March 5, 2019
Recently, the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) announced updates to its ANSI/BIFMA e3-2019 Furniture Sustainability Standard. Initially recognized by ANSI in 2010, the standard is designed to harmonize criteria from programs addressing environmental, health, wellness, and social impacts of furniture products throughout manufacturing, use, and recovery. It serves as the foundation for BIFMA’s level Program, an evaluation and certification system for environmentally preferable and socially responsible office furniture.
The updated standard requires some additional measures to meet new prerequisite criteria and report with increased transparency. A key update that will affect furniture manufacturers is that the Low Emitting Furniture credit (credit 7.6.1) is now a prerequisite, requiring that all level certified furniture products meet the ANSI/BIFMA x7.1 Standard for Emissions. In addition, credits pertaining to materials, energy, and atmosphere have been redesigned to better align with ISO Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) standards, and LCA impact categories have been expanded to reflect LEED language. These updates more clearly align ANSI/BIFMA e3-2019 with prominent building rating schemes, specifications and product transparency requirements common in international guidelines.
As manufacturers pursue compliance to the updated BIFMA standard, UL can be a valuable partner for testing, certification and support. UL is an approved certification body for BIFMA’s level Certification and offers a full range of services to help you achieve level Certification under the updated standard, including:
- Product Safety and Performance Standard Testing to ANSI/BIFMA standards for which UL can conduct testing to ANSI/BIFMA test methods for seating, casegoods and office panel systems.
- GREENGUARD Certification for low-emitting products, whose standards exceed the IAQ thresholds set by BIFMA and many building rating systems. With state-of-the-art labs equipped with dynamic environmental chambers, UL offers comprehensive indoor air quality testing and reporting to ensure you meet the new IAQ prerequisites for BIFMA level listed in ANSI/BIFMA e3-2019.
- UL’s Product Lens is an innovative transparency tool that presents hazard data in context using exposure indicators along four phases within the life cycle of the product. This information provides valuable transparency information to help meet the new lifecycle assessment criteria.
- Environmental Product Declarations provide a comprehensive, internationally-harmonized report that documents the ways in which a product, throughout its lifecycle, affects the environment. This information can help manufacturers earn credits toward BIFMA level as well as building rating schemes like LEED and WELL.
UL has the expertise to partner with manufacturers to address and improve the performance, safety and sustainability of their products, from design to manufacturing and recovery. Whether you are seeking to satisfy the requirements of ANSI/BIFMA e3-2019, or are interested in meeting the criteria of building rating programs like LEED and WELL, UL can help! Learn more about our services to the furniture industry here, or contact us to get started on the path to demonstrating the sustainability of your furniture products.