As an association our real value is in having a relevant agenda that delivers tangible benefits to our members. When we introduced the importance of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) over 3 years ago at the 2012 ARGE Conference we believed that EPDs were exactly that – critical to our members and an agenda that will deliver commercial advantage to our members.
The change in attitudes of both developers and building owners/managers combined with pressure from governments and European legislation has led to a renewed focus on the sustainability of a building and increasingly how this is measured in a consistent way.
Without doubt ‘green certification’ is no longer a “desirable” but a “must”. The awareness of whole life cycles and the pressure on manufacturers and developers to measure this, is driving the interest in sustainable buildings and their performance over a defined life span. Developers are under pressure, both from legislation and market demand, to demonstrate how a building will perform, how much it will cost and how fit for purpose it is – manufacturers with EPDs are best placed to support this requirement.
Crucially this trend is also apparent in the residential as well as the commercial market, creating further opportunity for hardware manufacturers that understand the importance of providing sustainability information for their customers.
EPDs are essential for delivering this information in a standardized format and supporting the certification of the green credentials of a building.
Under the legal requirements outlined in the 2010 Energy Performance Buildings Directive and the Construction Products Regulations (2013), the environmental impact of products in terms of embedded CO2 and the energy performance in use has to be available and delivered in a standardised format. The TC350 has outlined standards for how this information should be measured and delivered, stipulating how to write an EPD, which further re-enforces the importance of EPDs.
BIM will validate EPDs further. Intrinsic to BIM delivery, which is being driven by many European governments and the need to introduce efficiencies in the private sector, BIM will help raise the importance and profile of EPDs. Giving hardware manufacturers increasingly the opportunity to speak to architects directly and move conversations higher up the value chain, EPDs will measure sustainability within BIM, as it uses standardised product data.
ARGE and its agenda is at the heart of these changes and it has recognised these shifts within the industry and in legislation. Within the Construction Products Regulation Basic Works Requirement 7 calls for the sustainable use of resources. This could well impact harmonized hardware product standards with environmental impact becoming an essential requirement within Annex ZA – effectively compliant EPDs could well become mandatory for all products with harmonised standards within the next 3-5years.
Compliant EPDs is a necessary and relevant agenda that ARGE has championed and delivered on, with 14 EPDs being delivered in early 2016, reaching over and above the 8 EPDs initially committed to.
We want all members to recognise that EPDs are not a ‘nice to have’ but an absolute necessity – and something the ARGE board will ensure will be delivered for its members.