Final Report: Green Product-Service System Authentication and Registry Service for the Building Industry

EPA Contract Number: EPD08035
Title: Green Product-Service System Authentication and Registry Service for the Building Industry
Investigators: Reisdorph, David H.
Small Business: The Green Team Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2008 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $69,556
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Green Buildings

Description:

The Green Team (tGT) works to make the building industry environmentally sustainable.  One building industry challenge is how sustainability is ensured when sustainability is dependent on product operation, maintenance, and disposal.  tGT believes one answer is standardized business practices that close the loop.  One promising business practice is green product service systems (GPSS) that shift business offers from the products to the services that products provide.  Therefore, tGT’s research question was:  How can effective GPSS characteristics be qualified and/or quantified so that a valid and reliable authentication and registry can be established?  Ultimately, a GPSS authentication/registry service will provide a standard for GPSS business practices and support a more sustainable economic infrastructure. 

tGT evaluated characteristics of management processes and resources (i.e., systems) sufficient to implement an effective GPSS, analytical tools to estimate life-cycle impacts, and performance indicators that could determine if a GPSS is implemented as intended.  Based on the results of that research, tGT conducted prototype GPSS studies to evaluate and refine the authentication protocols.  The evaluation used a multi-attribute method to examine ease-of-use, time and cost burdens, estimated authentication and registration expense, comprehensiveness, and incentives towards continual improvement. 

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

This research determined that a successful GPSS would need to identify economic value in the environmental proposition and to verify environmental benefits.  Stakeholders (manufacturers, distributors, building owners) want to be responsive to market trends and they have an interest in a standard protocol and label that demonstrate actual sustainability improvements.  It was determined that end-of-life was the pivotal point in the life-cycle of a product from a production-consumption management perspective.  Therefore, the effort was refined to GPSS, which included product take-back or other end-of-life responsibility for a closed-loop life cycle.  tGT used the research results to develop a preliminary GPSS authentication and registry protocol. 

Conclusions:

One of the greatest challenges facing society today is how to maintain economic growth without depleting or degrading the earth’s limited resources.  The GPSS protocols developed in this SBIR Phase I project will be commercialized in a Phase II effort under the branding, GreenR™ (pronounced “greener”) products.  Initially, GreenR™ is targeted for the building industry.  However, this model provides a template for a voluntary standard that decouples economic growth from raw material supply.  As such, it is applicable to a broad range of industries.  The GreenR™ standard clarifies the win for businesses and for consumers, allowing them to adopt and propagate the new economic model for the general benefit of all. 

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, green product-service systems, GPSS, building products industry, human health, green product-service systems authentication, registry service, protocols, Web-based tools, product stewardship for sustainability, recycling, green buildings, sustainable industry/business, scientific discipline, RFA, technology for sustainable environment, sustainable environment, environmental engineering, environmental sustainability, environmental conscious construction, green building design requirements, green design,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, green building design requirements, green design, alternative building technology, environmental conscious construction, environmental sustainability