Environmental Product Declarations or (EPDs) are product environmental reports produced by independent verifiers. EPDs, cover all areas of products ranging from building materials to cars to electronics. With commercial wood products, EPDs are used to help determine which products are the most environmentally friendly and have the least impact on the built environment.
There are many types of environmental lables; ranging from Ecolables, to EPDs to Environmental Labels: Graphic courtesy of Wane Trusty
• Type I labels (ISO 14024) are awarded by third-party programs to products that have good environmental attributes, usually according to a single attribute. An example would be an energy-efficient product identified with the well-known Energy Star logo.
• Type II labels (ISO 14021) represent self-declared claims by product manufacturers about some aspect of their product. An example would be a product identified as containing recycled content or being biodegradable, acknowledged with a logo developed by the manufacturer for the purpose of identifying its corporate sustainability efforts.
• Type III environmental declarations or EPDs contain quantified environmental data based on life cycle assessment (see definition below), presented in a standardized format in accordance with ISO 14025 and 21930, and independently verified.
(LCA) or Life Cycle Assessment or wood products:
“Life Cycle Assessment is a scientific, internationally accepted technique for assessing environmental impacts associated with all stages of product’s life.”(Architectural Record)
The approach of LCS, takes into account extraction of raw materials, educational tools, product manufacturing, transport and distribution, product use and end of life. In regards to LCA, EPDs are key to building industry to which they provide a valuable resource which can help identify wood product that are a beneficial to our indoor environments and an asset to the outside environment as well by choosing wood product that are produced sustainably and engineered with low VOC content.
Wood products that are certified and produced to carry an EPD label go through a specific process in order to be certified:
EPD Labels play an important role in today’s building industry. They allow for green product certification, guide business to business purchasing decisions, they display product impact accurately , reduce environmental impact through LCA, help to indemnify inefficiencies in manufacturing processes and they allow to set a new standard in how a wide range of products including building products impact social values, human practices and biodiversity.