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North American PCR published for windows

September 28, 2015  By Patrick Flannery

Sept. 28, 2015 – The Institute for Environmental Research and Education has published North America’s first Product Category Rule for windows, enabling window fabricators to develop Environmental Product Declarations recognized by ISO and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. PCRs define the inputs into the window manufacturing process and lay out guidelines for how each input must be documented in a Life Cycle Impact Assessment that ultimately leads to an EPD describing the overall environmental impact of manufacturing the product. The PCR, titled Earthsure PCR Cradle-to-Gate 30171600:2015, covers window inputs from their source to the fabricator’s gate, and is designed to inform the B-to-B market. Another PCR addressing the B-to-C vertical is due for release soon, according to a recent IGMA newsletter.

The PCRs were developed over the last two years by a joint committee with members from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance, the Glass Association of North America and the U.S. Window and Door Manufacturers Association. This committee is also working on a PCR for processed glass for publication through UL Environment.

The PCR covers punched opening windows, ribbon windows (storefront), curtain wall and skylights.

The documentation notes that two other PCRs exist for fenestration products, but both reference European standards and cover both windows and doors. North American manufacturers expressed a preference for a PCR focused solely on windows.

PCRs are designed to create a level playing field with a common set of standards allowing buyers of window products to compare their overall environmental characteristics through the life of the product. The EPD will list each product’s impact on such areas as contribution to global climate change, acidification, eutrophication, ozone depletion, smog formation, depletion of non-renewable energy and material resources, use of renewable resources, consumption of fresh water and generation of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. These impacts are calculated by collecting data on inputs from four stages of manufacturing, from raw material supply through transportation to materials manufacture and component fabrication.

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