Work Progressing on UL Green Standards

August 23, 2010

UL Environment, a subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories, has started work on sustainability standards for windows and doors. Its door standard has gone through an initial stakeholder comment period, and a draft of a window standard is expected to be completed by year end.

To develop comprehensive standards, UL Environment convenes sustainable technical panels, representing expertise from a variety of stakeholders, such as manufacturers, government entities, consumer interest groups, product designers, users and distributors, explains Paul Firth, program manager. "We solicit feedback from these experts and other key stakeholders, and this inclusive process takes several months."  The door standard has gone through this process, with the UL technical panel scheduled to meet in September to discuss revisions.

The door standard is currently scoped for commercial doors, Firth notes, adding that  UL is not yet ready to comment on the types of products that might be covered in the window standard.

Without delving into each individual standard, Firth reports that each standard does address every part of a product’s life cycle, from raw materials sourcing, to manufacture, use and disposal. "Within each of these 'stages' of a product’s life, we cover multiple criteria dealing with waste, emissions and other types of environmental impacts," he explains. "Every UL Environment standard includes a baseline level of sustainability that can be readily adopted. UL Environment standards also encourage innovation and excellence by setting additional compliance levels beyond current best practices."

UL has not set any specific dates for the standards to be completed, but Firth reports that collaborative draft versions are expected to be released later this year.  "Generally, UL Environment will issue a collaborative standard after the first round of revisions, coming out of the (technical) meetings in order to get it in the marketplace and learn from the realities of implementation," he explains. "After additional market study, we refine and finalize the standard for the industry."

Once the standard is ready, manufacturers will be able to get products certified as meeting the sustainability standards.  "UL Environment created the Sustainable Product Certification program specifically to test and certify against environmental standards," he states, "helping manufacturers meet market demands for greener products and differentiate from the competition."