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Environmental Product Declarations for Access Solutions: the life cycle story of a product

July 12, 2023

Buildings are responsible for more than 30% of the global energy demand as well as large amounts of raw materials, such as 70% of the global wood consumption. It is easy to therefore see how buildings are huge contributors to the effect of climate change.

Achieving green building certifications through programs like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a point of focus for most builders and owners and therefore in turn architects and designers. All in an attempt to aid in climate protection and curb their contribution to the forecasted increase in global warming.

What Do Environmental Product Declarations Mean for the Specification of Access Solutions?

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is an industry-standard that provides a reliable calculation of the environmental impact of a product, covering its entire life cycle. This information is derived through life cycle assessments (LCAs), that are carried out at various stages of a product's life cycle, including the point of raw material supply, production, transportation, use, and even disposal. These impacts are quantified based on materials, energy consumption, transport routes, production and the life span of the products.

The information that EPDs provide can help specifiers or architects and planners differentiate building products based on their environmental impact and make more responsible decisions. It is important to know though that EPDs don’t indicate whether a product is environmentally friendly, only that its environmental impact has been determined. Aggregating all EPD data for all installed products helps our customers calculate the full environmental impact of an entire building project, which is a factor in achieving green building certifications.

EPDs at dormakaba

dormakaba provides EPDs for a whole range of access solutions and related products. These products include door hardware, entrance systems, electronic access and data systems, interior glass systems, mechanical key systems, movable walls and safe locks. Our EPDs are verified by our third-party partner, the Institute Bauen und Umwelt (IBU) and are developed in accordance with international standards ISO 14025, 14040, 14044, and the European Norm EN 15804.

All our EDPs meet the requirements for several building certification systems such as the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), or the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). Armed with complete environmental impact-related information, EDPs help our stakeholders choose access solutions for projects responsibly.

The Assessment Process at dormakaba

At dormakaba, the Product Sustainability Center of Excellence (CoE) within Global Product Development is leading the development of sustainability-related product declarations and certifications.

With the help of the dormakaba LCA-Tool, they create a thorough and detailed reporting of the environmental impacts of the product at every stage of its life cycle. The stages include the process of extraction of the raw material, processing of those materials, manufacture of the final product, distribution and sales, implementation and use, maintenance and finally end-of-life which is disposal or recycling.

A detailed report is created, and then it is sent for verification to IBU. EPDs are valid for a period of 5 years and can serve as a great method to test improvement in sustainability factors for that given product over a period of time.

“EPDs are increasingly requested by our customers, as they are aiming to achieve green building certifications. To meet this demand, we have implemented an LCA-Tool that enables us to create EPDs in-house faster. These are of course verified by a third-party partner, the Institut Bauen und Umwelt (IBU). We keep supporting our customers to achieve their own sustainability goals, therefore we aim to double our sustainability-related product declarations/certifications, including Cradle to Cradle and for recycled content (baseline 170 in FY 2020/21) by 2027.” – says Lea Kullmann, Lead Center of Excellence for Product Sustainability at dormakaba.

Why choose dormakaba's products?

As a leading manufacturer, dormakaba is committed to incorporating the latest product life cycle approaches and environmental technologies to continuously advance our product development, and improve our own, as well as our customers’ sustainability performance.

Because we know that over 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase of a product, we have developed a comprehensive circularity approach. As of 2023, all new product developments will need to follow minimum criteria in line with it.

Our products have a long life span of up to 20 years, which means fewer replacements, fewer resources needed and fewer costs for our customers.

Quite simply, the longer you can use a product, the better. In our design process, we aim to extend the service life of our products through the process of looking for structural weak points of predecessor models and eliminating them, avoiding adhesive bonds to improve disassembly and repairability, using detachable connections and ensuring backward compatibility, among others. Our aim is to ensure that our products and components can be reused, repaired, or reintroduced as raw materials back into the manufacturing cycle.

Other Certifications for Access Solutions at dormakaba

Beyond EPDs, dormakaba offers other sustainability-related product declarations and certifications, which can impact an architect's design and planning decisions in order to meet sustainability and green building certification goals today. 

dormakaba offers Health Product Declarations, Building Product Declarations, Recycled Content, and Air Quality Certifications.

1. Health Product Declarations, provide information on any negative health effects on humans that might arise during manufacturing or installation, use and disposal. dormakaba’s range of door hardware products, entrance systems, interior glass systems and movable walls come with such Health Product Declarations.

2. An industry association called Byggvarubedömningen, provides Building Product Declarations for some of dormakaba’s range of products. These assessments judge the chemical ingredients and their connected environmental effects during the whole product life cycle. dormakaba provides for some of its door systems, entrance systems and electronic access and data systems with Building Product Declarations.

3. Recycled Content Certifications tell you what amount of recycled material has been used in products. Saving raw materials is key for the circular economy. Some of dormakaba’s door hardware systems come with this certification.

4. Indoor Air Quality certifications give information on the emission of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).VOCs can be toxic and harmful to humans, affecting air quality. The certificate tells a specifier what volume of VOC emission a product is likely to have. Some of dormakaba’s Movable Wall products come with this certification.

Think tomorrow:

We are committed to championing sustainability in everything we do, from producing more sustainable solutions to help our customers lessen their environmental footprint to being a fair and responsible employer and neighbor.

To respond to the needs and expectations of our society and customers, we put sustainability at the core of our vision, which underlines our long-term commitment to shaping a more sustainable industry and future. Within our strategic framework, we focus on People, Planet, and Partnerships.

At dormakaba, we annually publish our commitments and progress made on our sustainability targets in our Sustainability Report.

FAQs:

1. What is an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)?
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is an industry-standard that provides transparent information about the environmental impact of a product over its entire life cycle.

2. Why are EPDs important for architects and planners?
EPDs are important for architects and planners because they provide reliable and comparable information about the environmental impact of different building products, which can help make design decisions and support sustainable building practices. By considering the environmental impact of products, architects, and planners can minimize the negative impact of their projects on the environment and contribute to a more sustainable built environment.

3. How can architects and planners use EPDs?
Architects
and planners can use EPDs to compare the environmental performance of different access solutions and to specify products that meet their environmental criteria. Planners can also use EPDs to ensure that the products used in their projects meet sustainability targets, regulatory requirements and have a low environmental impact.

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