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Associations make strides on life cycle assessment product category rules

Post Time:Feb 01,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:73

Helen Sanders, vice president of Technical Business Development for Sage Electrochromics, provided an update about the glass industry's life cycle assessment activities during the Emerging Technology & Innovation Committee meeting at the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance Annual General Meeting, Jan. 31 to Feb. 4 in Tempe, Ariz. IGMA is part of a joint industry group to collectively address life cycle assessment of fenestration products that includes the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Glass Association of North America and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.

The joint LCA group is currently working to develop product category rules for fenestration products that will help determine each product's environmental product declaration.

"At some point, the industry is going to demand that we put environmental product declarations on our products," Sanders said. "[The EPD] is like the nutrition label on food. It will explain the environmental impact of making your product, the environmental impact when the product is in use, and the environmental impact when it is disposed of."

The product category rules ensure that every company is performing the life cycle assessment the same way. "They level the playing field," Sanders said. The joint group is currently working to develop a simple model for the rules that is repeatable, and is looking to pull from some existing programs including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's window and daylighting software, COMFEN, for commercial products, and RESFEN, for residential products.

Once the product category rules are established, the group will perform test LCAs before publishing, Sanders said.

Read more about the industry's LCA activities.

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