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Environmental Product Declaration

Compliant with LEED v4

The newest version of the US Green Building Council’s LEED standard, LEED v4, now gives credit to building projects using products that have Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). LEEDv4-compliant EPDs summarize potential environmental impacts across the life cycle of products and materials for select impact categories. They are based on ISO 14025, the international standard for Type III environmental declarations.

A leading LCA practitioner and ISO 14025 Program Operator, SCS has been innovating in the field of LCA and environmental labeling for decades. We issued the world’s first EPDs on consumer products in the 1990s, introduced “Type III” labels to the ISO process, and helped write ISO standards for LCA and ecolabeling. We have been a key contributor to the LEO-SCS-002, an advanced LCA standard being developed under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process. With this unmatched expertise, we can ensure the very highest quality EPD communications that can open up new opportunities and support your bottom line.

 

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Lawrence Nussbaum
Sales and Marketing Specialist

510.452.6821
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Basics

The accuracy, transparency, and ultimate comparability of EPDs are a reflection of the scope of assessment required by the applicable Product Category Rule (PCR), the rigor of the life cycle assessment (LCA) performed, and the quality of the EPD report.

  1. The international standard governing EPDs (ISO 14025) requires that certified EPDs be prepared in accordance with specific PCRs. PCRs define broad product categories, describe the scope of the life cycle assessment (LCA) to be conducted, and identify the types of potential impacts that must be evaluated.
  2. The LCA is typically conducted by a recognized neutral third-party, in accordance with international LCA standards (ISO-14040 series). The assessment must, at a minimum, address each environmental or human health impact identified in the PCR.
  3. The resulting EPD is based on the findings of this assessment. It must disclose all information required in ISO 14025 and defined in the PCR, including a description of the study scope, the product, results, and related details.

Process

  1. Choose Product Category Rules (PCRs)

    PCRs exist for many product groups. We will work with you to find the PCR that is most relevant to your product.  If a relevant PCR does not exist, we offer PCR development services. You may also elect to have us prepare a “pre-certified EPD” as the basis for the development a PCR for your product category.

  2. Complete Data Request Form

    Complete our Data Request Form, based on the PCR requirements.  An LCA account manager will work you and your suppliers to provide support and answer any questions to ensure proper data is collected.

  3. Perform Life Cycle Assessment

    We conduct the LCA on your product based on information provided in the Data Request Form.  If you have already completed an LCA for your product, we verify the LCA and update the study as needed to ensure that it meets the PCR requirements.

  4. Prepare EPD

    The SCS assessment team will prepare an EPD compliant with the PCR, incorporating the results of the LCA and any other information required in a market-ready format.

  5. Verify EPD

    Consistent with the requirements of ISO 14025, the EPD will be reviewed and verified by an external, fully independent team.

  6. Publish EPD

    Once the EPD is completed and verified, SCS will publish the EPD and add it to the SCS EPD library.

Benefits

Certification of your LEED v4-compliant EPD by SCS means that you can:

  • Support customers seeking credits through LEED v4
  • Provide data that can be used as a baseline for internal improvement
  • Expand market share
  • Gain business-to-business recognition
  • Set the stage for more complete analysis under Environmental Product Declarations Based on Advanced LCA

 

Limitations

The LEEDv4 credit permits EPDs that report only a small subset of the environmental impacts relevant throughout the product life cycle. Unless EPDs report all relevant environmental aspects of products, as required by the international standards for EPDs (ISO 14025) and life cycle assessment (ISO 14044), they can be considered only a first step toward transparency.

International Standard: ISO 14025 –  In the development of Type III environmental declarations, all relevant environmental aspects of the product throughout its life cycle shall be taken into consideration and become part of the declaration.

International Standard: ISO 14044 –  The selection of impact categories shall reflect a comprehensive set of environmental issues related to the product system being studied, taking the goal and scope into consideration.

LEEDv4-compliant EPDs can leave out major impact categories, and report phantom impacts that do not reflect actual impacts in the real world.  As a result, comparisons based on such EPDs can be misleading, and should be approached cautiously.  Some environmental stakeholders have expressed skepticism.

Fortunately, these obstacles can be overcome by combining your LEEDv4-compliant EPD with SCS’ Environmental Product Declarations Based on Advanced LCA protocols. These protocols assure the comprehensive reporting that your stakeholders will respect, increased accuracy and reliability, and the basis for credible comparability among related products.

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