The Canadian Wood Council (CWC) and American Wood Council (AWC) have released updates for six environmental product declarations (EPDs) for North American wood products. Originally developed in 2013, the updated cradle-to-gate EPDs include softwood lumber, plywood, oriented strand board, laminated veneer lumber, I-joists and glue-laminated lumber.
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 the Underwriters Laboratories Environment (ULE), an independent certifier of products and their sustainability.
“Stakeholders in the building design and construction community are increasingly being asked to consider potential environmental and GHG impacts in their decision-making,” said Kevin McKinley, president and CEO of the CWC. “EPDs are transparent and help the end-user to identify the long-term benefits of stored carbon in wood products.”
Based on international standards (ISO 14025), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as resources, energy use and efficiency, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.
“Whether you are a developer, builder, designer or consumer, you want to know about the environmental impacts of products you specify and use. EPDs are standardized tools that provide valuable information based on life cycle inventory data,” said AWC vice president of codes and regulations, Kenneth Bland.
“Each EPD also includes an example calculation for determining the long-term carbon sequestration of atmospheric CO2 after considering biogenic carbon emissions during manufacture for the product. This calculation is particularly useful for identifying the long-term benefit of using wood products, which convert atmospheric carbon dioxide, a significant greenhouse gas, to stored carbon.”
EPDs are intended to help purchasers better understand a product’s environmental attributes in order for specifiers to make more informed decisions selecting products. By choosing wood products, builders can reduce the carbon footprint of the materials used during construction, contributing to an overall reduction in global warming.
For more information and to download the updated EPDs for wood products, visit Canadian Wood Council.