Buildings have a towering impact on the environment. According to the U.S. EPA, they account for nearly 40 percent of total energy use in the U.S., nearly 70 percent of total electricity consumption; nearly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions; and 12 percent of total water consumption. What’s more, 160 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris is generated each year.
Not surprisingly, green building practices are increasingly becoming the norm rather than the exception. Local, state, and federal codes have begun incorporating green building protocols. Various jurisdictions have started mandating LEED® Certification for new commercial buildings. Government agencies are now updating their procurement policies to require greener product purchases. Green building is no longer just a trend; it’s now a permanent fixture in the construction and design industry.
But the environmental impacts of a building don’t begin at construction. They start with the manufacture of the very products used to build, furnish, and maintain a building. From the harvesting and processing of raw materials to the products’ production, packaging, distribution, use, and disposal, the lifecycle impacts of building materials are significant.
Environmental Product Certifications from UL Environment help manufacturers of building materials communicate their commitment to environmental stewardship. And because they are voluntary, objective, and science-based, these lifecycle-based certifications enable manufacturers to highlight their environmental leadership and differentiate themselves in an increasingly murky green marketplace.
What’s more, an Environmental Product Certification can help prove a product’s compliance with a multitude of green codes, standards, and procurement policies, including the LEED® Green Building Rating System, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), GSA Advantage!®, and ASHRAE 189. These marketplace demand drivers instantly raise the visibility of certified products among key specifiers and other consumers.