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New ISO standard encourages sustainability in building construction


A new ISO standard has been released, the goal of which is to help ensure that urbanization, which is a global trend, develops in an environmentally friendly manner.

“ISO 21930:2007, Sustainability in building construction Environmental declaration of building products, will be a very helpful tool for the designers of buildings, manufacturers of building products, users of buildings, owners of buildings and others active in the building and construction sector who are increasingly demanding information that enables them address environmental impacts of buildings and other construction works”, declares Jacques Lair, leader of the team of ISO experts that developed the standard.

The building construction industry is recognized as a major employer but also as a sector that is responsible for generating a large amount of waste and pollution. It is estimated that the building industry is responsible for approximately 40 per cent of the waste in European countries. A major improvement has to take place in the building industry, if the goals of the Rio and Kyoto Conferences are to be fulfilled.

The standard describes the principles and framework for environmental declarations of building products, taking into consideration the complete life cycle of a building. ISO 21930 is expected to form the basis for Type III environmental declaration programmes of building products as described in ISO 14025:2006, Environmental labels and declarations – Type III environmental declarations – Principles and procedures.

The overall goal of environmental declarations in this sector is to encourage the demand for, and supply of, building products that cause less stress on the environment, through communication of verifiable and accurate information on environmental aspects of those building products that is not misleading, thereby stimulating the potential for market-driven, continual environmental improvement.

Because the users of these products expect non-biased information, it is essential to establish uniformity and consistency in the way environmental product declarations are made. ISO 21930 has been developed to provide this consistency and to ensure the transparency of the methodology applied for developing environmental product declarations for building products. The methodology should be consistent, scientifically robust and should ensure that all environmental impacts are completely accounted for.

ISO 21930:2007 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 59, Building construction, subcommittee SC 17, Sustainability in building construction and is one of a suite of international standards addressing this issue.




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