An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) not only provides a transparent view of a product’s environmental impact but also serves as a comparative tool for stakeholders. In this blog post, we will discuss what an EPD is, its basis, its validity, and its diverse applications.
What is an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)?
The Environmental Product Declaration, commonly known as EPD, serves as a transparent, third-party guide to the environmental footprint of a product or service.
The Essence of EPD
An EPD is a standardised document that provides quantifiable information about a product’s environmental and human health impact. It is grounded in the ISO 14025 standard and employs the methodology of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). As an EPD communicates the environmental impact of a product to a stakeholder, it allows companies to make informed decisions and to engage in responsible marketing.
Creating an EPD
· Step 1: Data Collection: Begin by gathering data on raw materials, resource consumption, and waste for your product. Your chosen program operator and Product Category Rule (PCR) will specify the data you need, based on your product’s life-cycle stages and impact categories.
· Step 2: Conduct Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA): Perform an LCA in accordance with the selected PCR. This assessment will quantify the environmental footprint of your product across various impact categories.
· Step 3: Prepare Background Report: Create a background report, also known as an LCA report in the U.S., to support your EPD. This report expands on the LCA methodology, assumptions, and standards, providing essential information for third-party verification.
· Step 4: Third-Party Verification: Submit your EPD for verification by an independent third-party expert. This step demonstrates the accuracy and reliability of your EPD and ensures that it meets the PCR requirements.
· Step 5: Publication: Once verified, submit your EPD to the program operator for public registration and publication. This makes your EPD accessible to stakeholders and the public, transparently displaying your product’s environmental impact.
The Relationship with LCA
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the backbone of an EPD. LCAs calculate the environmental footprint of a product throughout its lifecycle. An EPD is essentially an extension of LCA calculations, which allows for the comparison of different products and services.
Verification and Validity
An EPD is usually provided by the product manufacturer and must undergo verification by an independent expert to ensure its accuracy and reliability. Once verified, the EPD is officially registered and made publicly available. The standard validity period for an EPD is five years, making it a dynamic document that can adapt to technological advancements and environmental changes.
Scope and Applications
EPDs can cover various life cycle stages of a product, from cradle-to-gate to cradle-to-grave. They are vital in whole building life cycle assessment studies and are often a requirement in green building programs like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology).
EPDs are increasingly being used in non-construction sectors like apparel and chemicals, due to their transparent and useful format.
Design Conformity’s Approach to EPDs
Design Conformity is committed to broadening its range of EPDs, specifically tailored for the construction sector. We offer both specialised EPDs and generic EPDs in collaboration with industry associations. For specialised EPDs, dc’s team of experts use the Carbon Efficiency tool to construct Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) models. These models combine dc’s core technologies and product categories.
Our qualified LCA practitioners adhere to international and European standards, including ISO 14025 and EN 15804+A2, for each assessment. This approach forms the foundation for our LCA project reports and corresponding EPDs. By following this methodology, dc ensures that each EPD is a transparent, reliable, and standardised document, reflecting our commitment to environmental sustainability in the manufacturing industry.