Building on its existing environmental claims validation tools, UL Environment recently announced it will be developing green standards by category, which will be based on the products’ environmental impact over its life cycle. The group will look first at categories in which third-party standards do not already exist; market size, innovation, and demand also will be considered. In the building products arena, the first category certifications to be released will be doors, wallboard, and ceiling systems. “There is a big gap in the marketplace,” says Chris Nelson, director of global commercial development for UL Environment. “… so we’re trying to bridge that gap to make sure there’s credibility.”

Earlier this year, UL certified the first individual product—Serious Materials’ EcoRock drywall—under its new Environmental Claims Validation. Products submitted into the program, which is separate from the category certifications, undergo laboratory testing to verify a manufacturer’s individual claims for details such as VOC emissions and recycled content.

 “We truly believe we have an opportunity that other groups don’t have,” says Nelson of the ANSI-accredited standards development organization. “We’re a mission-driven organization; we have a strong reputation for brand and trust. … “Our ability to leverage those successes … are very important in this space.”

Without third-party certifications, Nelson says, “the lack of trust in the marketplace will drag down these products and what they really mean.”

The door and wallboard standards are expected early next year. Ceiling systems will follow soon after.

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor for EcoHome.