WASHINGTON – The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have announced the release of four new environmental product declarations (EPDs) for North American wood products, including softwood lumber, plywood, oriented strand board, and glue-laminated lumber.

EPDs are standardized tools that provide information about the environmental footprint of the products they cover. The North American wood products industry has taken its EPDs one step further by obtaining third-party verification from the Underwriters Laboratories Environment (ULE), an independent certifier of products and their sustainability.

“Our industry has long been committed to transparency regarding the environmental impact of its products and encourages other building material producers to do the same,” said AWC President & CEO Robert Glowinski. “For the first time, users have a science-based and third-party verified tool to understand and weigh what environmental factors are important to them when making their product selections.”

“The EPD process is one that is open and transparent, outlining where wood products have optimal environmental performance capabilities as well as areas where various products have a need for improvement,” said CWC President Michael Giroux. “This form of comparison data would equal the playing field for competing products and mitigate any past false stigmas that may have existed without scientific or justified proof.”

Based on international standards (ISO 14025), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as resources, energy use and efficiency, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.

Business purchasing decisions will likely require the kind of environmental information provided by EPDs in the future to account for factors such as carbon footprint. By choosing wood, builders can reduce carbon footprints from materials used during construction, contributing to a reduction in global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Wood products can displace more fossil-fuel intensive construction materials such as concrete, steel, aluminum, and plastics, which can result in significant emission reductions.”

For more information and to download currently available EPDs for wood products, visit www.awc.org/greenbuilding/epd.html.