Life Cycle Assessments and Environmental Product Declarations – Green Labels for the Home
Just about everyone who shops for groceries looks at the nutritional label on the product. I believe that we have been conditional to do so and it’s probably a good thing. We should want to know what ingredients are going into the prepared foods that we eat. We can control the amounts of fat, sugar, salt and preservatives that go into the food we eat but only if we can easily get the data.
In a similar way, the building industry is moving toward tools such as Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) to test and validate the “greenness” of their products. These are some of the best tools available to help consumers make the right choices when selecting products to purchase. Would you think to ask your contactor for the Life Cycle Assessment for the siding you are putting on your home? If you care about the space you create and the world you live in then maybe you should.
Manufacturers work with third-party certifiers to test and quantify the environmental impact of all the materials used to make the product. Companies that are undertaking these assessments are ’walking the green talk’ because it is a long process to secure LCA’s and EPD’s.
Beware of Greenwashing. As the demand in the marketplace for environmentally friendly products increased, manufacturers created a form of spin in which green marketing was used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims and/or policies were environmentally friendly. This “greenwashing” is still happening today.
That is why consumers need to be aware of the “nutrition” labels for products they are using to build or renovate their homes. The life and efficiency of your home is important.