Part 2 – Environmental Product Declarations: What can they do for your organization?

In the part 1 post, we explained what Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are and the process for developing one. But why create one for your product or service? How is it used? How can it add value?

EPDs are used in a variety of ways and by a variety of organizations, most notably, Leadership in Environment, Energy, and Design (LEED) certification. In order to achieve LEED certified, silver, gold or platinum, a building must achieve between 40-49, 50-59, 60-79 and 80+ points, respectively. LEED version 4 now offers one point if at least 20 different products (from five different producers) have EPDs. Also, an additional LEED point can be earned if a whole building life cycle assessment (WBLCA) is conducted on a new construction project. A WBLCA draws upon the information contained in EPDs of products used in the building to calculate the total impacts from construction for a variety of impact categories including global warming potential (GWP), ozone depletion potential (ODP), smog formation potential (SFP) and the depletion of nonrenewable energy resources. Points are earned for just conducting the WBLCA, and additional points can be achieved if the building design and material choices reduce GWP and two other impacts by 10 percent without increasing any other categories by five percent. This can be a valuable driver for materials selection if the data on producer-specific materials are available from EPDs.


WSP is working on whole building life-cycle assessments at two light rail stations San Francisco International Airport where environmental product declarations (EPDs) will be used.

Beyond LEED, there are many other benefits to creating an EPD. For example, an EDP can be a starting point for design improvements and cost savings because it highlight areas in the production of a product that has the highest environmental impact. It can help drive engagement in the supply chain by highlighting areas for improvement. Furthermore, EPDs are valuable communication tools for the environmental impact of a product from business-to-business or business-to-customer. It can also bolster brand recognition, as EPDs are widely accepted and recognized as a rigorous and impartial system of evaluating and reporting environmental impact.

Experienced practitioners are needed not only to produce EPDs, and conduct WBLCAs, but also to verify the EPD and deploy in a way that is creates the most value. WSP is unique in that we are experienced in conducting LCAs and creating EPDs, we understand the buildings sector, and we are a certified independent EPD verifier. As a certified verifier, we can verify EPDs and participate in the moderation of product category rules (PCRs) for development. WSP can support clients along every step of creating an EPD. Our experience and knowledge of the process can keep a seemingly complex process simple while adding business value.

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