MBMA Releases EPDs for Primary Rigid Framing, Secondary Framing and Metal Cladding

In order to meet the increasing demand for unbiased data about the environmental impacts of commercial construction, the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) has released Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for three metal building product categories: primary rigid framing, secondary framing, and metal cladding for roofs and walls.

MBMA partnered with UL Environment (ULE) to develop and certify these EPDs, which summarize the cradle-to-gate environmental impacts of a metal building system. The cradle-to-gate method is used to describe the impact of producing products, from raw material extraction, through processing, fabrication and up to the finished product leaving the manufacturing facility.

EPDs provide specifiers, builders and other industry professionals with transparent third-party documentation of the environmental impacts of products, including global warming potential, ozone depletion, acidification and other factors. The LEED V4 green building rating system encourages the use of EPDs, which are important for earning credits in the program.

MBMA has been studying the sustainable attributes of metal buildings for several years, starting with the collection of the industry’s LCI data, and using it to perform whole-building LCA analysis to compare its products to other forms of construction. Through these studies, MBMA has shown that the structural efficiency of metal building systems is a key contributor to their sustainable performance when compared to conventional construction.

“There is a growing need to simplify and harmonize the decision-making processes for architects and specifiers that must choose building materials for construction,” says Dan Walker, associate general manager of MBMA. “MBMA members are dedicated to educating others about the sustainable performance of metal building systems, and these EPDs will effectively do that for the design community.”

Metal building systems are custom-engineered and fabricated in accordance with strict quality assurance standards, and with almost no scrap generated. Designers are beginning to realize that the structural efficiency of this approach brings tangible benefits, from a sustainability and cost-savings perspective. The completion of these EPDs gives designers the confidence that they are making a wise choice from financial and environmental aspects.

MBMA’s EPDs can now be found on the UL Environment website.

RCMA Updates Reflective Roof Coatings and LEED White Paper

The Washington, D.C.-based Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association has updated its reflective roof coatings and LEED white paper, originally issued by the Reflective Roof Coatings Institute (RRCI) in 2012. (RCMA and RRCI announced their merger in early 2015.)

The white paper explores the role of reflective roof coatings in the Washington-based U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Version 4 green-building program with emphasis on new building structure, existing building operation and maintenance, and LEED v4 prerequisites and credit requirements.

The white paper intends to provide understanding for stakeholders about the cost-effective contributions of roof coatings and the environmentally sound new building and renovation projects that use LEED v4. The white paper also serves as a resource, which outlines the benefits that reflective roof coatings provide to buildings, businesses and the environment. The findings in the LEED white paper apply to any reflective roof coatings that are LEED-compliant.

Bob Kobet of The Kobet Collaborative, Pittsburgh, is the author of the LEED white paper updates, as well as RRCI’s original white paper. Members of the RCMA Reflective Roof Coatings Institute, RCMA Technical Affairs Committee, and RCMA Codes and Standards Task Force collaborated on the project to update and revise the white paper to incorporate LEED’s new version.

The COP21 agreement presents a major opportunity for architects around the globe to provide leadership in designing buildings and communities that help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Its call for capacity building for adaptation and mitigation of climate change represents exactly what the architecture profession excels at providing,” says Russell Davidson, FAIA, AIA president, as the COP21 meeting of the United Nations Climate Change conference concluded.

The new “Reflective Roof Coatings and LEED v4” white paper is published online on RCMA’s website.

Insulation Products from Dow Building Solutions Receive Validation from UL Environment

Dow Building Solutions (DBS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Co., announced STYROFOAM extruded polystyrene foam insulation products in North America have received validation from UL Environment that they contain 20 percent pre-consumer recycled content on average. This verification marks the latest sustainability milestone for Dow insulation products, which also hold Cradle-to-Cradle certification.

“UL Environment is proud to have worked with Dow Building Solutions to validate the recycled content claims for its STYROFOAM Insulation Products,” says Lisa Meier, vice president and general manager of UL Environment. “Dow’s pursuit of third-party substantiation demonstrates its commitment to scientifically backed, credible communication about this sustainability attribute.”

For more than 70 years, DBS has been recognized in the building industry, delivering energy-efficient solutions that conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including Dow’s flagship STYROFOAM brand. The UL Environment validation underscores the company’s drive to constantly improve, innovate and perfect building envelope science to deliver more sustainable, safer solutions and ultimately help advance a more sustainable planet and society as part of Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals.

“This certification is just one more example of DBS’ ongoing commitment to deliver solutions that meet and exceed market demands today and in the future,” says Matthew Marchel, business director, Dow Building Solutions. “This UL Environment validation is one more step in our sustainability journey, one that is deep-rooted, spans decades and is based on our legacy of innovation, leadership and action.”

Owens Corning Releases Ninth Annual Sustainability Report

Owens Corning announced strong progress in reducing its environmental footprint and improving the environmental impact and transparency of its products. The company released these results in its ninth annual sustainability report.

“We are proud of what we accomplished this past year, further reducing our environmental footprint and expanding our positive handprint by introducing new solutions to the challenges of climate change, energy consumption and infrastructure development,” says vice president and chief sustainability officer, Frank O’Brien-Bernini. “Today, our global enterprise operates with 46 percent less absolute greenhouse gas emissions than our peak in 2007, and we are developing ways to make additional reductions. We are committed to expanding our impact through sustainability and collaborating with others to further our progress.”

The report also highlights the company’s global philanthropic work, joint efforts with customers and suppliers to improve sustainability, and analytics on its handprint. All of these support the goal of becoming a net-positive growth company. All of these support the goal of becoming a net-positive growth company.

“We’ve begun to explore handprint opportunities along the social dimensions of human health and employee well-being,” O’Brien-Bernini says. “Continued safety progress and advances in health and wellness help our employees and their families live to the fullest each day.”

Building on the successes of its first 10-year sustainability goals, this is the fourth year Owens Corning has reported against its 2020 goals.

Other highlights of 2014 progress include:

  • Industry-leading track record of safety performance, which earned Owens Corning the 2014 Green Cross for Safety medal from the National Safety Council.
  • Sustained environmental footprint progress, including intensity reductions of 34 percent in greenhouse gas and 65 percent in toxic air emissions from its 2010 baseline.
  • Facilitated 2.4 billion pounds of end-of-life recycled shingles and consumed 1.3 billion pounds of recycled glass, year-over-year increases of 33 percent and 15 percent respectively.
  • Launch of the WindStrand high-performance glass fiber roving and Ultrablade fiberglass reinforcement fabric products, which enable longer and lighter wind blades. This advancement supports the continued growth of economical wind energy for low-wind sites.
  • Participation in community programs at more than half of our worldwide facilities. This included increasing access to basic health and educational needs for more than 19,000 children in India, China and Mexico.
  • Collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health to strengthen its wellness programs.
  • Placement in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the fifth consecutive year and named Industry Leader in Sustainability for the second consecutive year.
  • Perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the 11th consecutive year.

Owens Corning’s 2014 Sustainability Report is consistent with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines known as GRI-G3.1. GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines set a globally applicable framework for reporting the economic, environmental and social dimensions of an organization’s activities, products and services.