Labelling & Environmental Assessment

Labelling and Environmental Assessment of Building Products

Environmental assessment takes many forms depending on the objective of the user. Most of these are addressed by ISO standards, and the most relevant for building products are the ISO 14000 series.

These include:

  • ISO 14024: 1999 Environmental labels and declarations -- Type I environmental labelling -- Principles and procedures
    Type I Ecolabels provide certification to products that meet preset criteria for “environmentally preferable” products and services for a class of functionally equivalent products. This standard requires “life cycle thinking” but the best standards do require LCA based performance over a range of environmental impacts and assessment by an independent authority under the auspices of an ecolabelling scheme. The advantage of Type I ecolabels is that they communicate environmental performance very simply to the general public or practitioners for whom environmental performance is just one part of their decision-making e.g. building designers.
  • ISO 14021: 1999 – Environmental labels and declarations -- Self-declared environmental claims (Type II environmental labelling)
    Type II environmental labels are commonly referred to as self-assessment because they do not require independent assessment but are intended to enable a manufacturer to report the environmental impacts of a product based on multiple criteria. Since there are no published LCA based criteria and no independent validation of the manufacturers claims, use of the BP LCI data in support of these claims is not considered appropriate under the BP LCI Protocol (hyperlink).
  • ISO 14025:2006 – Environmental labels and declarations -- Type III environmental declarations -- Principles and procedures
    Type III environmental labels are commonly referred to as an Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). This standard calls for LCA based assessment against preset product category rules (PCR) where in an independent authority validates the environmental impacts across the range of important impacts for the product category. The product category should be defined in terms of functionally equivalent performance for compliance with the Protocol if BP LCI data are to be used for this purpose. The advantage of Type III EPDs is that they provide detailed information about the major inputs and outputs as well as the environmental impacts for a product for a sophisticated user to interpret the data specific for their use. The EPD can also supply additional product use, maintenance and manufacturing information beyond the LCA criteria for the information and education of the user.

Download "EPDs in the Construction Sector - Basics".