IgCC Debates EPDs During This Week’s Code Hearings

May 1st, 2014 by DWM Magazine

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) have seen a lot of discussion of late within the architectural glass industry. An EPD for glass was recently published and one will soon be available for windows. Likewise, EPDs were also on the agenda this week during the International Code Councils’ ongoing code hearings taking place in Memphis for the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).

Included in those discussions was proposal GG194, which adds “Environmental Product Declaration” as a definition in section 202. The definition lists it as “A document that shows a product’s potential environmental impact by providing quantified data.”

According to the proposal, “Environmental Product Declarations are an internationally recognized tool for disclosing the potential environmental impacts of products. When properly implemented they become essential to the true effectiveness of many provisions in the IgCC. The goal of this proposed change is to encourage the use of EPDs. This makes no change to the application of Section 505.2 except to take the percentages of materials complying with any particular subsection at a value of 1.5 times the actual percentage. For instance, if 50 percent of materials are recycled in accordance with 505.2.2, they are taken at 75 percent (50 percent x 1.5) if the recycled materials have EPDs in accordance with the listed standards. By structuring the extra credit in this way, materials with EPDs must still qualify under the current code sections (for used, recycled, recyclable, bio-based, or indigenous materials) to be considered …”

The proposal was approved as submitted, however a floor motion to disapprove followed.

GG198 proposed adding EPDs as part of 505.2 (material selection). According to the proposal, “This change offers a viable option for material selection based on transparency and accountability. By encouraging manufactures to publish EPDs based on established Product Category Rules it will provide specifiers with comprehensive and complete information … Additionally in the long run it will encourage more intelligent decisions by both specifiers and manufactures …”

While there was much debate, both for and against the proposal it was ultimately disapproved.

Another proposal relating to EPDs that was discussed and ultimately disapproved was GG192. Tom Culp with Birch Point Consulting told USGNN.com these would have put EPDs into the code as the only means of compliance, removing the other material options.

 

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