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.