From Realtà Mapei n° 30 - 4/24/2020
Environmental Product Declarations for MAPEI products help in certifying products as green
Sustainability in the tile industry has evolved in recent years to make transparency a higher priority. Buyers are increasingly demanding to know the full extent of a product’s impact on human health and the environment. From product extraction through disposal, the transparency of a product at each stage of its life-cycle has become a critical driver in specifying building products/materials and purchasing. MAPEI is committed to this new level of product transparency – broadening our focus from single attributes like recycled content and VOCs, to product transparency reporting including Manufacturers’ Inventory (MI) reports and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) reports.
An EPD is a voluntarily developed report that communicates transparent and comparable information about a product’s impact through its entire life-cycle, including its material content, resource extraction/processing, manufacturing/assembly, distribution/transportation, use/maintenance and end-of-life (reuse, repurpose and disposal). EPDs are based upon an established set of Product Category Rules (PCRs) and independently verified life-cycle assessment data, allowing for comparability of impacts across products in a specified category. This report enables manufacturers to make disclosures in a credible, streamlined and universally understood manner.
Traditionally, EPDs disclose such life-cycle-based environmental impact information as the carbon footprint of a product. Depending on how category-specific the PCRs are written, EPDs may disclose additional information such as toxicity and human health impacts. These reports are derived from in-depth analysis of data related to tile manufacturing and use, including such aspects as energy and resource consumption, air emissions, and production waste. EPD program operators, such as UL Environment, verify that the information within the EPD is accurate and was developed in conformance with ISO 14025 guidelines. The result is a report that is certified to be in compliance with ISO’s guidelines and the process outlined therein.
Three types of EPDs exist, with applicability depending on the industry in question:
1. Product-specific – Used for industries without established PCRs and isn’t always third-party-verified
2. Product-specific, Type III – Covers a single product from a manufacturer and has a third-party reviewer
3. Industry-wide (generic) – Covers a broad classification of products, such as cement mortars and grouts
MAPEI’s leadership role
MAPEI is committed to transparency, from the selection of raw materials to the jobsite delivery of finished products. MAPEI North America assisted the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) in establishing the first industry-wide EPDs. In addition, the global MAPEI S.p.A. finalized the EPD Process Certification, meaning that its processes for EPD creation have been quality-assured by an external certification body. The EPD Process Certification, a feature of the International EPD System, allows companies to create EPDs more efficiently and on a large scale.
For project teams seeking to satisfy green-building project requirements, MAPEI offers more than 30 global, product-specific EPDs. MAPEI also provides two industry-wide EPDs for tile mortar and tile grout that cover more than 50 of MAPEI’s own products. EPDs can contribute to project certification via LEED, Green Globes, BREEAM, Living Building Challenge (LBC), International Green Construction Code (IGCC) and other green-building rating systems and standards.
The largest of these programs, LEED, allows buildings to obtain points by contributing to LEED’s Materials & Resources credit for EPDs. The credit requires the use of at least 20 permanently installed building products from at least five different manufacturers that offer one of the three EPD types listed above.
EPDs are becoming a de facto requirement for sustainable buildings, which is an incentive for industries and manufacturers to generate them. When EPDs are bundled with MAPEI’s Manufacturers’ Inventory reports and other sustainable product attributes, such as low VOC content, buildings can potentially contribute toward additional “green” points.
The construction industry continues to evolve, with a trend toward transparency as well as requirements for evaluating and reporting on health and environmental impacts. Keeping pace with this industry evolution, MAPEI continues to develop the broadest set of innovative, sustainable products possible.