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The Case for Transparency

When I think of transparency I think of being able to see through something. In today's world, the concept of transparency is a hot topic. How much transparency do we really need or want?

Is full transparency and disclosure always a good thing when it comes to our personal relationships? Do you really want everyone around you to know everything about you? How long does it take for you to open up and share parts of yourself with another person? If you're like me, it probably takes a while before you're comfortable enough to share some of your more intimate thoughts and feelings. After knowing my husband for 15 years, I'm pretty sure that there are still some things he doesn't know about me, and I don't know everything there is to know about him yet. And that's OK; we still have time to share some of the most intimate parts of our souls with each other.

But when it comes to other things in our lives, we want full transparency and disclosure. We want to know everything right away.

When it comes to the government and how it's being operated, we want full transparency. We want to know what goes on behind closed doors, we want to understand how our money is being spent and what we are getting out of it.

And when it comes to the products we put into our bodies and our buildings, we want to know everything that is used to make them. What's in the food that I put on my table is as important as what's in the wood that was used to build my house. As consumers push to learn more and take a front seat to all that affects them, manufacturers are being more and more open about what they use to create the products they sell to us.

In this month's Bonus Feature, we take a look at some of the options that are available to manufacturers who choose to share the ingredients that make their products they are selling to consumers. We look at what each label or certificate means, and how they differ from each other.

And speaking of the materials used to build the projects around us, this month features the 29th Annual Metal Architecture Architects Survey. We see how more than 300 participants from architecture and engineering firms around the nation specified metal products last year and what they expect to be specifying this year. With economists generally agreeing that 2014 was a good year for architecture and construction, it seems that 2015 is shaping up to be even better.

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