3cea is proud to announce that we are a signatory of the Irish Green Building Council’s EPD (Environment Product Declarations). Through the IGBC’s EPD Campaign, 3cea is committing to request that suppliers work towards getting an EPD by including an EPD request in our selection criteria. We hope this request for EPD and preference towards products with an EPD will drive the demand for transparent data and the first step towards circularity.
What is the EPD Commitment?
IGBC is asking specifiers of construction products to ask for Environmental Product Declarations and prefer products with EPD where possible within procurement restrictions and help drive the demand for better environmental data from manufacturers.
Environmental Product Declarations are 3rd party verified documents prepared by a manufacturer to set out the various environmental impacts of their products clearly and transparently. Standardised in EN 15804
What do they measure? Environmental Impacts during products stages
- Global Warming Potential (GWP)
- Acidification (AP)
- Eutrophication (EP)
- Stratospheric Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)
- Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP)
- Abiotic depletion (ADPE and ADPF) and Primary Energy used
To use materials where the manufacturer provides an EPD isn’t expected to automatically lower environmental impacts but will provide transparent data. This means it can be compared to different materials and their environmental impact which helps prevent ‘greenwashing’.
Why ask for EPD?
Under the new nZEB building regulations the carbon embodied in the materials will account for up to 50% of the total life cycle carbon emissions of the homes and buildings we design. Embodied C02 emissions are emissions that occur in the production phase of a product (including emissions from the production of the materials used and emissions generated during the production phase itself). So, for example, operational emissions are those generated by running a building, and “upfront ‘embodied’ emissions are generated by the construction of a building.
Without an EPD we lack the data to measure and reduce the impact of embodied emissions. Manufacturers who measure the impacts of their product through life cycle analysis (LCA) are then in a good position to reduce those impacts. By 2050 we need to reduce the carbon emissions from the construction and operation of buildings to zero and that includes materials.
We need to evaluate early design decisions which impact and influence the later design stages and results.
Although many manufacturers in Ireland have or are developing an EPD, many manufactures don’t. This is because many say that they are not asked for and are compounded by suppliers or imported products not being aware that their product has an EPD. By publicly committing to promote the use of EPD amongst our staff and in our specifications, we can show manufacturers that there is a desire to seek out an EPD and show suppliers that it is something that can be obtained. The IGBC’s EPD campaign is mostly about raising awareness to encourage manufacturers and suppliers into an LCA way of thinking.