Think of it as a nutrition label for a product. Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) labels tell us how a product was manufactured, what materials they contain and where the materials came from. Why are labels important? According to Kohler Environmental Project Engineer Olivia Fritz, “Knowing the material composition helps us understand how our products could impact human health.” Developing an ingredient label for a KOHLER® bath is complicated. From material invoices to analyzing how enamel affects iron’s chemical makeup, it took many spreadsheets, calculations and smart minds to produce Kohler’s first Declare labels in 2018.
Essentially, the labels detail the chemical makeup of the product, life expectancy and list any materials that could harm human health or pollute the environment. This includes looking at chemical changes that may occur during the melting and firing stages of manufacturing.
The team started the labeling process with cast-iron fixtures, which contain no externally sourced components. “Our ultimate goal is to become more informed and make better decisions about material components and supplier sources for KOHLER products,” Olivia said. “This makes it easier for our customers to make informed purchases.”
Administered by the International Living Future Institute, Declare labels help building professionals comply with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building rating system. In 2015 Kohler launched its first EPDs, which lists a product’s environmental impact from raw material to the end of the product’s useful life. We can generate EPDs for more than 1,000 products and more than 10,000 individual SKUs, the most of any company in the building products industry.
Product life-cycle models measure data on raw materials, suppliers, energy and water use, and waste generation. While EPDs help architects and designers achieve LEED certification, the real benefit is to Kohler. “Better understanding environmental impact helps determine where we can invest to make the biggest difference,” said Mandy Montazeri, Project Engineer – Sustainability. “It gives us a comparison to our competition, and helps us develop more sustainable products that last longer and save consumers money.” Explore KOHLER® products with EPD labels.