Towards Green Buildings Through Construction Materials with EPDs…
Environmental Product Declarations are a necessity in order to be able to become supplier to green buildings and to be compatible with the new European norms considering the export market. Since sustainability of buildings depends mainly on the materials used, it is a very important issue for buildings that construction materials are classified through an adequate system. Environmental product declarations (EPDs) provide transparent and clear information with independent and comprehensive details. Additionally, EPDs also provide information about composition of materials and their functional efficiencies.
EPDs are to be prepared according to ISO 14025 and they declare environmental performance of a product or service through implementation of LCA on the basis of parameters described within the framework of ISO 14040 series for predefined impact categories. EPDs are declarations with B2B focus and they consider ecological footprint of economic activities within the scope of LCA as well as emissions generated during manufacturing process of products. These declarations use only the data provided by the manufacturer as basis for preparation of the EPD. The rules for generation of EPDs are defined within the product categorization rules (PCR) specifically for each product group.
Generation of emissions, resource depletion, life cycle costs due to manufacturing of construction materials are only some of the aspects which need to be taken into account for the assessment of a building.
EPDs are worldwide accepted ecolabels and they are defined as Type III eco labels. Since these declarations constitute an information systematic for construction materials’ environmental performance, a solid and reliable fundamental is also been provided for building assessments.
EPDs constitute the fundamentals of information required for the ecological and life cycle assessment, therefore they are widely used for sustainability certification of buildings. European Commission defines EPDs as a tool for transparent communication of environmental performance of construction materials and constituting a reliable basis for sustainable buildings. Harmonized European EPD standards are published and has been initiated to be used starting from 2010 until 2012 from framework level to product level respectively as, EN 15643 General Sustainability Assessment and Environmental Performance of Buildings, EN 15978 Use of EPDs for Environmental Performance Assessment, and EN 15804 Environmental Product Declarations.