How Do You Use EPDs and HPDs for Product Selection?

  February 11, 2016

Ask 100 facility professionals what criteria they use to select high-performance building products, and you’ll get 99.5 different answers. But most will probably agree that selecting products these days is more an art than a science.

Depending on priorities in any particular organization, criteria for high-performance building products can vary greatly. And that’s becoming even truer as more data become available on every product on the market.

Though you wouldn’t say that using environmental product declarations (EPDs) and health product declarations (HPDs) has become mainstream, the datasets included in these documents truly are becoming an increasingly valuable part of product selection for facility professionals. That’s true because as facility professionals winnow and specialize their requirements beyond simply cost and performance, these two types of comprehensive documents offer more information about how products do or don’t meet particular criteria.

With EDPs and HPDs, it’s always been a cart-and-horse issue. Because they’re expensive and time-consuming for manufacturers to produce, they weren’t widely available because no one was actually asking for them. But then when LEEDv4, in the Building Design and Construction (formerly known as LEED for New Construction) rating system, offered points for using EPDs and HPDs, more architects and engineers began asking for them, and more manufacturers started having them created and certified.

As a result, for many products from carpet to paint to roofing, facility professionals can use EPDs to compare the environmental impacts of products they select and HPDs to determine the ingredients in a product. As the industry understands more and more about how building positively impact the health and well-being of occupants, EPDs and HPDs will become an increasingly important part of product selection.  

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor of Building Operating Management magazine, greg.zimmerman@tradepress.com.

Read more from him on EPDs and HPDs.


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