The industry had been pushing for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program to recognize structured cabling for a while. Did you know that LEED v4 has an easy way for enterprise data cable to contribute to LEED points?
To provide a comparison and benchmark for green building performance, LEED was unveiled in 1998. LEED v4 launched in late 2013, and is the most current version of the certification, which applies to all building types. Based on the number of LEED points earned out of a maximum of 110, a building receives one of four LEED rating levels for its green design, construction, operations and/or maintenance:
To support everything from next generation wifi to 4K content, depending on the size of the building, there could be tens of thousands of feet of cable – or more – inside the walls and above the ceiling. When that much of a product is used, it makes sense to take a look from all angles at the impacts it may have on the surrounding environment.
Cable can help earn LEED points as part of LEED v4 certification processes when they have EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) and HPDs (Health Product Declarations) behind them.
In LEED v4, buildings can earn two Materials & Resources Credits for using at least 20 different permanently installed products from at least five different manufacturers that offer EPDs and/or HPDs. Because cabling is a permanently installed product, a cable product with an EPD and/or HPD can help earn LEED points for your project.
After products undergo a lifecycle assessment performed using established product category rules (PCRs), they receive an EPD. This declaration communicates the results of the lifecycle assessment, which examines the product’s climate change potential, how much energy and water are used to produce the material, etc.
Several entities certify and publish EPDs, including organizations like Underwriters Laboratories and NSF International. These organizations are known as “program operators,” and they’re responsible for verifying the full environmental impact of a product. An EPD is valid for five years after it is published.
Health product declarations address the chemical side of the equation: what ingredients a material is made of and the impacts they can have. In schools, for example, asthmagens (substances that may develop asthma symptoms) in building materials can pose concern about negatively impacting children. An HPD can single out products that don’t use asthmagens if a building owner prefers to stay away from that material.
In order for a product to achieve an HPD, its ingredients must be disclosed, along with each of the ingredients’ relationship to human and environmental health. Once an HPD is published, it is valid for three years.
Unlike EPDs, which have established methodology that manufacturers must follow, HPDs are created following an open-standard format developed by the Health Product Declaration Collaborative. It is recommended that HPD’s are certified by a third party, but the HPD can be a self-published document.
Belden views EPDs and HPDs as powerful tools to measure, monitor and improve the environmental impact of its products. The data found in our EPDs and HPDs informs future strategy and R&D decision makers, and help us reduce the costs that are passed along to end-users.
We will soon be announcing which Belden product families have EPDs and HPDs, verified and certified by third-party organizations. To make sure you don’t miss this big news, sign up to receive our blog notifications. To learn more about the Belden products that offer EPDs and HPDs, visit our corporate responsibility page.
Do you take EPDs and HPDs into consideration during product selection?
Be sure to share a comment below!
Greg is Belden’s Global Product Line Manager for copper data cables. He has 33yrs in the telecommunications industry, holds three patents, and has contributed to various standards committees. Greg graduated from Purdue University's School of Technology, and is RCDD certified.