The Gypsum Association, the industry organization representing gypsum product manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada, is firmly committed to environmental stewardship. Its members have been at the forefront of natural resources preservation, recycling, waste management and responsible land use. Now, the Gypsum Association is developing life-cycle assessment tools to make it easier to be green.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the science of environmental foot printing. LCAs put real numbers on sustainability performance by reporting on impact measures such as global warming potential, embodied energy and potential to create smog over the entire lifetime of a product.

LCA is a powerful tool for industry. The GA has been using LCA to benchmark environmental performance of gypsum wallboard products to minimize the environmental impact of one of the most common building materials. Life-Cycle Assessment Gypsum Wallboard conforms to ISO 14040 series standards and makes development of the next green building tool possible.

Slated for release over the next few weeks, is a third-party certified (Type III) environmental product declaration (EPD) for 5/8-inch Type X wallboard. This cradle-to-gate EPD will get you closer to earning the LEED v4 new credit for EPDs.

The GA is also helping to bring the power of LCA to sustainable design practices across the country. Option 4 of the new LEED credit “Building life-cycle impact reduction” makes three points available to teams who use LCA to minimize the embodied environmental footprint of new construction projects.

The Gypsum Association has collaborated with the Athena Institute, which offers the Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings, a widely-used software tool that makes LCA accessible to A/E/C professionals. The GA’s latest gypsum wallboard LCA data is in the Athena database, to assist with earning the new LEED LCA credit.