If you've been keeping up to date with our forum posts of late or following us on Linked In then you'll probably be aware that we believe Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are the most effective way for communicating a product’s verifiable and accurate environmental information. And what's more following the introduction of the new Construction Products Regulation (CPR) these are becoming increasingly imperative.
Last week we looked at the route to EPDs and discssed some of principles behind it, this week we look in a bit more detail at the EPDs themselves and why we, and you consider them to be so vital for future business.
EPDs are designed to offer a coherent expression of data throughout the life cycle of a product, but this requires that all underlying information is consistent and comparable. BS EN 15804:2012 provides the framework for ensuring all EPDs of construction and hardware products are derived and presented in a harmonised way.
Providing a means for developing EPDs, BS EN 15804:2012 is part of a suite of standards that are intended to assess the sustainability of construction works and define core product category rules (PCR) for Type III environmental declarations.
Essentially, this includes describing which stages of a product's life cycle are considered in the EPD and how a Life Cycle Inventory, which underlies an EPD, is calculated. Importantly, it also defines the conditions under which hardware products can be compared, which is crucial for specifiers, as well as manufacturers.
An important piece of information to remember- in practice the information on an EN 15804 compliant product or one with an EPD may look very different. Whilst, the information is fixed by the standard’s requirements its format is not, therefore ARGE’s generic EPDs, which it plans to produce, can be used across a range of applications and support Pan-European markets.
EPDs will have some similarities, for example the same 24 environmental indicators that will be consistently laid out in tables using the same 17 life cycle modules.
The introduction of EN 15804 and EPDs across Europe, combined with EN 15978, which provides the rules for evaluating and reporting the whole life impact of a building over its lifetime, is crucial for those supplying to and operating in the construction industry. Now that these standards are available together, Europe should be able to adopt a consistent method of measuring and reporting on the impacts of embodied carbon across the construction industry.
Moving forward consistency is the key...the development of generic EPDs from ARGE, will be critical in enabling hardware manufacturers in accessing the construction market and remaining competitive in a market increasingly subject to European and international standard ratification.
The best way to find out more about ARGE’s proposed plans for generic EPDs is to register for this year’s annual conference, which, as well as many social highlights will also include presentations from the chairman of CEN TC350 and information on how ARGE is providing a commercial advantage to its members through the production of entry level EPDs. Registration documents can be found at http://arge.org/events/2013-budapest.
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