UL Moving Into Green Certification

November 13, 2009

UL Environment, a subsidiary of Underswriters Laboratories, intends to develop standards for sustainability in several new industry categories, including glass building materials and glazing materials, windows and associated hardware and accessories, it reports. The standards will set forth environmental requirements for these building products with criteria based on the life cycle impacts and health effects of the associated products, the company explained in announcing the initiative at GreenBuild 2009 last week.

"The building industry is one of the first industries to see concentrated efforts for sustainability including building with sustainable design and energy efficiency," said Steve Wenc, president, UL Environment. "It has been the first to begin to prove out environmental claims within product categories and it makes sense for us to start here in terms of development of environmental standards for the industry."

ULE's new sustainability standards will draw on input from UL Environment standard technical panels (STPs) comprised of stakeholders such as manufacturers, government entities, consumer interest groups, product installers, users, distributors and testing organizations. These standards will set minimum environmental requirements and create a progressive and tiered approach allowing sustainability leaders to highlight their achievements, the company states.

Since its launch in early 2009, ULE has made several announcements regarding companies participating in its Environmental Claims Validation (ECV) program. EcoRock from Serious Materials was the first company to achieve an ECV from ULE. More recently, companies including Owens Corning and LG Electronics have gone through its ECV program, providing the market with products that not only say they are environmentally-preferable, but carry specific, validated claims.

ULE's validations and certifications can help manufacturers achieve the NAHB Research Center "Green Approved" product seal, which qualifies products to earn points toward National Green Building Certification under the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard.

Owens Corning received the ECV for a minimum of 35 percent recycled content in its manufactured stone and veneer products, Cultured Stone and ProStone. These products represent the first manufactured stone veneer products to receive third party validation for recycled content.