Find out how this new program will help you compare building products’ environmental impact and earn LEED v4 credits

by Brianna Crandall — January 31, 2018 — UL, a global safety science leader, recently launched what it says is the industry’s first Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) Optimization Credit program. Responding to five years of demand for EPD Optimization since the launch of LEED v4 in July 2013, UL’s program enables manufacturers to make their existing EPDs even more valuable by providing insight into products’ reduced environmental impacts in comparison with the category average or previous product versions.

The EPD Optimization program leverages existing EPDs to credibly demonstrate a manufacturer’s impact reductions across its products’ value chain and is particularly valuable for earning LEED v4 credits for Building Product Disclosure and Optimization — Environmental Product Declarations Option 2, which will earn an additional full point for optimized EPDs.

Anna Lasso, senior product manager for UL’s Environment division, commented:

UL is proud to develop the first program that can help manufacturers qualify for, and architects and designers identify, products that meet LEED v4 Building Product Disclosure and Optimization, EPD Option 2. For the first time, architects and designers can confidently use EPDs to compare products’ environmental performance, ushering in the next phase in product transparency. We applaud Kohler and Interface for being the first companies to introduce Optimized EPDs.

According to UL, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) provide transparency by evaluating a product’s impact on the environment throughout its lifecycle. However, EPDs may not provide the full story of how a company’s continued dedication to sustainability has resulted in superior environmental performance over time. As companies continually raise the bar on sustainable products, it can be challenging to effectively demonstrate superior environmental performance compared to alternatives.

UL is working with Interface and Kohler, two leading companies in product sustainability, to deliver the first EPD Optimizations in the market for their products.

Lisa Conway, vice president of Sustainability at Interface Americas, stated:

The EPD Optimization program offers us another opportunity to show that we are delivering on our Mission Zero commitment to eliminate any negative impact we have on the environment. At the same time, it helps our customers achieve their own sustainability goals by quickly showing them lower footprint products with a maximum contribution to the LEED v4 point for Multi-Attribute Optimization.

Kohler, a global designer and manufacturer of kitchen and bath products, has adopted the EPD Optimization program to credibly demonstrate the positive impact of its Design for Environment (DfE) innovation strategy.

Jeff Zeman, manager of Product Sustainability Engineering at Kohler Co., noted:

When we make DfE part of our product development strategy, innovation benefits are not limited to design and product performance; better outcomes for people and planet are expected, too. EPD Optimization was a natural next step to demonstrate this part of our design culture.

EPD Optimization is available for building materials and construction products that currently have published EPDs. Some of these products include insulation, door hardware, roofing, flooring, paints, plumbing fixtures and more.

To learn more about the UL Environment division, visit the UL website.