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Environmental management is a significant matter for several businesses and commercial washroom manufacturers to act on now to implement measures that reduce their carbon footprint, save water and energy, and protect our natural resources. Acquiring EPDs for various products forms part of the environmental management process.

Obtaining Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for architects, contractors, and specifiers to procure from their commercial washroom provider.

As a commercial washroom manufacturer of prestige commercial washroom products, we often get asked whether our products have accompanying EPDs. This article will explain what an EPD is, the EPD requirements, and if you should obtain an Environmental Product Declaration for every washroom product.

What is an EPD?

An Environmental Product Declaration is a document which reports verifiable information about a washroom product’s environmental performance. It also includes comparable and third-party verified data.

The findings in this document declare information based on data procured from the product’s Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), but what is a Life Cycle Assessment? It is a process that evaluates the impact of a washroom product on the environment during its measured lifespan, whether expressed as cradle-to-gate, cradle-to-grave or cradle-to-cradle.

Licenced LCA software uses the product lifecycle data input into the program to calculate the overall environmental impact of the product’s carbon emissions which is presented in a series of tables. The research involved during product data collection is extensive, thorough, and gruelling.

EPD is important for commercial washroom taps and soap dispensers

Why are EPDs important?

An Environmental Product Declaration provides the foundation for a fair comparison of washroom products by their environmental performance. In the long run, the relevant environmental information in an EPD can reflect a product’s improvement along its supply chain. EPDs are also internationally accepted because they are based on the fundamental principles of the ISO 14025 standards for Type III environmental declarations.

Does an EPD mean the washroom product is eco-friendly?

Not necessarily. Obtaining an Environmental Product Declaration only makes it possible for architects, contractors, specifiers, and sustainability consultants to compare the impacts of different washroom products to ensure they select the most sustainable and environmentally friendly option.

If environmentally detrimental materials and processes are employed to produce a product, the EPD will reflect this.

What are the EPD requirements?

As previously mentioned, an Environmental Product Declaration is a document heavy piece of data collection artwork, and we could write a whole new article on everything it includes. But considering we want to explain the basics of this complex report, we’ll spare you from some heavy reading for now.

Be that as it may, what we can say, to give you an idea, EPD requirements include washroom product information about the following:

Cradle to gate

  • Raw material extraction and primary forming techniques.
  • Transportation modes and distances between process locations.
  • Assembly, testing, packaging, and stocking.
  • Delivery transport modes and distances.

Gate to grave

  • Installation methods.
  • Emissions and waste during the product’s useful life span.
  • End of useful life disposal methods.

Grave to cradle

  • Potential for recycling, up-cycling and/or re-use.
  • Issues embedded in all the stages above.
  • Fuel and energy types and consumption.
  • Health, safety, and environmental aspects.
Environmental Product Declaration for a Superloo

Do you need an EPD for all your washroom products?

Architects, contractors, and specifiers do not need to obtain an Environmental Product Declaration. However, it is a desirable tool for selection and comparison purposes when considering products for projects aiming for green building accreditations.

What happens if you don’t have an EPD?

Not having an Environmental Product Declaration makes it a lot more difficult to compare and analyse the sustainability of washroom products.

Why should you obtain an EPD from your washroom manufacturer?

An Environmental Product Declaration that meets the relevant ISO standards helps you achieve EPD and LCA sustainability points during green building certification assessments by BREEAM, LEED and the like. They also help you compare the environmental impact between products to choose the best option that supports carbon emission reduction.

Depending on your sustainability goals will depend on whether you want to go the extra mile to obtain, declare and prove the cradle-to-grave, cradle-to-gate, and cradle-to-cradle life span of your washroom products.

Touch-free taps, soap dispensers, hand dryers in a commercial washroom

Should you obtain EPDs for all your washroom products from now on?

If you want to analyse the environmental impact of a washroom product, then an EPD report will provide all the information you need to know about it. But remember, merely obtaining an Environmental Product Declaration does not necessarily mean that the washroom product meets the sustainability standards required by the specifier.

Architects, contractors, and specifiers do not need to obtain an EPD report from a commercial washroom manufacturer to satisfy any statutory requirement, but many are leaning towards insisting that the existence of an EPD is a condition of sale.

Although some market sectors are actively moving towards seeking EPD verified information, it is impractical to assume that all washroom products will have an EPD accreditation in the short term due to the labour intensity and cost involved.

It is more likely that new and flagship products will be targeted initially.

However, obtaining an EPD with favourable emission data certainly elevates the marketability of a product when it comes to procurement for green orientated projects.

Eco-friendly and sustainably made washroom products are available on the market, and you can still purchase reliable and compliant products without requiring an Environmental Product Declaration.

If your commercial washroom supplier does not have an EPD for a product you like, then ask for an internal life cycle assessment to analyse the data and the potential impact the product has on the environment.

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