475872 Advancing Building Materials Product Transparency with the Living Product Challenge

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Richelle C. Thomas, Owens Corning, Columbus, OH

General Concept, Background, Motivation

Product transparency has become a mega-trend in the building materials industry. Consumers now demand that increased scrutiny be placed on the materials they interact with on a daily basis. To that end, ingredients once considered proprietary to product manufacturers must now be disclosed.


The Living Product Challenge is a comprehensive 3rd party certification that goes beyond single attribute programs to encompass all the life cycle stages of a product as well as the social impacts, in addition to environmental and financial impact. The International Living Future Institute’s Living Product Challenge challenges the status quo; it encourages manufacturers, architects and builders to consciously increase the level of disclosure they offer the public through their structured product certification process. The work described in this project outlines Owens Corning’s journey as a pilot participant in the Challenge to successfully gain certification for their unbounded loosefill fiberglass insulation as the world’s first Living Product. The process caused Owens Corning to thoroughly examine the way it conducts business, manufactures products and quantify the positive impact its operations have the environment.

Results and Interpretation

The successful facility and document audit lead to imperative certification for Owens Corning’s leading fiberglass insulation products. This test-and-learn project served as a case study for the Owens Corning internally for use as a model for documenting the sustainable impact of other products within the company’s portfolio. The intent was to encourage other manufacturers to join Owens Corning in increasing their commitment to product sustainability.

The process, product and lifecycle are all integral players in the success of a sustainable edit to a manufacturing regime. The Living Product Challenge directly addresses marketplace demand for comprehensive product transparency while leveraging single attribute certifications to document the sustainability gains of industry leading companies like Owens Corning.

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See more of this Session: Poster Session: Sustainability and Sustainable Biorefineries
See more of this Group/Topical: Sustainable Engineering Forum