What is an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)?

What is an Environmental Product Declaration or EPD?

An Environmental Product Declaration, or EPD, is a document which transparently communicates the environmental performance or impact of any product or material over its lifetime.

Within the construction industry, EPDs support carbon emission reduction by making it possible to compare the impacts of different materials and products in order to select the most sustainable option.

EPDs help to achieve EPD and LCA credits in certification schemes, like LEED or BREEM.

 How to create EPD

  1. Collect data: including raw material, resource consumption and waste data for your product.  Your choice of program operator and PCR will determine the specific data you will need to collect, based on which stages of your product life-cycle and which impact categories your LCA will need to assess.
  2. Conduct a life-cycle assessment: the LCA will need to conform to the PCR.
  3. Prepare background report for EPD: the background report  (known as an LCA report in the US) is a vital accompaniment to your public EPD. It provides further details about the LCA methodology, assumptions and approach employed to support third party verification, as well as the standards that you have adhered to.
  4. 3rd party verification: every EPD needs to be verified by an independent third-party verifier before it can be published. This ensures accuracy, reliability and ensures that the EPD conforms to the requirements of the relevant PCR.
  5. Publication: Once your EPD has been verified by an independent third party, it is ready to be put into the public domain via publication.

Business Benefits of EPDs

EPDs in construction projects and manufacturing are voluntary. However, their use is rapidly growing in line with awareness about environmental impacts. Both public and private stakeholders are increasingly demanding EPDs. There are a number of benefits to creating or using EPDs including:

  • Market differentiation: using or creating EPDs will help you to differentiate your product or your project.
  • Regulation and legal requirements: all public procurement bodies in the EU and EEA are already required to use EPDs to assess the environmental footprint of products.
  • Credits and certification: LCA Credits are very cost-efficient and easy compare other credits’ requirements for your building and EPDs are also recognized by LEED and BREEAM, among other market-based systems.

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