WASHINGTON – The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council(CWC) have announced the release of two new environmental product declarations (EPDs) for laminated veneer lumber and wood I-joists.
This latest announcement brings the available EPD total for North American wood products to six. The previous four (released in May) include softwood lumber, softwood plywood, oriented strand board, and glued laminated timber.
EPDs are standardized tools that provide information about the environmental footprint of the products they cover. The North American wood products industry has taken its EPDs one step further by obtaining third-party verification from UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories and an independent certifier of products and their sustainable attributes.
“With the U.S. Green Building Council membership’s recent approval of LEED v4 and its point recognition for disclosure and optimization of building product life-cycle impacts, the value of these six industry-wide EPDs in green building rating systems has taken a significant step forward,” said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski. “Additionally, the online version of the Green Globes building rating system also provides points for using products that have third-party verified EPDs. Clearly, there is a need to provide building teams with science-based information on environmental impacts of products and primary energy consumption so that more informed decisions are possible.”
“The transparency provided in an EPD helps to pinpoint locations in the production and supply chain where wood products exhibit favourable environmental performance, as well as areas where lower impacts can be realized in the future,” said CWC President Michael Giroux. “This type of objective, science-based data will help demonstrate to the design community that the wood industry is committed to full disclosure and will mitigate any false stigmas which may have previously existed without scientific or justified proof.”
Based on international standards (ISO 14025 and ISO 21930), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as use of resources, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.
Business purchasing decisions will soon require the kind of environmental information provided by EPDs to account for factors such as carbon footprint. By choosing wood, builders can reduce carbon footprints from materials used during construction, contributing to a reduction in global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Wood products can displace more fossil-fuel intensive construction materials such as concrete, steel, aluminum, and plastics, which can result in significant emission reductions.”
For more information and to download currently available EPDs and Transparency Briefs for wood products, visit http:www.awc.org/greenbuilding/epd/.