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UL Environment White Paper Clarifies Emerging Environmental Product Declaration Field

White paper defines EPD, details development process and identifies emerging trends for manufacturers, architects, designers and buyers


UL Environment White Paper Clarifies Emerging Environmental Product Declaration Field

NORTHBROOK, Ill.—UL Environment, Inc., a business unit of UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has released a white paper to help educate all stakeholders about Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and help clarify the role of the EPD program operator. The new guidance document, “Transparency and the Role of Environmental Product Declarations,” accompanies the announcement of newly certified EPDs for Interface and Kingspan Insulated Metal Panels, and release of a Thermal Building Envelope Insulation Product Category Rule.

The report, available at, provides guidance on:

  • Market demand for EPDs
  • ISO 14025-compliant EPD creation process
  • The importance of Life Cycle Analysis in the EPD creation process
  • Why Product Category Rules (PCRs) are needed
  • The necessity for PCR harmonization
  • The role of the EPD program operator
  • What’s next for EPDs, including the management of public data

An EPD is an internationally accepted, third-party reviewed report detailing a product’s environmental impacts throughout its lifecycle, and often includes additional performance, health and company information. EPDs promote transparency and facilitate comparison of impacts among products in the same category. Life cycle-based assessment tools are rapidly being embraced by the construction and building industry as an emerging component of green building certification processes. EPDs are currently rewarded by various green building rating systems such as CHPS and BREEAM. The U.S. Green Building Council recently started to recognize EPDs through Pilot Credit 43 and the draft version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2012, includes credits that encourage the use of EPDs.

“As an EPD program operator, UL Environment is committed to educating the market about the internationally accepted guidelines for creating Environmental Product Declarations, and their role in market transformation and improved transparency,” says Stephen H. Wenc, president of UL Environment. “Our goal is to create the tools and process that will allow architects, builders and procurement officers to credibly and consistently understand product impacts.”

UL Environment’s role as an EPD program operator is to help create new and harmonize existing PCRs—the guidelines that establish what is to be included in the EPD—and verify and register the manufacturer’s EPDs in accordance with the ISO 14025 standard. UL Environment is also responsible for maintenance of existing PCRs and registered EPDs.

As an EPD program operator, UL Environment is working with Interface, Inc., a global leader in design, production and sales of environmentally responsible modular carpet.  Last year Interface committed to completing EPDs on all products globally in 2012, and began working with UL Environment to achieve this goal in North America. 

“With an EPD, there are no ratings, claims or judgment calls; EPDs just provide the facts to help buyers make the right decision,” says John Wells, president and CEO of Interface Americas. “We support UL Environment’s efforts to educate businesses on the importance of EPDs. We also hope that our own experiences and progress can demonstrate the value of a more complete picture and better transparency.”