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Environmental Product Declarations: Getting Product Facts Straight

June 13, 2011 - Energy Efficiency

Today's tip is about environmental product declarations (EPDs) and how they can help facility managers determine whether building products are actually environmentally responsible.

EPDs are like material safety data sheets in that they comprehensively describe a product’s environmental attributes. This allows manufacturers to communicate easily a product’s raw materials and other items, such as energy per pound of product.

Because they’re based on an ISO standard - ISO 14025, to be precise — all EPDs have three main parts.

First is a description of the company and the product itself.

Secondly, an EPD includes a statement of environmental performance. This core part of the EPD is based on a life cycle assessment of the product. It includes data on the extraction of resources, raw materials, and transport and production. Global warming potential, air and water emissions data, and resource consumption are also key parts of this section of the EPD.

Finally, the third part of a standard EPD includes information on certifications the product and company may have received. It also includes information on how long the certification is valid and whether the EPD itself has been certified by a third-party organization, and if so, how long it is still valid. Standard EPDs are valid for three years.

More and more manufacturers are developing EPDs as facility managers continue to ask for this type of data. You can find more information about EPDs at


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