Health Certificate Registry, a new online tool for identifying and communicating the work of manufacturers toward chemically optimized products. Two pilot companies, Owens Corning and ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas, are the first to obtain certificates and today announced several products assessed against the Material Health requirements of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard.

The identification and elimination of chemicals of concern have become top priorities for the architecture and design community, as well as various trade groups, nonprofits, governments, and companies of all sizes and industry. The Material Health Certificate Registry will provide a free database for architects to find and specify products that have been assessed against the v3.1 Material Health Certification Standard, which is governed by the Institute’s Certification Standards Board. Products that have achieved full Cradle to Cradle certification across all five attributes in the standard can still be found in the growing Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Registry.


C2C Product
Innovation Institute
president
Bridgett Luther,
speaker at
SB '15 San Diego

“These companies are raising the bar for what industries need to do to ensure the health of the environment and for people by assessing and optimizing their products,” said Bridgett Luther, President at the Institute. “We understand the process is not easy, and we’re calling on the design community to recognize the work manufacturers have done and reward them for their commitment to continuous improvement.”

Owens Corning, a leading global producer of residential and commercial building materials, glass-fiber reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems, and ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas, one of the world’s leading elevator companies, were the first two companies to engage in this latest tool offered by the Institute and have since released multiple Material Health Certificates, which will be included in the new registry.

“We were very concerned about not just listing the ingredients in our products, but actually assessing the risk and exposure to humans and the environment during production and application,” said Gale Tedhams, Director of Product and Supply Chain Sustainability at Owens Corning. “We decided the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program would be the best way to move forward, partly because of its recognition by the U.S. Green Building Council and partly because of its safeguarding of our proprietary information. We are able to disclose and assess all of our ingredients and percentage of ingredients while protecting our intellectual property. The program depicts information in a way our customers can easily comprehend and trust.”

To obtain a Gold-level Material Health Certificate (meaning that the product is fully optimized for human and environmental health) for its EcoTouch® Insulation Products Unfaced, Owens Corning faced challenges that the products’ performance was maintained after new formulations were integrated. “It’s not just changing an ingredient,” added Tedhams. “You can make it ‘green’ all day, but first and foremost, a lot of work has to go into changing a product’s ingredients to maintain its durability and performance.”

Today, Owens Corning has its 700 Series Fiberglas™ Insulation Unfaced, No Wrap Fiberglas™ Pipe Insulation, EcoTouch® Batt and Roll Insulation, EcoTouch® Insulation for Flexible Duct, EcoTough® RA Series Insulation, EcoTouch® Insulation for Metal Buildings, and Thermafiber® Mineral Wool Insulation Unfaced available in the Material Health Certificate Registry, and the company says it is working toward optimizing many more of its products.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas has announced five of its products have obtained Material Health Certificates, including enviromax®, a high performing vegetable-based hydraulic fluid, and four standard elevator cabs including 5WL Steel Shell, Bronze Steel Shell, Stainless Steel Shell and Laminate Panel offering hundreds of design combinations.

“The level of detail required to evaluate the ingredients of each material inside an elevator cab with 665 components to 100 parts per million (ppm) was a challenge,” said Brad Nemeth, VP of Sustainability at ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas. “Determining material transparency and understanding possible human impacts associated with exposure, handling and systematic maintenance helped us to evaluate all possible risks.” 

“Currently there are over 900,000 elevators in the US, which transport over 18 million passengers a day, understanding the material health of elevator cabs is paramount to our sustainability commitment to those who use and buy our products.” Nemeth added, “Since the onset of this 7-month certification process, we have gained valuable insight enabling us to continuously optimize the components within our cabs to gain higher levels of achievement in the future.”

At the AIA National Convention this week, Stacy Glass, VP of Built Environment at the Institute, will join various sessions on why materials matter and specifying products in the design community; but the Material Health Certificate offering extends past the built environment and into all industries, including fashion, personal care products, electronics, consumer goods and more.


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