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Go ECC GREEN

The North American composite panel industry is predicated on the optimal use of forestry byproducts and residuals — turning this recycled  and reclaimed material into higher value products so it’s not wasted.  By their very nature, composite wood panels—along with agrifiber-based panels—are among the greenest products available for architectural, construction and consumer products. Architects, designers, retailers and consumers expect verifiable evidence of greenness, and the ECC Sustainability Standard and Certification Program delivers that assurance. Only products carrying the ECC-certified logo and/or other identifying mark are produced in a manufacturing plant or facility that is audited and certified by CPA.

THE ECC SUSTAINABILITY STANDARD
The Eco-Certified CompositeTM (ECC) Sustainability Standard is the voluntary industry standard developed by the Composite Panel Association (CPA) for manufacturers of composite wood or agrifiber-based panels, as well as finished products (including components and laminated panels) made with particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), hardboard, engineered wood siding and engineered wood trim.  The standard focuses on life cycle inventory and other verifiable environmental practices and highlights the responsible use of wood fiber by composite panel manufacturers. The basis of the standard includes the CPA Carbon Calculator, a tool developed by a third party expert to assess the life cycle and carbon footprint of composite panels made at a particular manufacturing plant.

ECC REPLACES EPP
The ECC Sustainability Standard is the more rigorous successor to CPA’s Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) specification and voluntary certification program, established in 2002.  The EPP certification for unfinished panels was sunset on March 31, 2012 and the EPP program for finished products will conclude December 31, 2012.

COMPOSITE WOOD PANELS—GREEN BY NATURE
The North American composite panel industry is predicated on the optimal use of forestry byproducts and residuals — turning this recycled  and reclaimed material into higher value products so it’s not wasted.  By their very nature, composite wood panels—along with agrifiber-based panels—are among the greenest products available for architectural, construction and consumer products. Architects, designers, retailers and consumers expect verifiable evidence of greenness, and the ECC Sustainability Standard and Certification Program delivers that assurance. Only products carrying the ECC-certified logo and/or other identifying mark are produced in a manufacturing plant or facility that is audited and certified by CPA.
 
ECC CERTIFICATION FOR COMPOSITE PANELS
 ECC Certification is available to individual manufacturing plants and requires an on-site qualification audit and subsequent annual audits.  Unfinished composite panel products must first comply with the stringent California Air Resources Board (CARB) formaldehyde emissions regulation before being considered for other ECC criteria.  Qualified plants must then meet at least three of the following requirements:

  • Carbon Footprint –  The plant shall demonstrate that the panel’s carbon store offsets its cradle-to-gate carbon footprint as determined in kg-CO2 equivalents of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Each plant shall use the CPA Carbon Calculator to determine if a panel performs as a carbon sink resulting in overall net carbon storage.
  • Local and Renewable Resource – At least 85% of total annual wood fiber used shall be sourced within 250 miles (402 km) of the manufacturing plant.
  • Recycled/Recovered – Use a minimum of 75% recycled or recovered fiber; OR at least 50% recycled or recovered fiber AND a minimum of 5% post-consumer fiber. Percentages shall be calculated on a weight basis as measured in bone dry tons (bdt).
  • Sustainability – The plant shall document that greater than 97% fiber furnish brought on-site to manufacture panels is either converted into panels or other non-waste products.
  • Wood Sourcing – The plant shall hold a valid assessment and certificate from a certifying agency recognized by CPA such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC—Controlled Wood Standard or Chain of Custody Standard) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI—Fiber Sourcing Standard).
     

Non-wood fiber is defined as a by-product of an agricultural crop where the cellulose is other than woody biomass and may also be considered to meet the requirements above.

ECC CERTIFICATION FOR FINISHED PRODUCTS
ECC Certification is also available for manufacturers of finished products, components and laminated panels.  Finished products include but are not limited to furniture cabinets, flooring, doors, and mouldings. This assurance builds on the ECC certification for manufacturers of composite panels by providing an audited chain of custody and ECC-certified logo and/or other identifying mark that can be communicated directly to the consumer.

GO GREEN AND GET CREDIT
ECC Panel Products may help achieve LEED credit for:

  •  Recycled Content MR Credit 4
  •  Regional Materials MR Credit 5
  •  Certified Wood MR Credit 7
  •  Low Emitting Material EQ Credit 4.4

ECC Finished Products may also help earn credit for:

  •  Low Emitting Materials EQ Credit 4.5

ECC CREDIBILITY
The ECC Certification program is the successor to the most widely specified environmental certification program for composite wood products in the world—CPA’s Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) Certification Program, the first such program accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  Similarly, CPA will administer the ECC Certification Program as a third party certification agency accredited to ISO/IEC Guide 65 by ANSI.

CPA audits are conducted by experienced professionals under ISO/IEC 17020 guidelines.  Laboratory testing, where applicable, is conducted at CPA’s International Testing and Certification Center (ITCC) in Leesburg, VA, which is accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP). 

Look for the ECC-certified logo and/or other identifying mark on packaging, panel unit bundles, commercial documents, or other informational materials when purchasing composite panels or products made with them.  

COMPOSITE PANEL ASSOCIATION
The Composite Panel Association (CPA), a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization founded in 1960, represents the North American composite wood panel and decorative surfaces industries on technical, standards, regulatory, quality assurance and product acceptance matters. CPA also operates the ITCC, an internationally-accredited Third Party Certifier (TPC), and the first in the world to be approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for formaldehyde emissions testing and certification of composite panels.
 

The Composite Panel Association is committed to advancing and certifying the sustainability of industry products for residential, commercial and industrial uses.

For more information about the ECC Program, contact Gary Heroux.

 

Downloads
CPA Eco-Certified CompositeTM (ECC) Sustainability Standard CPA 4-11 [PDF]

ECC Sustainability Standard & Certification Program Brochure [PDF]

ECC Certification Program for Finished Products Flyer [PDF]

 

 

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