Throughout the design process, building professionals require sustainability information on the products they use and they look to the manufacturers of those products to supply it. With so many different rating systems, how can a manufacturer know which information will help the most?
LEED certification is still the predominant system for sustainable building standards. However, there are more than 100 other green building certifications, such as the WELL Building Standard, Green Globes, Living Building Challenge and Fitwel. Each one focuses on different sustainability objectives and measures different characteristics.
It also matters when a building professional needs the information.
The Information They Want, When They Want It
During the early design phase, architects, engineers and designers look for products that meet the three basic criteria – design, function and materials. They will favor products with easily findable sustainability characteristics. You can think of this more as a pre-validation before the products are purchased.
Later in the process, project close-out documentation and submittal for third-party certifications and awards can be a time-consuming task. This is the most difficult time for the designer. It’s when they need the manufacturer’s information the most. When manufacturers don’t provide the information in a consolidated and convenient way, it makes the task more difficult.
Nine times out of 10, the search for specific product information to complete the required documents begins at the manufacturer’s website. When architects can’t find what they’re looking for when they’re trying to create a submittal, they’ll call or email customer service. Many manufacturers’ support staff are not able to answer sustainability questions, such as how much pre-consumer recycled content does product XYZ contain? It can take days or longer to track down the information. Most people will give up and find a replacement product from a manufacturer that makes it easier. That’s a lost sales opportunity, and a bad experience that erodes brand loyalty.
The Sustainability Features AECs are Looking For
What architects, engineers and contractors want is simple. They want manufacturers to make searching for, specifying, evaluating and documenting sustainable building products easy. Here’s how you can win them over.
1. A Dedicated Sustainability Section: Overview and Corporate Commitment or CSR Report
Having a dedicated landing page for sustainability is a base requirement. Consider including a general overview about how the organization has embraced sustainability, plus any certifications, labels or awards that are applicable. Building product manufacturers should also provide general summary documents like a full Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report to back up their sustainability claims and objectives. For example, adding information about sourcing of raw materials can help building project teams earn a point under LEEDv4 building product disclosure and optimization.
2. General Product Sustainability Information
Include certifications, content and contact information. Also list applicable products or include a catalog for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs), Declare Label products and other third-party recognized certifications and frameworks. Help specifiers know what’s most relevant about your product from a sustainability perspective, and offer a complete building product catalog detailing sustainability criteria.
3. Product Sustainability Search Functionality
Listing all products across all building product families helps the design team find and specify the products they need. Advanced search options that filter by certification, environmental characteristics or product criteria can help them quickly find and compare products.
4. Building Product Evaluation Tool for Sustainability Rating Systems
By evaluating products against specific sustainability rating systems and certifications, architects and engineers can make specification decisions quickly. This functionality should also support specific documentation requirements mandated by certification bodies. This expedites and enhances the workflow of the design team as they specify products, install, and submit documentation for final certification and review.
5. Individual Product Documentation and Submittals
Create a branded and verified documentation and submittal download feature for each building product. This makes your sustainability content easier to use. On the front end, the design team can verify the sustainable attributes associated with your products. On the back end, the documentation will used to certify and finish the project.
Thankfully, Concora makes this easy. Here’s what Concora Spec can do for manufacturers that want to make their sustainable products easy to specify:
- A simple, elegant user experience that can be white-labeled and in the manufacturer’s brand
- Captures product data for the rating systems that matter most, and continues to keep up with evolving standards
- Allows the design team to search, select and specify the products that will contribute the most to their project
- Makes it easy for the design to download all the documentation needed for their submittal with just a few clicks.
Book a demo to see the Concora Digital Experience Platform and see how easy it is to get sustainable building products specified for construction projects.