Mecho Introduces Our First Ever Environmental Product Declarations
September 13, 2023
Here at Mecho we take pride in our legacy of leadership in sustainability. Today, we are excited to share our latest investment in understanding the environmental impact of our business: Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). These reports, initiated by product manufacturers, offer valuable insights into a product's environmental impact throughout its entire lifecycle. Here, we'll explore what EPDs are, how Mecho earned them, and why they matter.
1. What are EPDs?
EPDs are the result of a process called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). These assessments, conducted according to standardized Product Category Rules (PCR), reveal a product's carbon and environmental impacts. The LCA completed alongside an EPD provides data on embodied carbon, emissions, waste generation, and other environmental impacts.
EPDs are differentiated from other product certifications by the depth of their data and their disclosure of embodied carbon—the carbon emissions associated with a product's use. This makes EPDs a vital tool for architects and designers striving to make sustainable choices.
2. What does the process of earning an EPD look like?
EPDs are born from the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) process, which covers a product's journey from raw material extraction to disposal. For window coverings, this includes raw material extraction, transportation, manufacturing, transportation to the project site, product installation, active use, and disposal.
Data collection for an EPD involves gathering material, water, and energy use data for each part and supplier listed in the Bill of Materials (BOM). This extensive data is then analyzed through a complex modeling process, combining collected data with industry averages to generate impact per declared unit of the product (for Mecho EPDs, 1 m^2 cut and finished fabric).
3. How long did this data collection and modeling process take?
With the complexity of the data modeling process, the depth of data collection required, and the number of products included in our EPDs, the entire process took about ten months to complete.
Additionally, there was no existing guidance for calculating impacts for window coverings. In order to do this, we followed guidance from the Construction Materials Product Category Rule (PCR) and adapted it to make sense for window coverings, and for customizable products.
4. Why did Mecho invest in EPDs, and why are they important?
EPDs provide third-party verified environmental data, enhancing transparency and building trust among architects and designers (A&D) regarding sustainability claims. EPDs offer a deeper understanding of a company's environmental impact, including carbon emissions, which supports informed decision-making for designers.
We have also received consistent feedback from our sales team and customers that A&D prefers products with EPDs. While widely adopted in other building product categories, EPDs remain underutilized in the window covering industry.
5. How many EPDs does Mecho have?
Our EPDs cover all Mecho shade cloths. These EPDs fall under Type III Product Specific EPDs —the gold standard for lifecycle assessments. Shade cloths are divided into two groups: PVC and PVC-free.
As A&D increasingly prioritizes sustainability in their project goals, we believe that our EPDs will be a valuable contribution in guiding more environmentally-conscious product selection, more innovative product design, and more efficient business operations.