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Article: What is an EPD?

 

Estimated time to read: 5 minutes

7.11.2023

What is an EPD?

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a comprehensive and standardized document that provides transparent and verified information about the environmental impact of a product throughout its entire lifecycle. EPDs are typically based on a set of international standards, such as ISO 14025 and EN 15804, and they are used to communicate objective data regarding a product’s environmental performance.

Key components of an EPD typically include:

  1. Product Description: Information about the product, its intended use, and its basic characteristics.
  2. Environmental Impact Assessment: Detailed data on the product’s environmental impact, including factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, water usage, and other relevant environmental indicators.
  3. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): A systematic analysis of the product’s environmental impact across its entire lifecycle, from raw material extraction to production, use, and disposal.
  4. Functional Unit: A defined unit of measurement that allows for the comparison of different products with similar functions.
  5. Reference Service Life: The expected lifespan of the product.
  6. Declared Unit: The quantity or amount of the product to which the EPD data applies.
  7. Assessment of Environmental Impact: A summary of the product’s environmental impact in various categories, often presented in a clear and standardized format.
  8. Additional Information: Any other relevant information or declarations related to the product’s environmental performance.

EPDs are valuable tools for consumers, businesses, and policymakers because they enable informed decisions based on the environmental performance of products. They are commonly used in industries such as construction, where building materials and products can have significant environmental impacts. By comparing EPDs for different products, stakeholders can choose more sustainable options and work towards reducing their overall environmental footprint.

A special characteristic about EPDs is that they are not limited to carbon emissions but also consider indicators such as toxicity, water usage, biodiversity impacts etc. and thereby give a comprehensive overview on environmental performance.

An EPD provides valuable and relevant information for:

  • Material Manufacturer: to showcase commitment to transparency and sustainability, distinguishing them from competitors.
  • Construction Companies: to select materials that align with their own sustainability goals or those of their clients.
  • Architects and engineers: to make informed design decisions based on detailed environmental data.
  • Building Owners and Managers: to have higher market values and be more likely to attract tenants, if using sustainable materials.

Why are EPDs crucial?

Even though an EPD is not always legally required for a construction project, having one shows how eco-conscious a company is. EPD integration into construction businesses has become more common in recent years.

EPDs will substantially widen a manufacturer’s client base, especially for projects aiming for certifications like LEED or BREEAM. These certifications often require materials with an available EPD, as they must meet strict environmental criteria.

More info on why you should invest in EPDs here.

EPDs are increasingly requested because:

The Creation and Verification Process:

Creating an EPD involves collecting data and doing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Each EPD is created following specific Product Category Rules (PCR) as defined by the program operator, ensuring standardized and comparable results. After completion, the EPD undergoes independent verification to validate the reliability and accuracy of the provided information.

With the help of EPD software such as Emidat, 1-by-1 EPD verification can be skipped. By pre-verifying software with the same independent third party that previously verified EPDs 1-by-1, software simplifies the process for both the manufacturer and the verifier. After pre-verification, verified EPDs can be generated immediately, automatically, and without additional cost. Thereby, they become a tool for environmental management rather than just another report.

As a result, EPDs play a significant role in promoting environmentally sustainable construction practices. By providing transparency and sustainability, manufacturers can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future. A manufacturer should consider creating an Environmental Product Declaration to stay relevant and appealing in a market that is becoming increasingly interested in sustainable products and practices.

The process of creating and verifying an EPD might seem complicated at first, but the Emidat software will make the process accessible and straightforward for you.

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