UL Partners on Open Standard Digital Format for EPDs

Building Transparency, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides open access data and tools that support broad and swift action across the building industry in addressing embodied carbon’s role in climate change, has announced that UL, the largest environmental product declarations (EPDs) program operator in North America, is the first pilot partner for openEPD, an open standard digital format for EPDs. As a trusted resource for EPDs and product category rules in the building industry, UL’s partnership in open digital standards for EPDs will ease adoption and foster greater traceability in the supply chain.

openEPD is a standard, complimentary and open-access resource for the building industry, designed by Building Transparency’s software development partner C Change Labs. It is an open standard digital format for EPDs, designed for easy integration into program operator workflows and transfer into EPD databases, including Building Transparency’s EC3 tool.

Knowing a product’s environmental impact at each stage of its life cycle has become a critical driver for purchases and specifications. UL provides EPD certifications that enable manufacturers to disclose in a credible, streamlined and universally understood manner. Over the next three months, UL will pilot the integration of openEPD into its workflows with key customers, including Interface, a global commercial flooring company, and Nucor, manufacturer of steel and steel products, to test the program’s built-in verification capabilities and to help resolve any quality control issues in support of an open access ecosystem.

“UL is pleased to partner with Building Transparency on this transformational initiative,” says Anna Lasso, business development manager in UL’s Retail and Consumer Products division. “Digitized EPDs provide the industry the opportunity to make EPDs more accessible and harmonized and fully realize their potential as tools that can help purchasers make more informed decisions based on critical criteria such as global warming potential. UL is excited to work with the industry on this milestone initiative.”

To date, EPDs have been published in a variety of PDF or XML formats on various websites and databases, making evaluation and comparison difficult and limiting the full potential of these valuable resources. Digitization through openEPD will make more EPDs available from more sources, allowing greater traceability in the supply chain and arming the building industry with the information they need to make carbon-conscious selections during the specification and procurement processes.

“It is critical to make our data resources, including openEPD, free and open if we are to be serious about climate change, and Building Transparency is thrilled to have an industry leader like UL join us in this effort” says Stacy Smedley, chair and executive director of Building Transparency. “As OpenEPD becomes more integrated into program operator workflows, it will demonstrate the global warming potential of entire materials segements which, in turn, will help better inform policy. UL’s efforts as a pilot partner will help us get there.”

“The future of environmental reporting is open and digital,” adds Phil Northcott, CEO of C Change Labs. “We need innovations that integrate sustainability data with design and procurement decision flows, and standard open data formats are key to making that happen.”

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