Committed to environmental leadership that exceeds compliance, TOTO discovered that it was unable to comply with LEED v4’s disclosure option to provide Environmental Product Declarations for its high-efficiency toilets. The company could not do this because there is no Product Category Rule for toilets (PCRs define the requirements of EPDs for each product category). EPDs are required for its building industry customers to earn the highest number of LEED points for purchasing TOTO products. To solve this problem, TOTO, already using Sustainable Minds’ LCA software to help it design sustainable products, turned to the company to help it solve this problem marketing.
Together, TOTO and Sustainable Minds discovered that current EPDs generally provide too much life cycle analysis and other environmental data, making their length and level of technicality difficult to understand for a non-technical reader. In addition, few include much-needed product marketing information to put the environmental information in context. In short, today’s EPD’s make it difficult for architects, builders, contractors and other members of the building industry to compare plumbing products and make well-informed greener purchasing decisions.
As a remedy, TOTO and Sustainable Minds saw an opportunity to use the life cycle assessments TOTO does on its products to develop a transparent reporting tool that is effective, credible, comparable and affordable. The new SM Transparency Reports are concise, compelling and effective. They present functional and environmental product performance information together in a three-page report, enabling a manufacturer like TOTO to make its LCA results understandable by describing what the company is doing to make its products more sustainable. The new SM Transparency Reports give readers visibility into the decisions TOTO makes across the life cycle of its products.
To ensure industry recognition that the new Transparency Reports are credible, Sustainable Minds turned to NSF International to provide the LCA third-party verification and report certification.
Five SM Transparency Reports for select TOTO high-efficiency toilets may be previewed through the introduction of the Sustainable Minds’ Manufacturers Showroom, a public destination to showcase brands across the value chain, making credibly greener materials, processes and products.
“NSF Sustainability’s extensive experience in validating and certifying products for the building products industry informs us that innovation is needed to identify, quantify and credibly certify more sustainable products and get that information to the market faster. The model developed by Sustainable Minds and TOTO provides a platform for doing that,” said Tom Bruursema, general manager of NSF Sustainability.