They’re ready! The first EPDs Environmental Product Declarations for laminate flooring are currently being published on website of the IBU Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. at www.bau-umwelt.de. The EPLF produced the EPDs last year in collaboration with the Aachen based TFI Textiles & Flooring Institute for its member companies and is thereby paving the way for more sustainability in the floor coverings industry. There are three sample EPDs for DPL, HPL and PDL flooring, which cover most of the products manufactured by the EPLF’s members.
An EPD provides details about the ecological impact of construction materials and is a key basic document for sustainable building for architects and planners. It contains detailed information about the entire life cycle of a product with regard to the use of renewable and non-renewable resources, the global warming potential, the ozone depletion potential, acidification and eutrophication in water and ground-level photochemical ozone production, also known as summer smog. For laminate flooring, production, installation, cleaning, care, disposal and recycling are considered in detail. Thanks to its high wood content, laminate flooring scores well in terms of using renewable resources and global warming potential in particular, because wood produces CO2, a greenhouse gas, during plant growth.
At a time when increasing numbers of public and private buildings all over the world are being certified for their sustainability, EPDs are becoming increasingly significant for the construction industry. From 2011, it is expected that they will form a part of the European construction materials ordinance which will be binding for all manufacturers in the EU. In the USA and many Western European countries, there are already certification systems for sustainable building, e.g. LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in the USA, BRE Building Research Establishment in Great Britain and HQE Haute Qualité Environnementale in France.
In Germany, the DGNB Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen e.V. has been awarding quality seals in gold, silver and bronze since last year. The architect who plans and constructs a building can refer to the EPDs of individual construction materials, such as e.g. construction elements, insulating material or floor coverings, to see how they affect the environment. He adds up the values which have been calculated for all the construction materials using the same pattern, thereby producing a sound sustainability assessment.
EPDs only for EPLF member companies
The EPLF is expressly committed to sustainable building and will continue to be actively involved in this field of work. Since May 2009, the association has been a member of the Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V., which intensively pursued the process of creating EPDs for laminate flooring. More than 40 international companies, service providers and associations from Germany and Europe are voluntary members of the IBU. The laminate flooring EPDs just completed are the first EPDs in the floor coverings industry to be available in Europe. However, they only apply to EPLF member companies, giving them a clear lead over their European competitors.
Verband der Europäischen Laminatfußbodenhersteller e.V.
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