New EPD summaries give a snapshot view of LCA data, but are limited by their document-centric paradigm.
Image Credit: UL Environment
Environmental product declarations (EPDs) are, in theory, the answer to our product information prayers. To the extent enabled by the appropriate Product Category Rule (PCR), a product’s EPD discloses environmental life-cycle assessment results including its ingredients and environmental impacts. If that information is validated and certified by a credible third party, so much the better. To better understand how all that works, check out BuildingGreen’s graphical EPD primer (PDF) and our feature article on product transparency (member link).
Current LCA methods are not very helpful for some key issues, such as human health, ecological toxicity, and habitat disruption, so most EPDs wisely omit those categories. Even the information that remains, however—a 20-30 page structured summary of an LCA study that might run 100 pages or more—can easily overwhelm designers and other potential users of all this information.
Brevity to the rescue
In an effort to make the key parts of this information more accessible, UL Environment (ULe) has now unveiled a new two-page “Transparency Brief” that summarizes the LCA results even further.