Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs) communicate sustainability and health information about products to the AEC community in a verifiable and consistent format. This enables design professionals to specify products that fill the sustainability and health requirements of a project. EPDs and HPDs allow the comparison of products and provide transparency. Construction projects increasingly are required to meet sustainability standards such as LEED v4

This article discusses the pressure manufacturers face to be transparent about the environmental and health impacts of their products, what EPDs and HPDS are, and the potential benefits of these declarations for building product manufacturers.

Increasing Pressure to Move to Sustainable Practices and Products

The construction industry is facing increasing pressure to be environmentally sustainable. This pressure comes from several factors. There is a growing awareness of environmental issues, and this fuels a market demand for environmentally friendly and socially responsible products and services. Companies in construction are responding by recognizing the importance of corporate social responsibility. Embracing sustainable practices enhances brand value and a company’s reputation. Regulatory requirements are being implemented across the globe, and compliance is essential for obtaining construction permits and approvals. Certifications assuring sustainability are required on more and more construction projects. Taking environmental impact into account makes sense financially. The market demand for environmentally and socially aware products has increased. Furthermore, environmentally sustainable practices can lead to cost savings for manufacturers.

Environmental Product Declarations and Health Product Declarations

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs) have gained prominence in recent years. Both increase transparency by providing third-party verified information. EPDs information informs designers about a product’s environmental impact, while HPDs provide information about potentially hazardous ingredients in the product. Both are recognized in various Green Building Schemes, including LEED v4. The importance of LEED v4 in North American construction projects is growing. LEED v4 places a strong emphasis on encouraging sustainable practices throughout a building's life cycle, from construction and operation to maintenance and eventual demolition or repurposing.

EPDs and Building Product Manufacturers 

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) were founded in 1998 as the Swedish EPD System by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. They have grown to now be recognized globally and demonstrate a building product manufacturer’s commitment to determining and reducing the environmental impact of its products and services and transparently reporting these impacts. The use of EPDs is not restricted to construction products as they can be used for all types of goods and services.

EPDs are third-party verified and are also referred to as a Type III Environmental Declaration that is compliant with the ISO 14025 standard. EPDs consist of two key documents. The first is an underlying life cycle assessment report which is a comprehensive summary of the life cycle that is provided to a third-party verifier. This report is not part of the public communication. The public EPD document includes the verified life cycle assessment as well as other EPD information.

EPDs are a voluntary declaration of the life-cycle environmental impact of a product, however, an EPD does not imply that the product is environmentally superior to alternatives. Rather it provides transparency and a means to compare the product to other products. EPDs are subject to product category rules to provide comparable information within the same product group. Manufacturers with EPDs have a competitive advantage for being specified in construction projects focusing on sustainability or having LEED v4 requirements.

HPDs and Building Product Manufacturers

Health Product Declarations (HPDs) were created in 2012 by the Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC). The HPDC is a non-profit organization that developed the HPD format to provide a standardized method for manufacturers to disclose the ingredients and potential health hazards associated with their building products. Verified HPDs are used to conform to various green building initiatives including LEED v4, WELL, Google Portico, and Living Product Challenge.

HPDs disclose potential chemicals of concern by identifying priority hazardous chemicals and comparing product ingredients to the priority hazardous chemicals. Approved third-party verifiers perform HPD verification to ensure the standards of green building initiatives are met. The information in HPDs is essential information for designers who are selecting products to meet their healthy building requirements. 

As with EPDs, manufacturers with HPDs gain competitive advantages through transparency. They also signal a manufacturer’s commitment to a healthier built environment.

Delivering Product Declarations to the Design Community

Both EPDs and HPDs serve to increase transparency about the potential impacts of products on human and environmental health. These documents can inform the decisions of design teams and help architects and design professionals find products and solutions that meet the needs of their projects. Manufacturers benefit from ensuring their design collateral including EPDs and HPDs reaches an actively specifying design audience.

CADdetails is uniquely qualified to deliver manufacturer’s EPDs and HPDs to the design community. We coordinate content delivery and organize product information to make it easier for architects and design professionals in the design stage to find and specify building products and materials. Contact CADdetails today to discuss sharing your building product information with over 680,000 qualified design professionals!

Cover image by Alexander Abero on Unsplash