The Signal: News and Notes from the Pharos Team

Since we launched Pharos in November of 2009, we have met in person with hundreds of architects, specifiers, building owners and manufacturers.  In almost every discussion, one question has been consistently asked: "How do you ensure the data in Pharos is accurate and the best available?"  We found ourselves spending a lot of time laying out our data quality assurance process in these meetings.  And, we never left one of those conversations without answering the question effectively and leaving the other party entirely satisfied with our processes.  So, as part of our yearlong project to build Pharos Version 2, we decided to codify our quality management processes and seek ISO 9001 certification.  Since we believe it is important to be just as transparent as we expect our manufacturers to be, allow me to introduce you to the cornerstones of our quality management procedures:

It starts with foundational research......

Those of you who have been with us for a while may notice that our carpet browsing has changed in Pharos v2.  We used to require users to select which fiber and which backing they wanted to see for a carpet style before they could view the final product profile and score.  But this approach made comparing carpet styles time-consuming.

In the new Pharos, carpet styles appear in product search results the same as for any product category.  If there are multiple options for backings and/or fibers for a given style, a default option has been selected for the purpose of browsing and comparing.  But we still let you select different carpet component options within the product profile.  How, you ask?   It’s really cool, and super fast….

In the Material Contents listing for a carpet style, if there are alternate options available for components,...

EPA Actions Offer More Support for LEED 2012 Approach to Chemicals of Concern: Comment Period Ends 3/20/12

Two actions from the US EPA last month reaffirm the serious and unique negative health impacts of the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic lifecycle. For the green building community, the Agency's latest evaluations of PVC and dioxin affirm both the US Green Building Council's 2007 conclusion that PVC is not a healthy building material, and lend further support for a proposed LEED credit that would reward the avoidance of chemicals of concern, including halogenated plastics. It is clearer than ever why halogenated plastics such as PVC should be avoided in green buildings, and we urge your support for the draft "Chemicals of Concern" credit in LEED 2012. [You can read my colleague Tom Lent's comments on LEED 2012 and add your own here in ...

Today, thirty leading building product manufacturers will open the door to the Age of Radical Transparency as they begin working with their customers to test and improve the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Open Standard, a voluntary format for disclosing product content and related health concerns that are typically not reported even when a product, or a building, is certified "green."

The HPD Pilot Program is rigorous, designed to maximize disclosure and accuracy of building product data, and ensure that it is reported in a fair and consistent manner wherever it appears. The Pilot Program challenges designers, specifiers and building owners to define the critical information that they need to make informed...

Wood stirs a yearning for simplicity.  From Walden Pond to the Muir Woods, trees inspire.  The same feelings can surround us also indoors, from framing to floor, where wood provides a comforting, renewable counterpoint to synthetic materials.

We began the process of evaluating wood flooring with the preconceived notion that unfinished wood floors could achieve some of the highest ratings in the Pharos system.  Despite its apparent simplicity, we discovered that unfinished wood flooring has several health and environmental challenges. 

Pharos users can now explore these challenges in the Wood Flooring category, which we opened today in the Pharos Building Materials Library. [1]

Solid wood flooring (CSI 09 64 29 Wood Strip and Plank Flooring) is a simple plank of solid wood. It may be sold unfinished or finished. Finished has the advantage that the finishing curing process is taken care of in the factory so occupants and...